The multi-layered transnationalism of Fran Palermo

Mazierska, Ewa Hanna orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4385-8264 and Kránicz, Bence (2017) The multi-layered transnationalism of Fran Palermo. Popular Music History, 10 (3). pp. 241-261. ISSN 1740-7133

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Fran Palermo is an indie band based in Budapest which started performing in 2011, initiallyas a cover band, and has produced over 30 original songs and 2 LPs, Fran Palermo and RazzleDazzle, in 2015 and 2016 respectively, to significant critical acclaim. Its current line-up includeseight musicians, with Henri Gonzalez, a musician of Cuban and Spanish descent, being itsleader. This article considers the transnational character of Fran Palermo’s work in the contextof the history of pop-rock in Hungary and Eastern Europe at large, arguing that it doesnot fit the prevailing narrative of Eastern European music as imitator of a Western idiom. Thelyrics often engage with exotic landscapes, and are populated by tourist-like clichés, yet theway they are juxtaposed suggests that the band does not try to recreate realistically an experienceof travelling to the South, but rather plays with its representations. The large numberof instruments, including a trumpet, two saxophones and a conga, allows for the creation of a rich, eclectic sound. The music betrays a multitude of influences, from Anglo-American rock toSouth American and African music. The study draws on the idea of ‘world music’, understoodas a music produced in the periphery and offered for Western consumption. Our argument isthat Fran Palermo’s music complicates this idea, as it originates from the place which is neitherWest nor a typical East, and it is produced by neither Westerners nor ‘proper’ Easterners, neitheroutsiders nor insiders. We also use the concept of heterotopia to explain the textual characteristicsof Fran Palermo’s music

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