Listening to Italian Colonialism

An Audiovisual Series

As Italy was preparing to revenge the defeat of Adwa, dozens of songs that thematized Ethiopia were composed, performed, published and broadcasted to accompany the Italian military campaign. However, these songs transcended the basic intention of the fascist regime and started to incorporate descriptions of places, people, encounters.

What does it mean to listen to these songs today? What kinds of traces remain of this sonic memory? And how can we analyze and interpret this heritage?

In these short clips, named “Listening to Italian Colonialism”, sonic archives are used to foster conversations and discussions among scholars, musicians and activists. The dialogue therefore helps to unpack the ways in which songs such as “Sul Mercato di Macallè” (re)write history and display deep connections with modernity.

LANGUAGE: Italian with English Subtitles

LISTENING TO ITALIAN COLONIALISM is a project coordinated by Gianpaolo Chiriacò and developed by Alessandra Ferlito and Emilio Tamburini.

The project is based at the University of Innsbruck and supported by a FWF (Austrian Science Fund) grant.

Many thanks to the Istituto Centrale per i Beni Sonori e Audiovisivi (Rome)

Listening to Italian Colonialism” has been curated by Gianpaolo Chiriacò, Alessandra Ferlito and Emilio Tamburini. It is part of a Lise-Meitner Project titled “Ethiopian-Italian Relationships in Popular Music” (link).

The same team edited a special issue of the scholarly magazine “From the European South“ (link: