The Sicilian Trinacria symbol. A surface history of the image is that it is ancient Greek, represents Sicily’s triangular geography and has a Medusa with wheat. Above is my modernized version ©2009 with a better serpentine hairdo. This image is available at my Zazzle store too. I suspect that people are looking for visual references for tattoos — a great way to connect to your culture, whatever it might be.
Speaking of connections, I thought I’d blab about some music. Regular readers know this is an art blog with a lot of crosscurrents related to punk rock and Italy. How about some punk rock from Italy. The first time I heard any Italian punk was Raw Power on MRR’s Welcome to 1984 compilation and I was floored. These guys are full-tilt hardcore with true Drano-in-the-throat vocals. That song still puts most others to shame. Next up, a tape of a Wretched 7″ sealed the deal — totally raw and blistering pasta-core closer to my beloved Discharge, but with an extra note of desperation being from the arse of Europe. The rest of the 80s Italian punk is great too — Impact, Negazione, Declino, CCM, Indigesti, etc. I could go on and on…
If you are a Sicilian culture vulture, don’t just stop at a tattoo, try out some racket from the island. Shock Troopers, Sonny Corleone, Senza Tregua, Feccia Tricolore and Alter-azione totally crush and play tough, angry hard core punk. As for the rest of the country, there are like 5,000 bands, many of them hidden gems. Skruigners, Kappa Kappa Kappa, and La Crisi play tight, modern hardcore second to none that should not be missed. If you like street punk, Cervelli Stanki, S-Contro, Rappresaglia, Colonna Infame Skinhead, Gavroche, and Nabat will have you lacing up your boots and chugging down some La Rossas in no time. If metalcore and crust is more your style, Giuda, Disprezzo, Campus Sterminii, Children of Technology and Kontatto cover the crust side of things. The incredible To Kill, Violent Sutura, XDestroy BabylonX, Rumors of Gehenna, Kernel Zero, Straight Opposition and Golden Violence play some great heavy stuff too.
If punk isn’t your thing, I recommend traditional folk music, or, Musica Popolare. Most southern Italian music is very spartan and raw and many of the performers prefer to sing in regional dialects or even in polyphony. Instrumentatation tends to be percussion heavy with Tamburellos, Zampogna bagpipes, Jaw harps, and Piccolos, contributing to music with a Mediterranean and Arab influence that has permeated the sound and culture for over 3,000 years. A good place to start is Rosa Balistreri, with a haunting, rustic voice and monotonous guitar. Fratelli Mancuso in the modern era make fantastic, morose music that is unbelievably complex and dense with Sardinian-styled polyphonic wailing and overtones from Persia. Another diverse group worthy of consideration is Unavantaluna, with attention to the Friscaletto and layers and layers of percussion. Non-Sicilian acts from the Salento and elsewhere and deserving of your support are politically Left-Communist E’Zezi, the great Arakne Mediterranea, and Tamburi del Vesuvio.
A tutto per oggi, amici. Ciao.