• Guy in a gorilla suit is actually a reference to 1967 ethological text 'The Naked Ape'. (RAI)Source: RAI
A white guy in a robe singing about nirvana, mantras, and dancing with a gorilla? If you think Italy's Eurovision entry looks like a mockery, you're right. But not in the way you might think.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

11 May 2017 - 11:36 AM  UPDATED 11 May 2017 - 11:41 AM

This year’s Italian Eurovision entry has everyone talking. In addition to being the most viewed Eurovision music video of all time on YouTube – over 110 million views to be precise – it’s also a tongue-in-cheek commentary on how Westerners can misguidedly adopt/appropriate elements of Eastern philosophy.

The song is titled "Occidentali’s Karma” which translates to “Westerners' Karma”.  And singer/songwriter Francesco Gabbani who penned the catchy hit explains the idea came to him after reading the works of esteemed ethologist Desmond Morris.

Morris’s book ‘The Naked Ape’ published in 1967 explains how human beings evolved into a superior species from our chimpanzee and ape ancestors. The book makes a point of highlighting the human species as physiologically, emotionally, and sexually better specimen.  

In fact, the line “La scimmia nuda balla” which means “the naked ape is dancing” is a direct reference to Morris’s book.

Another line in the song, “There’s Buddha in single line/Recreation time for everyone, a moment of glory (ale!)” alludes to how Gabbani believes a lot of the Western world views yoga.

“We do yoga to find a balance between body and mind,” Gabbani tells WiwiBloggs “But if we don’t wear fashionable clothes, then we do not go to yoga classes!” 

The song also makes references to other existential hypocrisies in pop culture like Hamlet’s famous soliloquy with the line "To be or not to be".

Check out the full lyrics below with translations in English.

Yes, this song’s got layers. Just like a lasagne.

 

THE FULL LYRICS

The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast over SBS’s Eurovision weekend - Friday 12 May, Saturday 13 May, and Grand Final Sunday 14 May at 7.30pm on SBS with LIVE early morning broadcasts begin Wednesday 10 May at 5am on SBS.

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