Franco Battiato (Jonia 1945 - ): italian Songwriter/Performer/musician

Battiato begins his career in the eary 70s and his first recordings (Fetus, Pollution, Sulle corde di Aries, Clic, Madamoiselle le Gladiator) track closely the development in modern and classical experimental music.

In 1978, he wins the K. Stockhausen award with L' Egitto prima delle sabbie.

Hi approach to an easier kind of (rock?) music is marked by the recordings that reveal him to a larger audience:

  • L'era del cinghiale bianco (Age of the White Boar - 1979)
  • Patriots (id. 1980)
  • La voce del padrone (His master's Voice - 1981)
This last recording tops the italian charts for over a year, selling more than a million copies.

Battiato continues his musical activity to this day, alternating his activity as a "rock" musician with his presence as an author of classical pieces:

  • La Genesi (1987)
  • Gilgamesh (1992)
  • Messa Arcaica (1992)
  • Il cavaliere dell'intelletto (1994)
Battiato's music is never trivial and has always been influenced by the extra-european tradition (particularly islamic - he broke the cultural embargo by performing in Baghdad about a year after the end of the Gulf war). But his attention to the musical scene is much wider, encompassing the 19th century lieder tradition as well as the french and italian chanson d'auteur of the 50s and 60s.

He has a long standing attention for the mystic side of life and religion (particularly sufism)

Battiato's lyrics are also very significant, often meaningful and deep, sometimes surprising to the point of silliness (by his own admission), for instance:

A Bach e a Sinatra preferisco l'insalata
A Vivaldi l'uva passa che mi da' piu' calorie

I like salad better than Bach and Sinatra
And raisins more than Vivaldi, on the account of calories

(From Patriots)

Songs of Franco Battiato on E2

Italian singer and musician (1945-). Born in Jonica, near Catania in the region of Sicily, Italy, from the begining of the 70's he started writing experimental music. Wins the Stockhausen prize in 1978 with the piece "L'Egitto prima delle sabbie" (literally, "Egypt before sands"). From the beginning of the 80's, publishing with EMI Records, he starts being a master of italian charts: "La voce del padrone", maybe his best known album, sells over a million copies and stays on top of charts for over one year.

While publishing various pop music albums, since 1984 starts writing an opera piece called "Genesi", that was received with great acclaim in 1987 in Teatro Regio, Parma (surely one of the most important theatres in Italy: Giuseppe Verdi was from a town nearby and wrote music for it). In 1991 he releases "Come un cammello in una grondaia" where, among classical lieders from the 19th century, he performs "Povera Patria", a song that will become a symbol in the era of Tangentopoli. In 1992 he releases a theatre piece called "Gilgamesh" and flies to Baghdad to hold a concert with Iraqi symphonic orchestra. In 1993 his album "Café de la paix" is rated Record of the Year in a poll on Italian music critics.

In 1996 he releases "La cura", that is rated best Italian song of the year. His latest work dates 2001 and is called "Ferro Battuto". Franco Battiato is very well known for both his musical abilities and his lyrics, full of a complex and often far-fetched spirituality. Over ten books have been published about him over the years, though probably the best definition that can encompass him is "A Sufi and his music", because he is deeply influenced by mid-eastern spirituality and often sings in Arab.

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