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Lucio Battisti

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Lucio Battisti Anima Latina album cover
3.85 | 49 ratings | 8 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Abbracciala abbracciali abbracciati (7:03)
2. Due mondi (5:11)
3. Anonimo (7:02)
4. Gli uomini celesti (5:05
5. Gli uomini celesti (ripresa) (0:51)
6. Due mondi (ripresa) (1:09)
7. Anima latina (6:36)
8. Il salame (3:38)
9. La nuova America (2:49)
10. Macchina del tempo (6:59)
11. Separazione naturale (1:29)

Total time 47:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Lucio Battisti / vocals, guitars, keyboards, piano

- Massimo Luca / guitars
- Claudio Maioli / keyboards, piano
- Gneo Pompeo / keyboards, piano
- Pippo Colucci / trumpet
- Gigi Mucciolo / trumpet
- Gianni Bogliano / trombone
- Claudio Pascoli / flute
- Mario Lavezzi / backing vocals
- Alberto Radius / backing vocals
- Mara Cubeddu / vocals (2)
- Bob Callero (Bob J. Wayne) / bass
- Gianni Dall'Aglio / drums
- Franco Lo Previte (Dodo Nileb) / drums, percussion
- Toni Esposito / percussion
- Karl Potter / percussion
- Claudio Maioli / percussion

Releases information

LP Numero Uno - DZSLN 55675 (1974, Italy)
MC Numero Uno - ZKN55675 (1974, Italy)

CD Numero Uno - DZSLN 55675 (1989, Italy)

Numerous LP and CD reissues

Thanks to Raff for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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LUCIO BATTISTI Anima Latina ratings distribution

(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LUCIO BATTISTI Anima Latina reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars For Italians and fans of Italian music, Lucio Battisti needs no introduction. One of the most genuinely innovative musicians of the past few decades, he is one of those artists who have left their indelible mark on the whole scene - even on bands or artists that apparently belong to a very different musical world. On the other hand, those who are mostly familiar with his late Sixties output will wonder what he is doing on a prog site, even in the Prog-Related section.

As a born-and-bred Italian, and someone who grew up with Lucio's music - I remember anxiously awaiting every one of his new releases when I was little more than a kid - I can safely state that there is much more to Battisti's output, spanning almost three decades, than the light-hearted, pop-beat songs included in his first couple of albums. Much like Fabrizio De André, though in a less socially and politically conscious way, he was a ground-breaking figure - for his musical intuition (he was the author of the music of all his songs), for the often provocative lyrics penned by his long-time partner Mogol (who also wrote the lyrics for PFM's "Per Un Amico"), even for his distinctive vocal style, so sharply at odds with the Italian tradition of 'bel canto'. Many of his songs were censored by the official radio stations because of their too-frank references to sex, and traditionalists hated his thin, somewhat strained, yet highly effective voice. Progressive? You bet - though not always in the fashion that the average visitor to this site might wish.

After years of flirting with the all-pervasive influence of progressive rock on the Italian music scene of the early Seventies (as shown by his third album, "Amore e non amore", recorded with the collaboration of most of the members of PFM), Battisti finally surrendered to the lure of the hottest trend of the day with his eight album, released at the tail end of 1974, when the prog movement was still in full bloom, though slowly heading for a decline. Though initially as successful in commercial terms as most of his previous releases, "Anima Latina" is not as firmly rooted in the collective musical memory of Italians as most of the latter are. In spite of Battisti's connections with prog, such as his collaboration with Formula 3, his fans saw him more as a purveyor of pop songs (though intelligent, sophisticated ones) than a genuinely progressive artist. Indeed, the longer-than-average running time of most of the songs on "Anima Latina", coupled with the complexity of the arrangements and the lack of instantly catchy hooks - as well as the often cryptic nature of the lyrics, a celebration of 'innocence and experience' touching on such typical Seventies topics as free love, nature worship and anti-imperialism - make the album a definitely tougher prospect for those looking for more conventional material.

