In the enormous capacity of song to talk about the things of the world and life, the theme of work has a prominent place.
Besides, what do people often do while they work? They sing, and maybe they sing songs that talk about work.
It is the women’s voices that defend the right to work for no more that eight hours, the voices of the mondine (rice paddy workers) who greet the boss who has always mistreated them. It is the voices of peasants and subordinates who fill the popular songbooks from Piedmont to Sicily, and even songs that enhance the nostalgia of one's home town such as La porti un bacione a Firenze, Ma se ghe penso and Partono I bastimenti. They are songs about work, because that nostalgia is a product of emigration, the need to find work and depart from the place where none could be found.
They are the voices of the characters of the original song, from the Spanish emigrant Pablo who accidentally dies in the green Switzerland of Francesco De Gregori, Lucio Dalla’s worker Gerolamo who went from Turin to Milan and then to Germany and then Nanterre, the suburbs of Paris, for a job, the girlfriend who remembers her handsome boyfriend, brought to the stage of Sanremo by Anna Identici, the bricklayer who fell from the heights, by Paolo Pietrangeli, equal in the eyes of who? For what? For whom? They are the voices of Enzo Jannacci's Vincenzina who actually cares about the factory. They are the desperate, pure and simple cry of Pino Marino who talks about those who have no work and paradoxically are not afraid of losing their jobs.
They are the voices of the anonymous railway driver, by Guccini, who uses his work tool - the locomotive - for a fatal and sensational gesture against injustice, the unemployed boyfriend of Nina, his pregnant companion, sung by Gualtiero Bertelli, the depressed men who have hope in their pockets when they get off the trains in the south, by Sergio Endrigo. The voices of the sweaty miner, by Domenico Modugno, the anonymous failure in the efficient working-class Milan of Paolo Conte, the wheat sowers of Gianmaria Testa, and the temporary substitute of Samuele Bersani.
The voices that come together to celebrate Labour Day, our day, as Giorgio Gaber sang, a day for those who live to work, a day for those who hope for the future, a day for those who courageously struggle. Dedicated above all to those who have recently lost their lives in the workplace, and who will no longer be able to celebrate this day. Let our memory of this first of May go to the doctors, nurses, and health workers.