Le canzoni della Mamma

Songs about the mother

“Mamma, I’m so happy because I’m returning to you, my song tells you it’s my greatest dream", is the opening to one of the most famous Italian songs in the world, Mamma. Written by the Bixio – Cherubini pair, it was launched in Guido Brignone’s homonymous film by Beniamino Gigli, who sings it during the ocean crossing, on the steamship heading home, in front of a crowd of mute enraptured emigrants. The film was released in 1941, at the height of the war. The song immediately became a classic that over the years was recorded by many - Pavarotti, Renato Zero, Bocelli. Songs about the mother are the pride of Italian tradition. The golden age was the 1950s when Sanremo brought them back, when sentimentalism and a sobbing tone were all the rage: " All the mothers in the world are beautiful, when they hold a baby to their heart " sings Gino Latilla, in Tutte le mamme. But there is also a comic piece, first sung by Natalino Otto, Mamma voglio anch'io la fidanzata. There is the teenage Morandi of Fatti mandare dalla mamma a prendere il latte, the vintage format by Bennato of Viva la mamma, to a twist rhythm, the easy-going Jovanotti with Ciao mamma come mi diverto, and again, on the theme of dancing, Portami a ballare by Luca Barbarossa. But if we want to raise the bar, the Neapolitan repertoire comes to the rescue. In Connola senza mamma, from 1932, the setting focuses on "the mothers of emigrants who cry on the dock" and the refrain intones " a cradle (connola) without mother, which can’t give happiness." And yet, there are also the sons who are eager to leave for the promised land, and ask Mamma mia dammi cento lire. Finally, a look at songs written by singer-songwriters, which have many beautiful dedications to the mother, without rhetoric. Carmen Consoli in In bianco a nero, looks at a picture of her mother at three years old, and then at twenty and regrets not having talked more with her. Zucchero invokes his " mama, save my soul” in Madre dolcissima. The distance from the mother is a central theme in many songs, including Quella carezza della sera by the New Trolls. On the other hand, the image of the mother crying over the dying son is rarer. An outstanding one by Fabrizio De Andrè is Tre madri, where the figure of Mary is portrayed in her most human traits, like those of all mothers.