International and Italian Reggae as a Tool of Counter-narrative: Songs and Lyrics on the Colonial Experience in Ethiopia


  • Renato Tomei University for Foreigners of Perugia



This contribution addresses the role of popular music as an effective tool of counter-narrative, a significant yet scarcely investigated issue in the context of post-colonial studies. The main objective is to shed light on the musical production addressing the historical events related to the Italian invasion and occupation of Ethiopia (1935-1941), describing how, besides the propaganda songs of the Fascist regime, there is a large alternative repertoire of contemporary music, mainly pertaining to the Reggae genre.
While historical studies have focused on the reconstruction of dynamics and events, the artistic and musical production deserves further investigation, in particular for what concerns the voice of the Italian artists in response to the colonial policies of their nation.
The contribution provides the analysis of a selection of song lyrics by international (J. Miller, Culture, The Rastafarians, Barry Issac, Damian Marley, Sizzla, Midnite, Starkey Banton, Soulmedic, The Informative History Man) and Italian (Alborosie, Dan-I, Jahmento, Magadog, Babaman, Ras Caleb, Hobo, Ras Tewelde) Reggae artists, highlighting historiographical elements challenging the fascist narrative and the dominant discursive dynamics that erase or minimize historical colonial crimes.