Tuesday, August 03, 2010

World Music News Wire #17

The Sexiest Star of Slovenia: Magnificant Magnifico's Hot-Button Pop


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Dressed to the nines in a retro-chic suit, Slovenia's Magnifico (Robert Peut) gyrates with Euro irony and sultry smoothness,backed by a burst of Balkan brass and a chorus of go-go dancers. The bad boy cum hit maker glories in the pleasures of pan-European English, pop culture, and the sillier side of porn, all with a distinctly Slavic wink.

But the inveterate showman and former folk dancer's wry exploration of sex and post-socialist society carries echoes of the dissolution of his erstwhile homeland, Yugoslavia. An "emotional emigrant" who fled the chaos of war and moral collapse by retreating into his own creativity, Magnifico sought asylum in music, a love he discovered decades ago as a young man, when his father bought him his first guitar.

MagnificoAlbumCover His songs, while raising the roof, raise eyebrows and spark debate about everything from xenophobia to homophobia, dominating charts in the former Yugoslavia and Italy. He has crafted songs that unabashedly chant "Magnifico is queer" and parody Slovenes' insults for Southern Slavs, tracks meant to shock, critique, and amuse.

Several generations of fans frequent the singer and actor's flamboyant shows, where they sing along to the provocative lyrics and savor the furious Balkan beats, part of a new culture tempered by conflict and buzzing with vitality. Slovene teens scream at a Magnifico sighting, while local intellectuals chew on his post-modern shape-shifting significance. This is all part of the tongue-in-cheek fun for the actor and songwriter, whose surprisingly grounded life offstage includes a beloved wife and family, and a down-to-earth perspective on his party-hearty repertoire.

Now Magnifico is being unleashed on the world at large with Magnification, in a blast of Balkan- and Roma-scented funk, r&b, and soul... and even a flirtation with cowboys and Mexican-style horns. Tracks hail from Magnifico's latest limited edition Slovenian release, along with several freshly minted songs from the songwriter's ever fertile mind.



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