Exploring the Italian roots of American pop music
Like many of Dan’s shows, Mambo Italiano is a seamless melding of song, travelogue and history that shines a new light on old familiar tunes. It also explores the importance of WWII in bringing Italian-Americans to the mainstream of American popular culture, and bringing a love of Italian culture back to the U.S. from the battlefields and villages of Italy.
Mambo Italiano premiered May 20, 2006 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, and was broadcast statewide by MN Public Radio. Two other productions followed: at the MN History Center in St. Paul and at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis.
Dan Chouinard was joined by public radio notables such as Prudence Johnson, Peter Ostroushko and Dan Dressen in an exploration of music and Italian-American culture, from peasant songs and opera to postwar hits by Louis Prima, Mario Lanza, Antonio Benedetto (Tony Bennett) and Concetta Franconero (Connie Francis). With the help of the Mandragora Tango Orchestra and a big band led by Jim TenBensel and Joe Pulice.
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