[Monday Notes no. 155] Bruno Lauzi was inspired by great Italian songwriting, but also by jazz and bossa nova, genres that he played and sang with ease. In 1976, he recorded an entire album for children from which is taken Il leprotto Zip (The hare Zip), a very witty song in samba – bossa nova style.
Il leprotto Zip is part of the album Johnny Bassotto, la tartaruga… e altre storie. Many songs from this album have become kids’ classics that children still sing and know today. This is the case for example with Virgola e La tartaruga.
The lyrics of these songs escape the banality of so many children’s songs, and rather than attempting to teach something at all costs, they want to make you think. A bit like his fellow countryman and friend Fabrizio de André did, Bruno Lauzi prefers to tell stories and make people think, rather than dish out a pre-packaged truth.
Il leprotto Zip is a song in the AABA form, in the key of F minor. The melody is simple and elegant, and seems to echo the style of Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell. Here is the score of the first verse, part [A].
Il leprotto Zip continues with a modulation to the relative major key A flat, which we have called part [B]. An [A] section in F minor follows, then the piece modulates up a semitone, at minute 1’10.
In his career, Bruno Lauzi experimented as easily with music and poetry as he did with television and cabaret. A friend and fellow student of Luigi Tenco, we can place Bruno Lauzi in the current of the Genovese school, together with other great performers from his city, Genoa.
However, his was an original path, Bruno Lauzi was a true non-conformist and for this reason he was often excluded from RAI (Italian public television) or other prestigious stages. Until the end, Bruno Lauzi remained a humble and reserved man, who defined himself as ‘a mushroom picking poet’, testifying his predilection for a simple and normal life.
Success left him totally unaffected, it did not generate any arrogance in him. That is why the songs dedicated to children are his most precious legacy. Simple, funny, full of poetry. Like Il leprotto Zip, Bruno Lauzi ran too fast for his time. And he followed his own path, which we can try to follow by listening to his songs.
Until next Monday!