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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 04:14

Italy: The Music of Sanremo Through the Years

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Il Festival della Canzone Italiana, a popular Italian song contest, held annually in the city of Sanremo and it was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest. The first edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, held between 29 and 31 January 1951, was broadcast by RAI's radio station Rete Rossa and its only two participants were Nilla Pizzi and Achille Togliani, supported by Duo Fasano. Starting from 1955 all the editions of the Festival have been broadcast live by the Italian TV station Rai 1. From 1951 to 1976, the Festival took place in the Sanremo Casinò, but starting from 1977, all the following editions were held in Teatro Ariston, except 1990's one, held at the Nuovo Mercato dei Fiori. 

Between 1953 and 1971, except in 1956, each song was sung twice by two different artists, each one using an individual orchestral arrangement, to illustrate the meaning of the festival as a composers' competition, not a singers' competition. During this era of the festival, it was custom that one version of the song was performed by a native Italian artist while the other version was performed by an international guest artist. The festival has been used as the way of choosing the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest from 1956 to 1966, in 1972, 1997, 2011 and 2012. It has also launched the careers of many very famous Italian singers, including Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti and Marco Masini.
Eros Ramazzotti was the one that dominated the ‘New Comers’ winners in the 80’s. The song was called ‘Terra Promessa’, and it was just the very beginning of his great career. Terra Promessa recalled the young generations wishes, ambitions and dreams. Ramazzotti’s most popular songs, apart from this first debut single, are Un Emozione per Sempre, Piu Bella Cosa (dedicated to his ex-wife, Michelle Hunziker), Aurora (dedicated to his first daughter) and perhaps, the duet with Anastacia, I Belong to You. Following his success, the 90’s where rich of upcoming artists. Marco Masini was the first singer that dominated this era of new Italian artists, with the song Disperato. Masini is famous for his ‘nose-voice’, but also for his stong ‘love lyrics. Perhaps, his most famous song (for the title) is Vaffanculo.
One of the songs that I really enjoy listening to is Principessa. He may not be that popular world-wide like Ramazzotti, but his songs are greatly known with the Italians. Masini loves Sanremo and in fact, he participated various times, and managed to win the ‘Big Competition’ in 2004, with the song Il uomo volante. Most of his songs are piano-based and perhaps that’s a plus reason why I like to listen to his songs, because they are really calming and his voice really boasts out. In 1986, he returned to Sanremo and won the Big category with the romantic and very popular song Adesso Tu … which many use it as their first dance song since its lyrics just suit the moment. 1993 was characterized by none other than the exceptional, Laura Pausini.

La Solitudine, her debut winning song, became an Italian standard and an international hit, reaching the top spot on the Italian Musica e Dischi singles chart,  as well as on the Dutch Top 40 and on the Flemish VRT Top 30. Her eponymous debut album was released in Italy on 23 April 1993 and later became an international success, selling two million copies worldwide. Her second studio album, Laura, was released in 1994 and confirmed her international success, selling three million copies worldwide and spawning the hit singles Strani Amori and Gente. In November 1994 she released her first Spanish language album, titled Laura Pausini and composed of ten songs included in her previous works. In recent years, despite taking up motherhood, she has been devoted to her followers and balances family and work well.
Also during that same year, 1993, another popular female artist was present in the New Comers Section which was won by Pausini … Giorgia, with the song ‘E Poi’. In fact, she finished in 7th position. In 1995, she eventually won the ‘Big’ category, singing Come Saprei, and successfully, when sang a duet with Andrea Bocelli entitled Vivo per Lei. 2001 saw the comeback of Giorgia at Sanremo with one of her classical songs, Di Sole e d’Azzurro written by Zucchero. Giorgia’s voice is very jazzy and flowing, and suits jazzy and calm ballads. Andrea Bocelli won the New Comers Category in 1994 with the song Il Mare Calmo della Sera and that was the start of his unstoppable career. His voice is amazing, he gives you goose-bumps with many artists happy at the chance of performing with such a vocal master. The list of Italian artists who emerged from Sanremo is never-ending; Anna Tatangelo, Arisa, Sonohra, Massimo Ranieri, Francesco Renga … and many more which perhaps only made a hit only throughout the year in which they participated in.
Sanremo has really changed nowadays from the 80’s and 90’s and even early 2000. It is surely characterized by artists that participate and come from popular TV shows, like ‘Amici’ and obviously enough, the televoting affects the final results since the public know already that singer already through the tv show and perhaps, the ‘New Comers’ category has lost its real objective … that of giving a new artist to the Italians who adore their music and from there, they start their career, like Ramazzotti or Pausini. In fact, artists like Marco Carta participated immediately in the ‘Big Category’, even though he is quite young compared to the other artists in the competition. This influence nowadays cannot be eliminated, unfortunately or not … it’s the case to say that Sanremo really adapts to the changes, and that it grows according to these changes. After all, this is what makes it such an interesting festival to watch each year! 
Source: FIMI, escflashmalta.com

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 04:50