As the title implies, the album's structure revolves around a variety of Latin musical influences, reinterpreted in a manner that relies heavily on a rich, diverse instrumentation, emotionally intense vocal arrangements, and unpredictable alternations of slower, atmospheric passages with livelier ones. Not surprisingly, percussion plays a leading role on "Anima Latina", with the contribution of no less than four percussionists (including Toni Esposito, known to RPI fans for his collaborations with Alan Sorrenti and Perigeo) . While, as is the case with most RPI classics, the centuries-long tradition of the Italian 'canzone' provides the underlying structure, the disc displays many of the standard features of concept albums, such as the lack of actual breaks between the songs, and the presence of recurring musical phrases and themes. The lush orchestration guarantees a sense of well-rounded fullness to those moments when a powerful sound is required, yet is equally able to create sparse, suspended moods which seem to perfectly complement Battisti's distinctive vocals - not beautiful in any conventional sense, but possessed of an expressive force comparable to De André's deep, world-weary drawl. On this album, Battisti delivers the thought-provoking lyrics (undisputedly among Mogol's best work) in tones that range from the barest whisper to clear, careful enunciation, moulding his voice around the music

Even more so than many so-called concept albums, "Anima Latina" is a strongly cohesive effort, in spite of being technically divided into 11 tracks. At every listen, it will be perceived as a whole, perfectly conceived and executed, never flagging in terms of overall quality. Extremely innovative in a musical sense, it feels nevertheless somewhat different from the output of the conventionally prog bands active at the time. In some ways, Battisti's compositional approach on this album is closer to what we see now in the 21st century - a successful collision of genuine experimentation and mainstream tendencies. From the airy, atmospheric opening of "Abbracciala, abbracciali, abbracciati", with its triumphant horn section and jazzy overtones, to the upbeat, dance-like rhythm of "Due mondi", in which Battisti duets with Mara Cubeddu (who had also guested on "Il nostro caro angelo"), "Anima Latina" immediately shows its intriguing, multi-faceted nature. Then, it gradually unfolds in all its unabashed eclecticism, a veritable pot-pourri of sounds and influences, shifting from the hypnotic, rarefied electronics of Anonimo" to the avant-garde leanings of the endearingly naïve double-entendre of "Il salame".

Following the two-part suite "Gli uomini celesti" (featuring some splendid percussion work, as well as an ironic reference to another Battisti composition, "I giardini di marzo") and a slowed-down reprise of "Due mondi", the title-track brings the album to its natural climax in a triumph of exhilaratingly intricate rhythm patterns and magnificent lyrics celebrating the beauty and strength of Latin America - as opposed to the sterile, mass-produced nature of the Anglo-American model of society. Finally, "Macchina del tempo" sums up the whole album, blending electronics and Latin rhythms, laid-back melodic lines and experimental dynamism in a heady brew, with a brief citation from the title-track at its very close.

If Lucio Battisti (just like Fabrizio De André) had been born in any English-speaking country, he would nowadays be hailed as one of the greatest artists of our time. Multilayered and sophisticated, "Anima Latina" is his undisputed masterpiece, and an indispensable listen for every fan of vintage Italian progressive rock - as well as a very rewarding one for lovers of great music, regardless of tags or classifications. Five well-deserved stars for yet another gem from the Italian Seventies.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Iconic cover art for Lucio's "The Dreaming"

"Anima Latina" is oft-cited as Lucio Battisti's most progressive effort and also as his finest album. I personally cannot agree with the latter but I certainly agree that the album is something unique and special. By this time Battisti had released several commercially and artistically successful albums morphing from the pop/songwriter of the 1960s to more complicated work in the early 70s as he crossed over into RPI territory to some extent. With the release of "Anima Latina" he offered his most experimental work to date and frankly blew minds and expectations at the time, I have little doubt.

Anima is a richly arranged concoction of sounds, an album that really is more easily described by what it celebrates than by categorizing the sound with the usual compartments. While I do not understand the lyrics, a critical disadvantage on Battisti albums, Anima sounds like a celebration of youth, life, and cultural diversity. It breathes passion, it exudes energy and freedom, it sounds just like the iconic cover photograph tells you it sounds. In a nutshell it seems to attempt to give musical form to movement, dance, sunshine, and life. Highly complex and impeccably arranged tracks are filled with nuanced vocals, lots of brass, Latin rhythms, and lovely guitar work. It combines some of the traditional singer/songwriter Italian vibe with a downright funky, infectious attitude, and an obviously bold experimental desire to the push the envelope in a way similar to what Kate Bush tried with "The Dreaming" years later. The albums are completely different in style, but they possess the same sense of musical provocation and freedom.

Yet as well executed and unique as the album is, for me personally it is just a "good" album to actually listen to---it does not reach into my exceptional or masterpiece range. One of those many albums I appreciate much more on an intellectual level than a musical one---it's impressive yes, but I don't long to listen to it (and truthfully, The Dreaming was never my first Kate Bush choice either). I can understand why others love these kind of quirky albums and I agree that they are risks well taken. But in my experience there are many more satisfying RPI albums out there and other albums which employed horns earlier and with more satisfying results (even Italian ones like Rocky's Filj or Nicosia). And though I've only heard a half-dozen Battisti titles to date, "Anima" already places behind "Amore e Non Amore" in my book. I encourage everyone interested in RPI to check out "Anima Latina" and judge for yourself. At the very least it's a good album and it might be much more than that for many listeners.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars I was quite surprised to see an artist like Lucio Battisti included on PA. I´ve always though of him as more pop singer/songwriter. A great one, by the way. He had a great knack for writing terrific melodic tunes and he had a quite prolific career both as a solo artist and as songwriter for other italian acts. The presence of his name in this prog site is largely by his work on this album, Anima Latina. His ´progressive´ LP of 1974. It is indeed different, experimental and bold. If the work was good it is another matter entirely.

Let me start by explaning that in the early 70´s with the rising of prog rock music begun to be taken seriously by the musical press in general. Now talented and respected musicians were doing critical acclaimed ´serious´ albums in the rock format. So it is no surprise that many other singers or musicians wanted that kind of respect for themselves. Pop music in particular never got that. Pop singers could and would sell records by the millions, but were then despised by critics as producers of commercial, disposable stuff, nothing that would stand the test of time. Thus, several groups or individuals decided to show they too could make something in that vein. And the market was flooded by those ´artsy´, ´progressive´ or ´psychedelic´ effords around this time. Some were good, but mostly were just releasing something forced, that were trying to pedal into something that was simply not their forte.

Anima Latina sounds a lot like those. Certainly Battisti, a talented and outstanding artist, tried his best here to sound ´modern´ or even a little´avant guard´. But it seems also that he tried to bite more than he could chew. Anima Latina has it all: soul horns, weird noises and effects, sudden tempo changes, psychedelic guitars, spanish rhythms, Santana-like percussions and so on. Sometimes his briliance shines through some very good melodies, but most of the time he loses himself in those intricated (or self indulgent) arrangements and no song lasts too long to be recognised by his fans as his ´normal´ stuff.

Anima Latina was an ambitious work that was not really succesful, as far as I can say. It also dated a lot. And I really rather hear several other of his albums to this one (Amore E Non Amore among them, where the presence of members of PFM did not only disrupted his style, but enhanced its best qualities). This one is definitly for special tastes. 2,5 stars.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Anima Latina, if you boil it down (and read the title!), is all about the search of a certain spirit. As lofty and silly as it sounds, this quest for a common cultural denominator or something commonly or vaguely recognized and familiar via a Romanic point of view, is an exercise that is ultimately doomed to overreach in one way or another. Being something as elusive and pretentious as that, the results are at best divisive in terms of quality and at its worst more or less a complete waste of time for the "ordinary" prog fan.

Lucio Battisti is not a run-of-the-mill progressive artist regardless of point of view, but he brings with him a care-free and warm sense of experimentation that stretches the singer-songwriter idiom way beyond where it initially was meant to strike home. Digging deep in the rich and fertile soil of the Italian peninsula's musical traditions and blending the finds with a home-cooked mix of different Latin musical traditions, a fair amount of the predominantly atmosphere-generating-symphonic-progressive (phew!) tendencies of his home country and a good deal of recognisable and catchy singer-songwriter hooks, Battisti manages to rise above this evidently quite crowded musical cauldron and deliver a decently interesting, but above all, extremely vibrant little piece of art. Does proto-world-music-crossover-prog ring a bell?

