Friday, July 10, 2009

Maramao perche' sei morto?

Yes, Maramao. Why did you die?

He was a cat who had everything an Italian, feline or otherwise, could want from life. Plenty of bread and wine, fresh veggies from the garden, his own home. And perhaps most importantly: the attentions of numerous kitties of the opposite sex, who now lament his passing from the rooftops.

This is the most famous song of the Trio Lescano, who modelled themselves after girl groups such as the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters. I had always heard about them from my mother, who was born and raised in Fascist Italy. She referred mockingly to her three younger sisters, who stuck together, as the Trio Lescano.

But I never knew until recently, courtesy of the Internet, that the three were actually Dutch Jewish girls whose real surname was Leschan. Americanized and Jewish as they were, they predictably and depressingly came to grief around 1943, as the war heated up and anti-Semitism gained strength in Italy. They were jailed and stripped of their newly-acquired Italian citizenship. They finally left for South America.

An Italian site, found here, is dedicated to them.