Listening to Italian music is an excellent way to get in touch with Italian culture and also improve your knowledge of la bella lingua. Plus, Italian music is pretty good. But don’t just take my word for it. Assolutamente no. Right here in this post and on my new Italian Playlist page, I’m giving you the tools to judge for yourself.
Before I ever set foot in a classroom to formally study Italian, and long before I ever set foot on Italian soil, I listened to Italian music. I sang along, replicating the foreign words, willing my tongue not to get tangled around all the challenging -gli and -gn sounds, not understanding most of what was coming out of my mouth. But being the ever-curious adolescent that I was, I also dedicated un sacco (a bunch) of time to looking up the lyrics on the Internet and translating them to my little heart’s content.
When I walked into my first Italian class in grade 10, I couldn’t conjugate any verbs. I couldn’t make verbs and objects agree in the past tense. I couldn’t tell masculine from feminine and plural from singular. But I knew un monte (a ton) of vocabulary thanks to my love of Italian music. And my Italian accent wasn’t too bad either. (It was all the “gli” practice I had in my formative years…)
Music is very important to me, and I often associate different songs with different times in my life. Each song that I add to my playlists has meaning for me, even if it’s only the memory of what I was doing when I first heard it or the person who first played it for me. Although I’m pretty fluent in Italian, I still take the opportunity to learn new words from Italian songs. And when I’m really feeling the mancanza (lack) of Italy in my life, I put on one of my Italian playlists and an instantly transported back to il bel paese.
So, readers, I thought I would share with you my Italian playlists. They’re essentially the colonna sonore (soundtrack) to my Italian life. They include a smattering of my favourite canzoni by my favourite cantanti – some of them old, some of them new, some of them pre-historic, some of them Italian-American, all of them wonderful. I’ve split them up into mini-playlists, and will be adding new ones every so often. The first one I’ll publish will be my first Italian songs – the ones that bring me back to my childhood in an Italian-Canadian household.
I hope you enjoy these songs, these singers, and the feelings that they evoke as much as I do. And yes, Raffaele Direnzo was right: music is the ambassador of our heart.