It is partly achingly unfocused, partly Italo-saccharine, partly melodic-abusing throw-away schmaltz. And still it is an album that manages to win me over on its side during each and every play-through. In part this is due to the charming percussion work all over the record; a fun-filled aural spice which is both elegantly crisp and charmingly obtrusive and now and then even a bit silly. In part this is due to the welcome addition of brass and flute, with especially the first leaving a unique and lasting impression on the music. In part this is because of the sometimes cheeky but always flowing and elegantly enriching keyboard sounds;working just as well in the background as up front, and which surprises you by taking over the scene completely from time to time, drifting away on waves of (surprisingly) elegant ethereality. In part this is due to how available and catchy the basic canzone-type singing and song-writing is, and that subtle guitar work that constantly bubbles underneath the warm, lively, airy and - above all - rich tapestry of sounds that constitutes the cosmetics of Anima Latina. In part this is because of the (yes - surprisingly) groovy propulsion on some of the tracks one encounter during this neat little musical trip. In part it is because of the schizophrenic changes in tempo, mood and melody that permeate the entire disc. In part it is because of the loosely held-together theme hanging by a thread of sometimes cleverly, sometimes obnoxiously in-your-face re-used phrases and sections.

To be fair (and a wee bit glib) it is contrived, cryptic and a bit cramped (not unlike this review). It contains as much dogged, safe-and-sound nostalgia as it does new and fresh influences. But, yes, I really, really like it. Because if you find it in you, you will not only find a sort of pseudo-intellectual mash-up of traditional Latin sounds, prog, pop and ambience, but one of the most exuberantly vibrant, joyful and diverse albums in the whole tradition of Italian music that happens to be included on this site. And in that grand, swirling piece of (for Battisti, perhaps for anyone) artistic overreaching and full-throttle, all-out, fish-out-of-water, progressive experiment one vital taste lingers after each and every play: that of a sound palette being somewhat too muddled, diverse and cumbersome for its own good, but delivered with such earnest, power and creative joy it ends up being nothing but charming through and through.

4 stars.


Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the most recognizable figures of Italian music,singer/song-writer Lucio Battisti was born in a small city called Poggio in 1943,but moved to Rome at the age of 7.He made his career though in Milan already from mid-60's,both composing and as a member of I Campioni.By late 60's Battisti released his first solo album,his fame was on a rise already,participating in the SanRemo festival.A great number of albums would follow in the 70's,covering many styles always in an accesible form,ranging from Beat to Progressive Pop to Folk and the familiar Italian singer/songwriter style.

From a progressive point of view,the most related to the genre album is propably ''Anima latina'' from 1974,an album highlighted by a huge number of prog/psych guests like Toni Esposito,Mario Lavezzi from Il Volo,Alberto Radius,Gianni Dall'Aglio from I Ribelli,Claudio Pascoli from Pangea and the list goes on.Containing both short and longer tracks,the album shows Battisti's impressive compositional talent,incredible song writing and great vocal range.Musically it is very close to PANGEA's ''Invasori''.The tracks cover numerous styles with Battisti's vocals on the front always supported by excellent and professional arrangements,which flirt with Folk, Pop, Orchestral Music,Horn Rock, Progressive Rock with even an Avant-Garde touch here and there.''Anima latina'' is quite smooth and calm for the most of its duration,yet the album hides an incredible inner power,coming out of Battisti's vocal highlights,the dynamic percussion,the unique spacey synthesizers,the strong rhythm section with Bob Callero from Osage Tribe on bass,the hypnotic saxes and the driving flutes.Really hard to describe this one,the album can be fully appreciated only after repeated listenings,which shows why it is so familiar with progressive rock nature.

Battisti even collaborated with some Italian prog acts during the 70's,most notably Formula Tre,Equipe 84 and I Dik Dik and continued to produce albums since the mid-90's,although not with the same rhythm as in the 70's,while the quality rather dropped year per year.Sadly Battisti would pass away in 1998 due to cancer.''Anima latina'' still remains one his most deep,atmospheric and complicated works,which can be totally absorbed by even the most demanding ears.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Anima Latina" is probably the only true prog album Battisti ever recorded. It is a very eclectic work, still in his typical singer-songwriter style, and considered by many as his masterwork.

Certainly it is his most ambitious and complex work where different musical genres are wisely mixed: "canzone", folk, latin rythms, jazz (a la IL VOLO), electronic and cosmic music, all suited in extended tracks, dipped in wide use of keyboards (atmospheric and synths).

The album reached the highest ranking in Italy at that time and there remained for 13 weeks without a break (total 65 weeks at the top); unfortunately, nowadays it is the least known of all his works. Almost all the tracks are composed without choruses (except for "Due Mondi").

