A conversation about the Festival of Sanremo, a 70 year old cultural institution that sheds lights on Italian culture and society.
Sanremo has become a cultural institution that shines the spotlight not only on musical productions, but an Italian identity. It is a cultural arbiter of italianità, which begs the question: What makes a song Italian? Is it the singer, the words, the overall messaging, all of the above? What happens when the winner is labeled a non-Italian like it happened when Alessandro Mahmood’s “Soldi” won the festival in 2019 ? His victory provoked a social media explosion, giving even more visibility to a question that has been debated for more than 700 years: Who is Italian? Who represents Italy?
Anthony Sargenti is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at the University of Arkansas. He defended his dissertation last month, which analyses the discourses of second generation Italian hip hop and how they negotiate italianità. He lives in Portland, OR.