Episode 7: IN THE SOUTH - with Mai Mai Mai


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This episode features a deep conversation with Toni Cutrone (best known as Mai Mai Mai) delving into all the various facets of his career. On the occasion of the release of his latest LP, Nel Sud, we met to discuss his southern Italian and Mediterranean roots, the rediscovery of Italian music from the 70s, and the difficulties (and joys) of running clubs and a cultural association in Italy's capital. Cutrone draws an implicit link between the same eclecticism that is on display in the Roma Est neighborhood he calls home with the ancient links of circulation which unite diverse Mediterranean identities.

Nel Sud departs from where his Mediterranean Trilogy left off, exploring "the interrelation between pagan rituals and Catholicism, lives shaped by arduous labour and working-class dignity, the fragility of man subdued by nature, divinity and magic." It stands as his most ambitious, and best, album yet and shouldn't be missed. Amidst rising nationalism and right-wing populism, a work such as this all the more necessary: rather than solidifying a false standard of "purity" or advocating a fantasy of blood and soil, Nel Sud de-centers the received narratives, pointing to a long history of exchange and hybridization, of liminal spaces and fluid boundaries, of interlinked histories which cannot be contained by static understandings of identity. The music included here, much of which comes from Cutrone's various projects and those of his collaborators, reflects this diversity, and while it tends, ultimately, towards a rather bleak picture (juxtaposing the ruins of past empires with the contemporary ruins of decadent consumerist society) there is nonetheless something I find hopeful. In excavating the past in this way, perhaps we can ignite new imaginaries and new futures.

Read more, including tracklist at www.acloserlisten.com

Sound Propositions the podcast has the same mission statement as the written Sound Propositions features: to share in depth discussions with artists whose work we love, to delve into the details of their creative practice. Headphone listening recommended.

Cover Image a panel from Stefano Tamburini and Tanino Liberatore's Ranx a New York.

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