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Italy rocks L.A. during ‘Hitweek’

October 10, 2011 |  5:45 pm

The show features Italian musicians of different genres as part of a U.S. tour to pursue new fans.

Caparezza


When one thinks of Western European countries exporting great pop and rock music, the U.K., France and even Spain come to mind. But Italy? Not so much.

This week, however, it’s Italy’s turn to shine as big-name musicians from multiple genres play L.A. as part of the annual Italian music showcase “Hitweek,” Tuesday through Thursday. 

“Every time I go abroad, people talk about music from Italy and they talk opera or something about the mandolin, but we have much more to offer,” said Francesco Del Maro, who helped organize the mini-touring festival for the Italian government in conjunction with Puglia Sounds, which promotes the music of Puglia, in southern Italy (four of the acts playing this year are from Puglia).

This year’s lineup offers a rare window into Italy’s popular music scene beyond electronic music, already popular with Americans, with touches on rap, rock and jazz.

Perhaps the most interesting artist taking part in the third annual Hitweek, which also plays New York and Miami, is a man with gravity-defying hair known as Caparezza (which translates in Italy’s Apulian dialect to “curly head”).

“The first album that I bought was Run DMC’s ‘Raising Hell,’ but I’m not a hip-hop artist,” said the rising star, whose work feels like a pop hybrid of Spandau Ballet and Eminem on tracks such as his popular recent single “Goodbye Malinconia.”

“For me, playing in L.A. means a new challenge … a test with myself,” added the avowed fan of L.A., who adds that his favorite film is “Pulp Fiction.”

While rock act Subsonica is likely the biggest draw, all the bands might be of interest to students, who can see any Hitweek show this week for free with a valid college I.D.

“It’s the students that will carry the message [via Facebook],” Del Maro said regarding the special offer that he hopes will propel Italian music into America’s social networks and beyond. For schedule and tickets, go to www.hitweek.it

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-- Charlie Amter

Photo: Caparezza, courtesy of Hitweek.

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