09. Saved Souls: Locating Style in Fabrizio De André’s and Ivano Fossati’s Record Production




1. Fabrizio De André and Ivano Fossati, “Dolcenera”

From: Fabrizio De Andrè, Anime Salve. BMG Ricordi STVL 392331, 1996, cd.


Fabrizio De Andrè: voice; Ellade Bandini: drums; Naco: udu, urucungu and shaker; Pier Michelatti: electric bass; Fabrizio De André: classical guitar, Gianni Coscia: accordion; Cecilia Chailly: Paraguayan and concert harp; Mario Arcari: English horn; Michela Calabrese D’Agostino: flute; Giancarlo Porro: clarinet; Silvio Righini: cello; Dori Ghezzi, Luvi De André: voices.





Anime Salve (Saved Souls) is the thirteenth and last De André’s album studio and was realized in partnership with Ivano Fossati and the Italian musician, composer and producer Piero Milesi. The title of the album refers to the etymology of the two words, “soul” and “save”, and wants to maintain the original meaning of “lonely spirit”. This album expresses an interest in music styles (instrumentation, forms and performing techniques) from different geographical regions (mainly Southern European countries); it also expresses a musical and intellectual idea that was radically new in Italian canzone d’autore, involving an extended usage of recording techniques and mixing processes. The fourth track “Dolcenera”, in particular, is notable for micro-variations in the time domain of musical recordings – as polyrhythmic and microrhythmic formations (discrepancies) – and in terms of the sound-box configuration.


2. Fabrizio De André, “Andrea”

 From: Rimini. Ricordi SMRL 6221, 1978, 33⅓ rpm.


Gian Piero Reverberi: string arrangement and orchestration; Sergio Farina, Gilberto Zilioli, Fabrizio De André: acoustic guitars; Gian Piero Reverberi: keyboards; Bruno Crovetto: electric and acoustic bass; Tullio De Piscopo: drums; Fabrizio De André, Dori Ghezzi: voices; Mario Battaini: accordion; Giuliano Bernicchi: trumpet;  Luigi Bernardi, Attilio Casiero: mandolin; Virginio Bianchi, Marino Pomarico: bassoon; ocarina.





Rimini, De André’s ninth studio album, was realized with Massimo Bubola, an Italian musician and cantautore, co-author of all songs. Farthest from the French chanson and closer to European and American popular and folk music — the simultaneous usage of dissimilar rhythms and multitrack recording emerge as fundamental aspects of De André’s style. In “Andrea,” the album’s fourth track, there are mandolin polyrhythmic figures, related to the guitar accompaniment, claves and guiro, which become cross-rhythmic in the chorus sections of the song.


3. Ivano Fossati, “La Pianta del tè”

 From: La pianta del tè. CBS 460664 1, 1998, cd.


Ivano Fossati: keyboards, midi guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electric mandolin, zither, piano, voice; Uña Ramos: antara, kena; Beppe Quirici: electric bass; Elio Rivagli: drums, percussions, Gilberto Martellieri: keyboards; Vincenzo Zitello: Celtic harp.





The 1998 album La pianta del tè (The Tea Plant) was a creative turning-point for Fossati’s musical career, reflecting a will to experiment new musical solutions, an interest in music styles  from different geographical regions, and involving special recording and mixing techniques. In particular, the title track is characterized by the polyrhythmic articulation of the antara (Andean flute) played by Argentinian musician Uña Ramos.


3a. Ivano Fossati, “La Pianta del tè”

1988 live performance on Italian tv show Doc – Denominazione di origine controllata per una musica italiana e straniera.



4. Fabrizio De André, “La canzone di Marinella”

 From: Volume 3. Bluebell Records BB/LPS, 1968, 33⅓ rpm.


Gian Piero Reverberi: arrangement.





“La Canzone di Marinella” (“Marinella’s song”), included in De André’s third album, is a most representative song in De André’s production. From a musical point of view, this song expresses the main feature of De André’s vocal idiolect, related to his expressive rhythmic flexibility (subtle temporal inflections in De Andre’s singing) opposed to the guitar (and rhythmic) accompaniment. The lyrics are in a “fairy-tale” style but the narrative content of the song refers to the tragic death of a prostitute. This song became more popular after the release of a cover version by Mina.


4a. Fabrizio De Andrè and Mina, “La canzone di Marinella”

From Mi innamoravo di tutto. Ricordi TCDMRL 533042, 1997, cd.


Massimiliano Pani: arrangement.




De André’s later studio release of  the song in duet with Mina, included in 1997 De André’s anthology Mi innamoravo di tutto.


5. Ivano Fossati, “Panama”

From: Panama e dintorni. RCA Italiana PL 31570, 1981, 33⅓ rpm.


Ivano Fossati: electric, classic and acoustic guitar, flute, voice; Leo Adamian: drums, percussion; Francisco Centeno: electric bass; Steve Andrew Love: electric and acoustic guitar; Steve Robbins: piano, electric piano, Oberheim and Moog synthesizers; Roberto Zanaboni: Moog synthesizer; Antonio Marangolo: alto and tenor saxophone; Carlo Pennisi: acoustic guitar.





Panama e Dintorni, Fossati’s seventh studio album, is representative of his vocal style. The vocal idiolect of Fossati is characterized by expressive shaping aspects related to a particular melodic-textual pronunciation, obtained through unexpected prolongations of the consonants (emphasizing the pronunciation of each word), often linked with a constant use of polyrhythmic and counter-rhythmic stresses (extended syncopations).