Three of the best Italian songs – as chosen by an Italian, so don’t blame me haha

I haven’t played or listened to an Italian music for a while, so I asked an Italian friend to nominate his three favourite songs. This is what he came up with:

1. Caruso by the late Lucio Dalla

2. Vivo per lei by Andrea Bocelli (shown here with translations in Romanian, and there is some dispute in the comments on YouTube whether it’s actually Laura Pausini singing with him or someone else).

3. A far l’amore comincia tu  by Raffaella Carra

If anyone would like to nominate their favourite songs in my five Romance languages, please do!

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Sydney says bye to Baila Brazil, hello to Ludovico, Laura and Liana

Here in Sydney at this time of the year we like to think that we are very cultured, and we are probably right. Melburnians might not agree, but that’s another story. January is the month of the Sydney festival, and the harbour city hosts many free events in its parks and other outdoor venues. February (our hottest month) gets pretty festive too. Artists from the northern hemisphere, keen for respite from their horrible winters, flock south like migrating artistic birds.

Recently the city had a Brazilian flavour to it with the arrival of the Baila Brazil dancers:

On February 8 popular Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi will be performing at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. For details, and a chance to listen to some of his music, go here. On February 11 he will be performing at QPAC Concert Hall in Brisbane, and then on the 13th and 14th he will be at the Hamer Hall in Melbourne. Auckland gets a look-in too, on February 18. Details here.

Here he is performing one of my favourite compositions of his, Nuvole Bianche (White Clouds).

And more exciting news: my favourite Italian singer Laura Pausini is finally coming to Australia as part of her greatest hits world tour (she was originally due in mid-2014 but the shows had to be cancelled). She’s on at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne on Friday 13 – tickets can be bought here – and at the Qantas Credit Union Arena (what a ghastly name for a venue) in Sydney on Saturday, February 14. If you want to spend Valentine’s Day night with Laura, tickets can be bought here.

I’ve covered some of her biggest hits in the post Great songs in one language and another (she sometimes sings in other Romance languages), but here is a taste of what to expect, Limpido, a No.1 hit in Italy in 2013 with Australia’s best known singer, Kylie Minogue.

Here is a Italian-French-Spanish version of Io Canto (I Sing)

Meanwhile, the music promoter who brought Leandro to Australia in November is bringing another Portuguese star, Liana, to Wollongong, Sydney, and Melbourne in that order. Once again the profits from these shows will be donated to Cerebral Palsy Australia, for whom the Leandro concerts raised $10,000. You can obtain tickets by contacting the promoter on neves1940@hotmail.com  or calling 0433-775-538.

Liana is the latest in a long line of  fado sensations that include Mariza. She was the star of the most successful musical ever in Portugal, Amália (based on the life and career of Amália Rodrigues), and she is also a one-time lead vocalist with the Portugues-Swedish folk band Stockholm Lisboa Project.

Details of Liana’s concerts are:

  1. Friday, February 6 at the Association Costa Do Sul at 127 Flagstaff Road, Warrawong, Wollongong. Doors open 6.30pm, show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets from $23. Contact the secretary on 4274 3192, or  Joe Alves . 0412-105-302.  by email scpal975@yahoo.com.au. A two-course dinner is available for $20. Tickets for details.
  2. Saturday, February 7, at the Sydney Portugal Community Club, Fraser Park, at 100 Marrickville Road, Marrickville. Tickets including dinner range from $48 to $72. Doors open at 5.30pm, show starts at 6.30pm. Contact the club secretary on 9550-6344 or email cpcc@tpg.com.au. After hours, call 0450-775-538. Bookings must be done by Monday, February 2.
  3. Sunday, February 8, at the Burwood RSL. Doors open at 1pm, show starts at 2pm. Tickets from $17. Contact  Burwood RSL on  8741 2888.
  4. Saturday, February 14, at the Group Cultura and Folclorico, 6-15 Brex Court, Reservoir, Melbourne. Doors open at  5.30pm, show starts at 6.30pm. Tickets from $55, dinner included. Contact 0402 933 997 or 0401 179 187 for details, or email veralisatavares@gmail.com

If you liked the Baila Brazil snippet above, here is a longer clip for you.