Review by Guldbamsen
5 stars Love

I love this album. I really do. It's the kind of album that sounds exactly how it looks. That grassy meadow with children playing around to the back-draft of a fading orangy sun. It stays with you throughout the album's playing time, that naive hippie feel. A shading to Anima Latina that oozes warmth and feel good vibes. Every time I put this album on, it's instantly summer, the trees have magically grown leafy fingers and a real sense of fragrant humidity fills the air.

There is indeed a 'warmth' to this album - a friendly hug - a thousand wet kisses - conveyed in sound. I've often mentioned Anima Latina as the single most well produced album ever made, and while that may be a little over the top(because let's face it: different musics call for different production values), I still am head over heels in love with this thing. Every instrument is audible, and that is a feat in itself considering just how many layers there are within the individual tunes. They come off unbelievably earthy - like had they been flown through time straight from the Woodstock festival just to get that little bit of extra umphh and feel to the proceedings.

Lucio Battisti is an iconic figure in Italy, today mostly known for his successful pop career though. Starting out as an outspoken singer-songwriter deeply enamoured with the psychedelic flourishes of the 60s, he quickly picked up on the equally progressive measures emerging with the prog rock age, more specifically the Italian side of things. His third outing fx entitled Amore E Non Amore featured most of the legendary PFM line up, and while it gave way to an altogether more exuberant instrumentation, the album itself still remained heavily rooted in the late 60s. Anima Latina has a whisp of the ol hippie sound as well, but like I mentioned earlier, this is much more felt in the manner in which it was recorded. It really does feel as if the entire cover art scene somehow was scooped out of nature and aptly placed inside the studio.

The songs themselves are carried on by Lucio's beautiful enigmatic voice, which I have come to love like a small child. I feel a strong connection with the man, whatever he sings, whatever frail and earth-shatteringly beautiful whisper he utters - I'm there, I get it - even if I don't understand a single word of what he's saying....... I feel him. Sometimes he reminds me of an Italian Neil Young. Although Lucio is far more velvety in his delivery, there's still a similar frail sensibility about him. Something that makes him feel more 'there'¨when he sings. It's as if he's right there beside your ear.

What's even better is that Battisti's vocals are backed up by the most wonderful funky, almost Motowny bass playing, acoustic folky guitars, crystal clear piano, brass section, flute, synthesisers, various congas and percussions, electric guitar and backing vocals to die for. Within the same song you'll find the moods go from huge big band funk rock, to intimate acoustic guitar encounters by candlelight in a matter of seconds, that is without sounding choppy or stitched together. Personally I think it's down to the songs actually being songs. This is not a wide variety of interesting fuga sections and inspired avantguardish piano stints awkwardly thrown together at the drop of the hat, but real, and at times, simple tunes made by a talented singersong writer.

I guess you could call this album progressive pop. The melodic nature of it almost feels too upfront to be considered as genuine rock music, yet there's still a fair few moments on here that'll have you stomping the ground. They're often relegated through the combination of the rhythm section doing it's funky jungle thang, whilst the trumpets and trombone toot wondrous lines that instantly feel memorable. This is the stuff I whistle and sing when I'm in a good mood - when I'm feeling like a million bucks about to go surfing on rooftops and climb trees in exotic suburbs. Again, it's that infinitely lovable melodic core of this record. Whether the music is going through folk, jazzy bits, funk or great big symphonic laden piano gulps, it's always there. So yeah call it pop for all I care - I call it music, and damn fine music at that!

I've had this album for about 4 years now, and it has quickly become one of my most beloved musical treasures. Any time I need a friend, I pop this baby on and feel like I just stepped out on that grassy meadow - leaving all my troubles behind and start to enjoy life the way I did back when I was a small boy, who could spend countless of hours jumping up and down for no reason at all. It's that same naive joy this album has. In spades! It reminds me of a simpler world - a world of playfulness and a deep affectionate immersion in whatever you decide to do with yourself.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Anima Latina looks like a warm album - glancing at the summer-scene on the cover, with all that gold and the dancing children, you might be surprised at the almost cold feel the keyboards and the generous reverb bring to this record. Opener, 'Embrace...' (hope that's translated right) acts as ... (read more)

Report this review (#731423) | Posted by dreadpirateroberts | Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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