Francesco Gabbani has won Sanremo 2017 and will represent Italy at Eurovision with “Occidentali’s Karma.”
Gabbani got his start in the music industry as a member of the band Trikobalto. He released his first solo album in 2013 and, at the age of 33, won Sanremo’s newcomers award in 2016 with his song “Amen.” Building on the platinum success of “Amen,” Gabbani wrote the soundtrack for the movie Poveri ma ricchi.
Sometimes, there’s a Eurovision entry that just lands with us. One that stands out above all the rest and usually does not get overtaken by any other entry that follows. We had moments like that with “Heroes” and “If Love Was a Crime.”
We love this song. Absolutely love it. It is Italian pop at its best, effervescent and vibrant and fun. Assuming the staging from Sanremo makes its way to Kyiv, “Occidentali’s Karma” has its own little “Save All Your Kisses for Me” dance and a silly staging moment that somehow just works in the performance. It brings us joy.
Initially, we wondered whether there was some cultural appropriation going on, especially after we saw the video, which is filled with Japanese imagery despite the lyrics referencing Indian concepts–a sloppy mix of Zen and Theravada Buddhism. However, when we read a rough translation of the lyrics, we took the song to be a criticism of Western cultural appropriation. In other words, satire rather than exploitation. Now, subtle parody doesn’t always translate across language, but we think if Gabbani sticks with the Sanremo staging, it will go over just fine.
“Occidentali’s Karma” has inspired us to create the Official Eurovision Lemurs Seal of Approval. We whole-heartedly recommend “Occidentali’s Karma” for your listening pleasure.