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LA PELLE NERA
For Connoisseurs of Soul : How it all began
Northern Soul in Southern Europe ? Why not, considering that music
is the fastest and most telling media throughout the Planet. And why the hell not when the
word is spreading from Milan, home of the football clubs A. C. and Ronaldos Inter,
not to forget the Literature Nobel Prize winner, Dario Fo. And, most of all, a city much
considered as the "Italian Manchester", or "the" northern city
Well, "LA PELLE NERA" (the "black skin", literally) is a magazine
absolutely devoted to Northern Soul, 60s Rhythm n blues and
Afro-American culture. It has just reached its fourth issue (one each season), but around
it a crew of contributors and DJs has already gathered and are starting a Soul Club.
Absolutely the first in the weakish Milanese scene.
Like in most novels, it all began in a dark and freezing winters night. An idea came to
Stefano Oggiano during the 1996 Christmas holidays. A blazing Soul fan, Stefano decided
not to let himself be buried in by the snow, boredom and nothing to do. Somewhere in
Milan, there must be some other northern stompers, living on their own and pissed off as
well! So, he collected a couple of A4 sheets, packed em with articles, translations
.et voilą, the first issue was made up. Now he needed a headline, but not
for long. He borrowed it from an Italian 60s popular tune by Leo Ferrč, who
complained in his "Pelle Nera" about having a better voice than James Brown or
Wilson Pickett, but not being as famous because of his pale skin: "Thats why I
want a Black Skin
..".(Actually, his singing was pretty soulful).
I have to let you know dear NIGHT OWL visitors from around the Globe, that the 80s
and the 90s have been hard times for Spaghetti Soul Fans. Not many chances, apart
from Porretta Soul Festival (mostly original Stax artists), or Blues Brothers and
Commitmentss crap-like bands. Even in Milan, loud shouts of joy and praises were
rarely heard at the occasional American R&B gigs. Very seldom local mods and rude boys
set up a venue, but no allnighters, no vinyl circuit, no press. Just two rock-mags,
"Jamboree" and "Buscadero", that regularly give hospitality to us soul
orphans. The one and only Torch lighting the darkness has been carried by the boys in the
long-established Black Trefoil Soul Club of Genoa (Another Northern City
Therefore no wonder that Paolo, then Claudio Michele and others found themselves sticking
together around Stefanos "La Pelle Nera" magazine. We put together a
couple of "experimental" soul nights. In June we had opportunity to provide the
Milan Eurolambretta 97 meeting with a proper soundtrack. We faithfully put together
an open-air event in a Lambro park disco, near the old Innocenti works. Lammie lovers and
mods came from all over Europe, and even as far away as California. They merged with local
clubs to make this the biggest allnighter wed ever seen!
We hit it. And when you know you are on the right track, as Billy Butler said, 'things
came easy'. After that, "La Pelle Nera" Soul Club is getting more and more
members. We are now hosting regular Soul, R&B and Jazz parties in Milan and the local
towns, plus "Soul Machine" a weekly program in an independent radio network,
"Radio Onda DUrto" ("Crash-Wave Broadcast!"). Shortly before
last Christmas, on Dec. The 20th, weve organized the first allnighter run in Milan
ever, where we met with many friends from other towns, whom wed like to thank
New year, New Goals. At present, we are working on the groovy thing to get as many people
as possible involved, also crossing the usual scene limits, in order to increase the
present number of Soul lovers and Pelle Nera regular readers.
Thats why well start hosting parties in squats too and some DJing at live gigs
in the Northern Soul-area (Blues, Ska, Reggae and Similar). Another point we believe is
very important is to get more in touch with British and European Soulies, by mail or
through a Web page. Time and money will tell.
By the way "La Pelle Nera"! Its 4th issue is a really good and extensive read.
Written in Italian, contains articles about the Black Trefoil Soul Club story, 60s
Flamingo Club scene, various news about the latest CDs and sevens, the first of a series
of Motown anecdotes and gossips, a retrospective on Philly Sound plus Northern Soul Fever
Dear reader, if you want to make yourself known in Italy, or advertise your fine, soul
club, if you want to contribute to La Pelle Nera, or youre just curious, please send
Michele an E-mail at : firstname.lastname@example.org
You Can also write to Stefano Oggiano, via Cosimo del fante 15, 20122 MILANO Italy; or
Paolo Sormani, Via Carmagnola 8, 20159 MILANO Italy. La Pelle Nera costs 4.000 lire, 2
pounds or 4 dollars p&p included for Eec. All we need is Smart people!
And of course keep holdin on
Them wer' days.
The first time.
Irish & exclusive.
My soul story.
UK to LA.
Keeping the faith.
A Great Crowd.
Oldie now Newie.
The Right Direction.
La Pella Nera.
My 80's Scene.
30 Years of Soul.
Cheshire Soul Club.
Man in Black.
Time's a Wasting.
A Northern CV.
Plain & Simple.