How a 50s Italian Folk Sample reached Dancefloors Worldwide

Made With Tracklib

How a 50s Italian Folk Sample reached Dancefloors Worldwide

Yolanda Be Cool's dance track titled ‘We No Speak Americano’ was an instant global phenomenon back in 2010, reaching the #1 spot in sixteen countries—and a whole lot of pre-TikTok viral dance videos. Finding an Italian sample from the 50s is where it all started. This year, the infinite earworm celebrates its 10th anniversary. With on top of that, a new EP by the Australian duo, on which they use a Tracklib sample out of Brazil.




October 28, 2020

What’s it like that a sampled Italian original from the 50s spearheaded your career to instant international fame back in 2010?

It was pretty surreal. We just wanted to make a fun party song for our DJ sets and were more than stoked when all our DJ peers dug the song and started playing it.

How is it to still hear (and play) the track over and over again, after all this time? Can you still enjoy it, or do you despise the track now?

To be honest, we kinda stopped playing the tune a long time ago. Maybe seven years ago. It took on a life of its own that was pretty far removed from our goals as artists and DJs. When it became a song for cats to dance to… We decided it was time to retire it from our DJ sets.

ybc dcup

So no more “Pa pa l'americano...” for Yolanda Be Cool?

Well, having said that… The song did make a lot of people happy and definitely helped launch our career. We are eternally grateful for that. Truth be told, now ten years down the line, we are actually happy to occasionally play a remix of the song if the time and vibe feels right. And we have an amazing little re-edit and mix pack coming in December. So we definitely haven't completely shut the door on it.

How did the original sample influence your actual production and beat switch-ups in the track?

We are always looking for catchy hooks that we can re-contextualize and put our own take on. The original by Renato Carosone is really quite slow. So it was more just hoping that once we chucked it into Ableton and sped it up, it wouldn't lose the magic. And it didn’t.

renate carosone quintet

You once shared that “conga’s, bongos, old school hip-hop, zombie disco, german saunas, weird people, and coffee” as some of your influences. Let’s save German saunas and zombie disco for another time: old school hip-hop stands out to us here at Tracklib. Can you please name a few examples of sampling from that era that influence your own productions for tracks like ‘We No Speak Americano’ and the new one, ‘Mr. Saindo’?

We used to go to all the clubs in Sydney like Kinselas, Q Bar, and Good Bar in our early days. Where DJs like Cool Hand Luke, Ian Spicer, Stephen Ferris, and DJ Sing would literally play old school hip hop, funk, and soul all-night. We used to love hearing the new mixed with the old, where they would play the original and then, next, play the newer version that would sample it.

Things that come to mind instantly are songs like “Outstanding” by The Gap Band. You would hear the original played one night, then maybe the next night or even later that night you would hear “Da B Side” by Da Brat and The Notorious B.I.G. Or like “Good Times” by Chic. And, of course, “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. Or Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks.” Or “Apache” by The Incredible Bongo Band and then the same-titled track by The Sugarhill Gang... The list goes on and on.

"We are always looking for catchy hooks that we can re-contextualize and put our own take on."

Matthew Handley, Yolanda Be Cool

What was your first response when you found ‘Babylon’ by Alfamor on Tracklib? How have you incorporated it into your production for ‘Mr. Saindo’?

We love everything about Brazil and were looking for some tasty samples to go with an EP we were making for Mele's label Club Bad. ‘Babylon’ just fit so perfectly with the vibe we were going for, so we simply looped it up and built a song around it.

The production is quite heavy and dancefloor-ready. What does the much slower and reggae-like sample add to the track?

It kind of adds the soft touch because the song is like you said—pretty dancefloor-ready. But the vocals are so sweet and soothing that it kinda juxtaposes everything else in the song. Just how we like it.

That’s the thing about sampling… It’s so fun and exciting. Finding rare gems that people haven't heard before, or even old stuff that people may have heard. But then putting your own unique spin on them so they feel new again.


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