In 1972 the famous Italian singer Adriano Celentano laughed at all of Italy. He did it with “Prisencolinensinainciusol”, a catchy and lively single that seemed to be sung in English and became an absolute hit with its audience.
What his fans did not know is that the language in which Celentano sang was not English: they were nonsense words that certainly seemed to belong to that language without doing so. Apparently the artist I wanted to show that Italians loved any song that was sung in English, and he was right, because that was a great song of the time.
Long live the invented english
The song, which Celentano performed he sang with his wife Claudia Mori in the backing vocals, was published on November 3, 1972 as a single, but would later be included on their 1973 album “Nostal Rock” as a second track.
The theme was certainly very lively and with certain influences from artists like Elvis Presley, but above all it wanted to be a demonstration of how Italians liked any song in English. Celentano wanted to do an experiment and he invented a letter that sounded similar to English —with some certainly similar words— but it didn’t really make any sense.
That song became a success and demonstrated the theory of Celentano, who later explained that the song posed the reflection of the “incommunicability” of modern times (of the time). The singer’s singular humor was a key ingredient for the apparently real reason, which was none other than “trolling” all of his fans and doing, as he himself said, “something that meant nothing”.
The song made it to the charts in the United States, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, but curiously it took time to become a hit in Italy. He did so two years later, when Celentano He relaunched the theme on two successful television programs, one of them with Rafaella Carra.
The history was already known to many for years, when Cory Doctorow rescued her for his blog, Boing Boing, but it has been these days that it has gone viral again after a tweet from a user named Harriet Mold.
Idioglossy: If no language sounds good for your song, make it up
The great story of Celentano’s song not really an isolated case. There have been other artists who have ended up singing in non-existent languages except, perhaps, for themselves.
The phenomenon is known as idioglossy. As Wikipedia explains, this term refers to “an idiosyncratic language, invented and spoken by only one or very few people which in many cases refers to the private languages of young children, especially twins. ”
One of the artists best known for using these invented languages is Lisa Gerrard, whose song “Now we are free”, included in the soundtrack of ‘Gladiator’ was sung in a language invented by her and which he describes as “the language of the heart”.
Another famous case is that of the Icelandic group Sigur Rós, who released an album called “()” in 2002 in which the members used a language they called vonlenska (in English, hopelandic). The idea was to make that nonsensical gibberish fit into the melody and “act like another instrument.”
There are also unique cases of the use of such nonsensical gibberish among Spanish artists. Probably one of the best known is that of the famous ‘Aserejé’, the song with which “the Ketchup” triumphed in 2002 and whose chorus was a mystery for 15 years.
That chorus seemed to mean nothing, but a Twitter user said he found the key to that, which was nothing more than a phonetic translation of ‘Rapper’s Delight’, a song by The Sugarhill Gang.
This is how Adriano Celentano trolled all of Italy in the 70s: this song “in English” triumphed and its lyrics made no sense
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