There are new winds blowing from the south. The three bands Her Skin, Qlowski, and KOKO are traveling all the way from Italy to Hamburg for their joint Showcase at the Reeperbahn Festival. Beyond Italo-pop, the salty ocean breeze, and good tomato sauce, the three bands introduce us to a new and radiant generation versatile indie sounds coming from Italy.

Singing at the Top of Your Lungs with KOKO

KOKO is the artist name of Costanza Delle Rose. The singer and bassist originally caught the eye of the international press with her band Be Forest. With them, she toured internationally from the States, to Mexico, Russia, and Europe. After her formative move to London, the Italian singer started exploring different facets of her creative expression. There she launched her solo project as KOKO. Her debut record Shedding Skin is a testament to her growth as an artist and embraces lo-fi bedroom pop textures alongside refined melodic sensibilities. KOKO will open the La Festa Showcase at Hamburg’s Reeperbahn at 20:30.

For our playlist Costanza selected ten songs that moved her. “It’s always hard to make a list of favorite songs. These are some of which made me feel good and made me feel understood. With some of these I cried with others I danced. I sang these songs at the top of my lungs,” she says. Her songs include classics like Lucio Battisti’s Ancora Tu and Mina’s Credi as well as contemporary rock from Maria Antonietta with Motel. 

Childhood Memories with Her Skin

A different sound comes from Modena. The singer and songwriter Sara Ammendolia introduces the second studio album of her current indie project Her Skin. Out on the 30th of September, I started A Garden is her most personal work to date. The single release of suitable gives a taste of the tender nostalgia-ridden indie pop we are to expect from the upcoming release.

Sara curated her part of the playlist with smooth pop compositions and contemporary RnB tracks like GINEVRA’s CLUB, which she describes as “so moody and dark and sexy and intense”. Other songs carry certain melancholic memories. La rappresentante di lista’s Bora Bora for example reminds the singer of her favorite city in Italy, Bologna. “I used to listen to this song on my way to university every day. It reminds me of train stations, of the hurry, of the countryside passing by while you look out of a train window.

Her versatile selection of music echoes in her sound. Even though her songs are mostly stripped back, Sara writes from a place of musical confidence – the voice of an artist who knows what kind of music she likes and what she doesn’t. One of her first musical favorites from Italy is the band Fast Animals and Slow Kids. Combattere Per L’incertezza’s noisy rock reminds her of her adolescence and that “on some days music saves your soul”.

Italian Music History with Qlowski

The classics are also not missing from the closing act of the La Festa Showcase. The alternative-rock quartet Qlowski included familiar tunes like Solo Tu by Matia Bazar and Amore Disperato by Nada in their part of the playlist curation. Made up of Michele Tellarini, Cecilia Corapi, Lucy Harriet Grace Ludlow, and Christian Billard, the four-piece band releases music out of their London base.

Their debut album Quale Futuro is as existential as the title hints. With gloomy post-punk and the perfect balance between flowery pop, noise rock, and a ‘no-fucks-given’ punk attitude, Qlowski created an intriguing manifest of their unique musical style. Through their surprising collection of songs they gathered for the playlist, they give a taste of “Italy’s heterogenous music background over the past 70s years”. From jazz to pop to electronica, it is a ride worth joining!

Ahead of the showcase with some of the most intruding new talents on the rise, the La Festa playlist gives you a short intro into the Italians you should get to know. Click the link below to give it a spin!

La Festa is organized in collaboration with Italia Music Export, Instituto Italiano di Cultura di Amburgo, and Better Things. RSVP right here.