Italy: Mafia CD not published due to fear of ban

12 September 2005

The CD ‘Songs of a Life of Crime’  has been released in Britain and other European countries, but it will not be available in its country of origin, Italy, because the producers are nervous of releasing it for fear of provoking an outcry or even of being banned.

According to BBC’s arts correspondent Razia Iqbal, ‘Songs of a Life of Crime’ is being touted as one of the most controversial albums of the year. The CD documents a secret strand of Italian folk culture: the Calabrian Mafia, in southern Italy, and the songs have never been made public before in this way, and the very existence of this music has caused a heated debate in Italy.

The lyrics are bloodcurdling, talking of slashing a face and watching the person die; of revenge killings and women who fall for men who do such things. It’s performed by a ten piece band which is currently touring in Europe, selling out concerts in Amsterdam; the CD has already sold 60,000 copies, which is a lot for what is really minority music.

The  CD ‘Il Canto di Malavita – La Musica della Mafia’ (‘Songs of a Life of Crime – The Music of the Mafia’) was published by PIAS Recordings in 2000. It features a selection of widely unknown and previously never published Calabrian Mafia songs. The CD includes songs such as ‘Blood Cries for Blood’, ‘The Traitors’ and ‘Law of Honour’.

Listen to BBC radio report  
‘The secret world of Mafia music’

The home page of Malavita:

The Guardian, November 26, 2001  
‘Criminal record’

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