Naples in Notes: A Journey through the History of Neapolitan Song

Welcome to Naples, the city of the sun, the sea and, above all, the song! Neapolitan music is an emotional journey through the centuries, an ode to passions, feelings and, of course, love. Prepare to immerse yourself in a vibrant world of melodies and words that tell stories of life, love and hope.

The Birth of the Traditional Neapolitan Song:
The history of Neapolitan song has its roots in the 18th century, when the streets of Naples were full of street artists and storytellers. These itinerant folklorists captured the public's attention with ballads that told stories of everyday life.

The decline of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the unification of Italy in 1861 led to a renewed interest in local cultural traditions, including Neapolitan music. This period saw the birth of many of the most iconic pieces of the Neapolitan repertoire, with artists such as Roberto Murolo and Enrico Caruso who, in the following century, would further contribute to spreading the fame of this musical form throughout the world. Thus, the 19th century is considered the period in which Neapolitan song began to flourish, establishing its deep cultural and musical roots that would continue to grow in the following decades.

The Great Exponents:


      1. Enrico Caruso:
        The name of Enrico Caruso resonates in the Neapolitan air like a timeless melody. Born in 1873, Caruso was one of the greatest tenors of all time. His powerful voice brought Neapolitan song to the international scene, spreading its charm throughout the world.
      2. Roberto Murolo:
        Nessun elenco di grandi esponenti della canzone napoletana sarebbe completo senza menzionare Roberto Murolo. Nato nel 1912, Murolo è stato un cantante, chitarrista e attore, portando avanti la tradizione musicale della sua città natale con passione e dedizione
      3. Sergio Bruni:
        Known as "The Voice of Vesuvius", Sergio Bruni enchanted audiences with his warm and engaging voice. His contribution to Neapolitan song was significant, helping to preserve and spread the musical heritage of the city.
      4. Renato Carosone: Singer and pianist, Renato Carosone was an icon of Neapolitan music after the Second World War. His music ranged from traditional to jazz and pop, helping to make Neapolitan song more eclectic.


    "O' Sole Mio" An Icon of Neapolitan Song:

    Written in 1898 by Giovanni Capurro and set to music by Eduardo Di Capua, the song has become a hymn to love and the sun. Its cheerful melody and romantic lyrics capture the soul of anyone who listens to it, you could listen to it in the alleys of the city.


    History and birth of the song:

    It is said that Giovanni Capurro wrote the lyrics of "O Sole Mio" inspired by a pre-existing lyric by a friend of his, Alfredo Mazzucchi, who was a music professor. The friend had shown him his work, but was dissatisfied with some of the lyrics. Capurro, then, decided to rewrite the lyrics, thus creating what would become one of the most iconic songs of Neapolitan song.

    As for Eduardo Di Capua, the composer of the music, it is said that he wrote the melody of “O Sole Mio” after being inspired by the view of the Gulf of Naples and the heat of the sun. The song celebrates the beauty of the sun and its warming power, and has become a hymn to romance and love.

    Ultimately, “O Sole Mio” was born from a collaboration between the poet Giovanni Capurro and the composer Eduardo Di Capua, each contributing their inspiration and creativity to create one of the most beloved songs of the Neapolitan tradition.

    We dedicate a special window to a figure who gave so much to this city, Pino Daniele:

    was an Italian singer-songwriter, guitarist and composer born on 19 March 1955 in Naples and passed away on 4 January 2015. While not exclusively associated with the traditional Neapolitan genre, Pino Daniele had a significant impact on the Neapolitan and Italian music scene as a whole. His unique style has mixed influences of blues, jazz, rock and, of course, elements of the Neapolitan musical tradition collaborating with Eric Clapton, Randy Crawford, Pat Metheny, Manu Chao, Marisa Monte.

    Among his most famous songs there are songs that have incorporated elements of Neapolitan song, such as “Napule è” and “Quanno chiove”. Pino Daniele was appreciated for his virtuoso guitar skills and his recognizable voice. He helped bring Neapolitan music to a wider audience, through his fusion of genres and his innovative approach.

    His passing in 2015 was a moment of profound sadness for Neapolitans, for the city and for the Italian and international music scene, but his artistic legacy continues to influence and inspire artists of different generations.

    The Neapolitan song is a musical treasure that continues to enchant generations. With its engaging melodies and passionate lyrics, it transports anyone who listens directly to the heart of Naples. Thus, while the sun shines on this fascinating city, the notes of the Neapolitan song continue to dance in the air, bringing with them the warmth and emotion of a timeless musical heritage.

    Giò Giò “Live for the music you loved”

    Giovanni Battista Cutolo, known as Giò Giò, young promise of Neapolitan music! The real Naples will never stop reminding you…


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