South, you’re in my heart, yes, you’re the blood inside my veins/ From the South we came and in the South we grew up/ Some people only take, some people never get anything/ What we’ve been through we can’t forget, it’s on our minds every day/ We’re from Naples, we’re from another world, where there’s no good and you start digging the bottom/ Dig more, dig more and you’ll understand why we’re in this mess/
North and South, East and West/ We’ve always been ruled by evil people/ Francischiello Vittorio Garibaldi and the others have put us in this mess/ They took our land, our men and money – the kings and barons and businessmen/ And made us bitter/ South! My head burns, my head burns, my forehead burns, because of what I’ve seen my head burns/
I want to tell you who built this country/ I want to tell you who paid for it/ Who was deported for a penny a month? Young people from Sicily and Calabria*/ Hunger, misery, horrible stuff and diseases/This is the price that my land has paid/ To have a little bit of luxury/ Civilisation, cars, big buildings and loads of heroine/ Mafia Ndrangheta Sacra Corona Unita**/ This is all they’ve left us/ Two different people but they’re not enemies/ The MP and the Camorra boss
In the streets of the South we came, in the South we grew up/ Some people only take, some people never get anything/ What we’ve been through we can’t forget/ South!!/ Used land, dirty land, land red with blood, desperate land/ My people, generous people, don’t give up, change everything!/ South South South if you insist you resist/ South South South insist and resist/ South, you’re in my heart, yes, you’re the blood inside my veins.
*Mass immigration from the South towards the richer North and, later, Europe, America and the rest of the world started straight after the unification of Italy. For an interesting article read here.
**Three of the most powerful criminal organisations in Italy. For further info read here.
“Almamegretta means ‘migrant soul’. We took this expression from a local ancient dialect that was spoken between the end of the Latin era and the beginning of the Italian language. We liked the fact that it’s not Italian nor dialect, and it reflects our attitude, our need to travel from one place to another, in search of our deepest roots.”
Almamegretta was born in Naples in 1988. Their music is a mix of reggae, dub, Neapolitan traditional singing style and Arab rhythms. The idea of experimenting with local traditional music & modern, electronic music came from listening to reggae. The founders of the band were struck by the use in reggae music of samples where the singer’s voice resembled closely the Neapolitan or Mediterranean style of singing. So they thought, if it works with African music, let’s try it out with our traditional melodies and see what happens.
Almamegretta are part of a varied and diverse “movement” of artists and musicians who, in 90’s Italy, make a radical cultural choice: to choose and use their local dialects as an alternative and an opposition to the Italian language, seen as the language of Power. This is not irrelevant if you think that Mussolini’s regime, like other Fascist regimes, was absolute in its hate and denigration of local dialects and other languages spoken in Italy (Sardinian, Occitan, Greek…). Italy had to be One Linguistically & Culturally United & Homogeneous State. Speaking in dialect for a long time has been seen as a sign of poverty, lack of education and manners.
“It’s fundamental that everyone should know who the real baddies and goodies really are, apart from the rubbish we’re told about Mafia and Camorra. The situation in Naples is terrible: When a young person, who lives in a poorer area and who’s never gone to school, “chooses” to work for the Camorra, that’s not a free, independent choice. While our country divides people into good and bad people, with our music we invite people to reason with lucidity, to make distinctions. Our songs are not for the Camorra bosses, but for the small drug dealers who get themselves shot for a penny.”