Not too many bands are named for streets. Even fewer are named for streets that no longer exist. But for Spaccanapoli, even a name is a political act against the gentrification that has changed their hometown of Naples.
The area called "Spaccanapoli," in the center of town, used to be a haven for thieves and prostitutes, but it was razed, and in its place came upscale shopping stores -- one of the many things the band rails against. The five-piece group, which focuses musically on the roots music of the Neapolitan area (most specifically the tarantella rhythm), also sings many of its songs in the local dialect. They came together in 1999 after leaving the distinguished Grupo Operaio el Zizi, a musical collective which had begun in the mid-'70s at the local Alfa Romeo factory following a political split. Violinist Antonio Friaoli, the oldest member of the band, essentially functions as the leader and linchpin, although all the members -- every one of whom grew up in Naples -- have a say, keeping the collective spirit burning. While the band has a very acoustic sound, they haven't been averse to introducing electric guitars and basses, or even using a sampler to get their extremely political messages across behind the lead vocals of Monica Pinto and Marc Colasurdo. At times they utilize traditional lyrics and tunes, but often take things into their own writing hands on their 2000 debut Lost Souls. Following the album's release, they played a number of European music festivals. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi