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'The Master's Voice' The Hidden Gurdjieff in the Music and Art of Franco Battiato

Journal article
Authors Christian Giudice
Published in Aries-Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 55-80
ISSN 1567-9896
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 55-80
Language en
Keywords Franco Battiato, G.I. Gurdjieff, occultism in music, Fourth Way, Arts & Humanities - Other Topics
Subject categories Other Humanities


Occultism has been present in popular music since the 1960s, but genuine occult content has been lacking in chart-topping bands, relegating more serious interactions between esoteric message and music to underground phenomena. An exception to this trend is Franco Battiato, who has sold in excess of three million records, one million of his masterpiece, La Voce del Padrone (The Voice of the Master, 1981), alone. This article analyses Battiato's method of communicating occult lore through coded words, which couch esoteric meaning in exoteric forms of expressions. The article provides a substantial analysis of Battiato's career, including his spiritual research through the works of Sufi masters, Rene Guenon and, especially, the teachings of the Armenian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff. Through a textual analysis of Battiato's lyrics of his most mystical works (1979-1982), I aim to identify the Italian songwriter's hidden references to the works of Gurdjieff and his disciple P.D. Ouspensky, proving that Battiato represents a rare case of a pop musician whose works are informed by occult knowledge, and who wants to communicate this hidden lore to listeners.

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