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In 1972 an Italian pop star named Adriano Celentano composed a song that was an immediate hit in Italy despite the fact that the lyrics weren’t Italian. It’s an upbeat and catchy tune that has an irresistible beat and an awesome not-so-secret-secret: its lyrics aren’t written in any language at all. With the exception of the words “all right,” they’re complete and utter gibberish.
The song is called “Prisencolinensinainciusol" and Celentano wrote it to mimic the way American English sounds to non-English speakers. Actually, he didn’t even write down the lyrics. They were improvised over a looped beat. Once you know this, the catchy tune becomes absolutely fascinating. This song was Celentano’s effort to explore language barriers and encourage people to communicate more.
"Ever since I started singing, I was very influenced by American music and everything Americans did," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, through interpreter Sim Smiley.
"So at a certain point, because I like American slang — which, for a singer, is much easier to sing than Italian — I thought that I would write a song which would only have as its theme the inability to communicate," he says. "And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn’t mean anything."
"Prisencolinensinainciusol" was recored by Adriano Celentano and his wife, performer-turned-producer Claudia Mori, but the wonderful performance seen in this video shows Celentano singing with showgirl Raffaella Carrà, who danced and lip-synched to Mori’s vocals.
Now if you really want to mess with your brain, click here to watch a version of the song that’s been subtitled to make it seem as though the gibberish is actually English.
I love the italian tv sets from the 60s/70s. By the way, Raffaella Carrà is perfection.
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