Fiorello & the Guy Barker International Quintet feat. Jude Law & Matt Damon – “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano” – (1999)

This song was originally written in 1956 by, guess who, Renato Carosone. This is my favorite version of it. It featured Jude Law and Matt Damon singing from the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley (which is an awesome movie). This song was – in a way – very popular during 2010. Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP used it in their hugely popular “We No Speak Americano.” When I think “Italian songs,” I immediately think of “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano.”

Renato Carosone – “Mambo Italiano” – (1954)

Guess what country we’ve moved to this week. Italy! I heard a Frenchwoman say that “the Italians are just like the French – but happy.” And it’s true. There’s just something about being in Italy that makes you happy. I was walking around Venice singing this song – except for whatever reason I was substituting “Janet Napolitano” for “Mambo Italiano.” At the time I had no idea who she was and looked it up later (she’s the Secretary of Homeland Security in the U.S.). It was kind of the theme for Italy while I was there. The album cover to the right is a picture from La Dolce Vita – a film that romanticizes Italy like nothing else. I ate at a gelato shop in Rome called La Dolce Vita (which means: “The Sweet Life”). Also, when I walked past the Trevi Fountain, I wanted to go running through it. Renato Carosone was kind of the king of Italian music throughout the 50s and later. This is probably his best.

Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP – “We No Speak Americano” – (2010)

This week was spent in Belgium with a night in Amsterdam. I don’t know what sort of “Belgian music” I was supposed to have heard, but I didn’t really hear anything. For that sake, I didn’t really hear anything music-wise in Amsterdam either. But what I imagine music in Amsterdam to sound like is house music. Techno. This was one of the biggest songs of 2010 – in Europe especially. It was a #1 hit in both Belgium and the Netherlands – as well as most of the rest of Europe (and South Korea). This song is based on Renato Carosone’s 1956 song “Tu vuo fa l’americano,” which is pretty good in its own right, but it just doesn’t have that house feel that you’d normally expect from a song from the 1950s. Oh, and as it turns out, people in both the Netherlands and Belgium do speak Americano – and quite well.