 

 

Would you marry an Italian?

pizza-296036_1280The Italian film festival is about to hit Australia. We’ll have more details during the week, but there is bound to be comedy and romance. Italians are meant to be great lovers, aren’t they? Aren’t they? But would you marry an Italian? Think carefully about your choices, haha. To get us in the mood in the build-up to the festival, here’s Romanian chanteuse Elena Gheorghe singing in English about a certain little gigolo who’s driving her crazy. “Oh mamma mia, he’s Italiano, he’s gonna tell me a million lies…”

Elena and Glance (the rapper) have teamed up before and had a huge hit in Romania last year with (Doar Un) Ecou. (Just An) Echo.

Glance also charted this year with Cinema. Give both songs a spin a couple of times and they will grow on you, even if the language seems alien. I really like the drums, keyboards and “whoa whoa oa oa oa whoa” chorus that comes in at the 2:32 mark… (gosh, it seems like I like the bits that don’t involve the main artist himself).

To finish as we started, with an Italian flavour, here’s my favourite Italian song of the moment by Francesco Renga, Il mio giorno più bello nel mondo (My most beautiful day in the world). I’ve chosen a clip with the words so you can karaoke this and with practice natter knowledgeably like an Italian while at the film festival.

To hear more music in these languages, click on the “Italian music, Romanian music” and other “music” tags in the tags panel on my home page.

Music for a Romantic weekend, Part 2, featuring Mariza’s new hit

What’s Bernardo’sMusicMonitor™ been monitoring in the Portuguese and Italian-speaking worlds? Well, there is a lovely new song out by Mariza that is perfect Sunday listening, you can join Italian singer Francesco Renga in having the most beautiful day in the world in Berlin, while his countryman Emis Killa has fun in Rio de Janeiro. Plus check out Brazil’s hottest star of the moment, Anitta, among others. Find out what all the Anglo radio stations are missing out on!

IN EUROPEAN PORTUGUESE

First up is a beautiful new ballad by Mariza, O Tempo Não Para (Time Never Stops), released to coincide with new a Best Of compilation. It’s one of just three songs  in Portuguese songs in Portugal’s top 20. As usual with Mariza, it’s beautifully poetic…

  • Eu sei – I know
  • Que a vida tem pressa – That life goes in a hurry 
  • Que tudo aconteça – That everything happens
  • Sem que a gente peça – Without people asking
  • Eu sei – I know
  • Eu sei – I know
  • Que o tempo não pára – That time never stops
  • O tempo é coisa rara – Time is a rare thing
  • E a gente só repara – And people only notice
  • Quando ele já passou – When it’s already passed
  • Não sei se andei depressa demais – I don’t know if I walked too fast
  • Mas sei, que algum sorriso eu perdi – But I know I missed some smiles
  • Vou pedir ao tempo que me dê mais tempo – I will ask time to give me more time
  • Para olhar para ti – To look at you
  • De agora em diante, não serei distante – From now on, I won’t be far
  • Eu vou estar aqui – I will be here

Also doing well in Portugal is Angolan-born Anselmo Ralph with Unica Mulher (Unique or The Only Woman). Of course, he is huge in Lusaphone countries such as Mozambique and his native Angola.

The other Portuguese language song on the chart, Não Te Quero Mais (I Don’t Want You Anymore) by David Antunes and Vanessa Silva, would appear to be a domestic argument but the best part of breaking up is making up… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS6Nq1rzuzY

IN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE There is no shortage of local acts on the Brazilian charts as listed by top40-charts.com (which despite its name gives only the top 20). This is kind of cute … it’s got an unusual jaunty rhythm and as a bonus there are some knife-throwing scenes in a ruined house in a lush jungle… It’s Cobertor by Anitta and Projota. Cobertor means blanket, the song title coming from the lines Que saudade de você debaixo do meu cobertor (how I miss you under my blanket) You can read the rest of the lyrics to the song here.

Anitta is undoubtedly the hottest thing in Brazilian music at the moment. She burst onto the scene last year and has had a string of No. 1 hits, and even featured in an article in Forbes magazine, which commented on the beautiful and sexy resonance of the Portuguese language and asked if she was a global superstar in the making. But there has been controversy about whether she is doing a Michael Jackson and using skin lightening cream. Here is a live performance of Anitta’s Blá Blá Blá, which is still in the top 10.

Next, just for something different, here is a Portuguese version of Pink’s Just Give Me A Reason sung by Brazilian heartthrob Gusttavo LimaDiz Pra Mim = Tell Me.

IN ITALIAN

Francesco Renga, who won the Sanremo Festival nine years ago, is back in the limelight with this lovely song Il mio giorno più bello nel mondo (My most beautiful day in the world), taken off his chart-topping new album Tempo Reale. This was filmed in Berlin.

Italian singers like to travel. Here’s popular young rapper Emis Killa going to Rio de Janeiro in his song Maracanã. Naturally it has a World Cup football flavour to it.

Last is a recent No.1 in Italy by another former Sanremo winner Marco CartaSplendida Ostinazione (Splendid Obstinacy).

Eurovision 2014: what do Italy and Spain have to offer?

eurovision oddsThere has been heartbreak for 11 contestants at the Eurovision Song Contest, and now it is time to be even more brutal and break 25 more hearts. That’s right, come late on Saturday night, one nation will be rejoicing in triumph, the others will feel deflated. By Monday or Tuesday, though, we will have forgotten all about it and will revert to our normal musical habits. It will be back to the 1980s for Bernardo! But at least we can say Eurovision was fun in the week it lasted.

Before the semi-finals began, the eurovisionodds.com website had made Armenia the favourite with odds of 2.75 to one, closely followed by Sweden on 3.50, then Denmark and Norway a little further back on 10 and 11 respectively. Romania’s Paula Steling & Ovi were on 34, Spain and Italy were 41 to 1, as was Austria’s bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, while France’s TWIN TWIN and Portugal’s Suzy (who did not make it to the final) were further down the list on 101 to 1. Macedonia was last at 226 to 1.

Now, however, as the screen grab to the right shows, there has been a shift in sentiment. Sweden has become the favourite, and the Armenian entry has dropped down to fourth favourite. Conchita Wurst’s beard has shot up the rankings to second spot, but the moustache of the French TWIN TWINs has plunged to 251. Denmark and Norway have dipped significantly, but the UK, Hungary, Ukraine and Greece must have impressed in the semi-finals, as they are now in the top eight. Not that I am suggesting you should bet or take up gambling, it is just to give an idea of who is hot at the moment. And money talks, doesn’t it?

The only signs of the Romance languages in the final will come from Italy and, to a lesser extent, Spain. Neither country had to appear in the semi-final, because they along with France, Germany and the UK (the big five euro broadcasters) automatically qualify for the final. But Spain and Italy appear to have lost favour with the bookmakers.

Let’s have a look at the Italian and Spanish contestants.

Emma Marrone, Italy’s representative, is barely 30 years old yet already she has had a string of hits to her credit in Italy, including a number one album and four chart-topping singles. She is popular in Switzerland too. Her thumping rock/pop entry, La Mia Città (My City), will be a pleasant contrast to all the pop ditties and syrupy ballads at the competition.

Spain’s entry is a mix of Spanish and English. Ruth Lorenzo, who was born in Murcia and also started singing from an early age, was a contestant on the UK’s series The X Factor, in 2008, when she finished fifth. The years in between seem to have been pretty lean, but maybe her powerful Eurovision entry Dancing in the Rain will give her musical career some propulsion. But it does seem bizarre to start off in Spanish then switch to English.

May your Eurovision party rock!

POSTSCRIPT

Why, do you think, has the eurovisionodds website not been able to include the flags of Hungary and Montenegro? Odd, hey.

 

Hot off the WordPress: MPB, holy moly and cupidity in a cone

Add a touch of Romance language romance to your weekend with this musical selection of Brazilian classics and the latest hits in France and Italy, cobbled together from recent interesting blog posts on my WordPress reader. Thanks, bloggers, keep them coming!

  • LIFESTLE – A Brazilian Brazil has unveiled 16 Brazilian Songs You Need to Know. As the author says, to understand Brazilian culture, you must at least be familiar with MPB or Música Popular Brasileira (Brazilian Popular Music). The list includes songs by some of the giants of MPB such as Chico Buarque, Elis Regina, Beth Carvalho, Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben, Zé Ramalho, Marisa Monte, Legião Urbana and Djavan, plus others whose careers, for some reason or another (politics, death), were cut short. Have a Brazilian-themed weekend and play these silky, smooth sensual songs while you are chilling out at home.
  • French music charts keeps me up to date with what is happening on the music scene in that part of the world, and the lists are comprehensive – the top 200 singles and the top 250 albums of the week. I like to scroll through them, looking out for songs in French in particular, to discover new artists or well-established ones that have not been on my mental radar before (my mental radar has been known to be faulty and a few years behind.) Sometimes, depending on your musical taste, the more interesting artists can be found near the bottom of the charts than at the top. Dig deep and you will find some gems. Here is the title track to the number one album in France, Amen by Les Prêtres, France’s very successful equivalent of Ireland’s The Priests. The story of Les Prêtres can be found here and on their official website.

  • Peeking into Italy has been following What’s playing on Italian radios? (April 2014). Included on the 10 featured tracks are Dear Jack, Laura Pausini, Paolo Simoni (nice one!), Vasco Rossi, Giorgia and Ana Tatangelo. There are links to the lyrics too – great for anyone who wants to improve their Italian. Here is one from the list, Logico #1 by Cesare Cremonini. I have chosen it for the good music, the great scenery and its educational linguistic extras – a stream of Facebook dialogue (in Italian, of course) that will be helpful to you should you ever wish to track down that beautiful someone who caught your flirtatious eye on the bus. This clip has a commercial slant, though, being part of the Cornetto Cupidity Love Stories series, but don’t let that put you off. I’m pretty partial to Cornettos myself.

Enjoy your weekend 😀

postscript

An interesting statistic from the French singles chart: Pharrell Williams’ Happy has now broken the record for the most weeks at number one (21), beating Louis Bega’s Mambo N°5 (A Little Bit Of), which had held it for 20 weeks. But as the French music charts blogger notes, “you can notice the evolution in the sales figures between the two: Mambo N°5 (A Little Bit Of) sold over 1.5 million copies, Happy only sold 295,000″. What’s the story here, I wonder? Does it reflect the fact artists sell a lot less nowadays because pirated copies of a song are easily available? Is it that we have such easy access to music (internet radio stations, YouTube clips, etc) that we no longer feel compelled to buy songs? Or is music less important in people’s lives now because of all the mod cons and other distractions around?

The secret habits of surprising Italians

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

I received a bizarre email from Booking.com recently. The subject line was “Here’s a surprising fact about Italians and travel“. But when I opened it, there was nothing about Italians at all, or any other nationalities. There was no editorial to be seen, just the usual Booking.com deals. I felt somewhat Booking.conned. What could it have been? Do Italians pack more toothpaste, condoms, shoes, lipstick, or whatever into their luggage than anyone else? Do they spend the least money at duty frees? Are they the people most likely to miss or hold up a flight? Do they get caught smoking in the aeroplane toilets more than anyone else? Is Italy the best or least represented nation in the mile high club? If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Talking of the bizarre, I found this on YouTube – an Italian singer paying homage to the skies of Ireland. It is Fiorella Mannoia singing Il cielo d’Irlanda. It caught my eye because of the typically Irish scenery used to illustrate the piece, which dates back to 1992. Personally I would have thought Irish skies might be a bit too grey for an Italian’s liking, but if Italians want to wax lyrical about the land of (most of) my ancestors, well, they can go ahead. So here is a scenic tour of Ireland with an Italian guide at the helm…

Fiorella has had an interesting career – apart from singing she has also been a stuntwoman and appeared in Spaghetti Westerns. You can read a typically flamboyant biography of her on the RAI website. To show her versatility, here she is singing something in a very different vein, the sombre Sempre e per sempre (Always and forever).

Chart busters from Italy

I’ve been scouring around the various Italian music chart websites looking for something new and inspiring. There are slim pickings at the moment. For example, of the top 20 songs listed for Italy at at top40-charts.com, only one is in Italian. It is the latest by former Sanremo Festival winner Valerio Scanu, a new entry at number 12. I wonder how much higher it will go.

The most recent winner of the X Factor series in Italy, Michele Bravi, soared to the top spot just before Christmas with this song, but it has fallen off the charts as quickly as it rose.

Finally, well-respected singer Giorgia (her full name is Giorgia Todrani and her biography here makes interesting reading; she too is a former Sanremo winner and throughout her career has teamed up on duets with well-known artists such as Andrea Bocelli and Ronan Keating – is back on the scene with Quando una stella muore (When a star dies).

 

My Top 5: Italian Female Singers (2nd Edition)

I always like to hear what other musical recommendations other people have, so when I am in the mood for Italian. the Calabrisella Mia blog written by “Lulu” is a good source of inspiration. Here are Lulu’s latest top 5 female favourites, but I recommend you go to her blog at http://calabrisellamia.wordpress.com to find out more about Italian singers, actors, films, the language and life in Italy. (She is more hip than I am). Enjoy.

Calabrisella Mia

So, here it is finally.  The 2nd edition to My Top 5:  Italian Female Singers.  My musical preferences change very often and I’m sure there will be more revisions to this top 5 list but for now, here are the Italian female singers I have in constant rotation in iTunes.

The disclaimer is always the same – these are my own personal favourites and I don’t expect everyone to agree with my choices.  In fact, I’d love it if you’d comment with your Top 5 Italian Female Singers.

I hope you enjoy it and maybe discover some new music!

1.  Alessandra Amoroso

Alessandra Amoroso always had a passion for singing.  Since she was very young, she participated in local competitions.  When she was 17 years old, she auditioned for the popular talent show “Amici“, however didn’t make it.  This didn’t hinder her.  In 2008, she auditioned for…

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Anyone fancy a triple Mia Martini?

Here is a little more on the late Italian singer Mia Martini to follow up the post “Hymn, him and her: a bilingual nostalgia trip”. One of her biggest hits was the song Minuetto, from 1973, which she recorded in more than one Romance language. Let’s first check out the original in Italian:

Now let’s savour the Spanish version:

And, voilà, here is the French version…

So, what’s your pick of the above?

There is an excellent documentary titled Storia di una voce (The story of a voice) on Mia and her rather tragic life from Italian broadcaster RAI (via YouTube), which I have posted below.

Even if you don’t know much or any Italian you can understand bits of it. It will also introduce you to more of her songs … and the more I hear of her, the more I like. Her vocal prowess is evident on her 1989 Sanremo Music Festival entry, Almeno Tu Nell’Universo, (You are the universe), for example.

One of the blogs I like and follow is Peeking Into Italy. As the name suggests, it gives some insight into Italian culture, and if you want to discover more Italian music you should read the posts there on great Italian singers. There are also travel tips and language lessons. Its author, alekim25 (aka Michela), is a native speaker of Italian who kindly offered to help with the translation of the lyrics of Inno, which I published in my previous post. So here is the new translation (Grazie, Michela). At the bottom of the lyrics I have pasted a funky, more upbeat live version of the song.

INNO

Cantero se vuoi – ma non credermi – I’ll sing, if you want, but don’t believe me
Stelle nelle tasche piu non ho – I don’t have any more stars in my pockets
E tu – non sai – volare piu – piu – piu in alto – And you can’t fly higher 

Nel viso della sera che nasce – On the face of the night that is born,
Sulla spiaggia coi falo – On the beach with the bonfires

Cantero – per noi – che non siamo piu – I will sing for us, that we are no more
Piu forti – di quel po – di gioventu – stronger of that little youth
Che sta – bruciando dentro e poi – finira – that is burning inside and then will end
Nel viso della sera che nasce –  In the face of the night that is born,
Sulla spiaggia coi falo – On the beach with the bonfires
Dimmi che vuoi – che puoi – darmi felicita -Tell me what you want – that you can – give me happiness
E sotto – la mia pelle nascera – And under my skin will be born
Per te un dolce fiume che – cantera – a sweet river for you that will sing
La mia speranza desser donna – of my hopes of being woman,
E la tua bocca poi lo berra – And then your mouth will drink it
Dimmi che il posto mio non sto per perderlo – Tell me that I am not going to lose my place
Dentro la mia fiaccola tu sei – You are inside my torch
Ma se – non sai bruciare piu – resta ancora – but if you can’t burn anymore, stay longer
Insieme canteremo e legna – We will sing together and we will 
Porteremo al nostro falo – bring wood to our bonfire

Dimmi che vuoi – che puoi – darmi felicita – Tell me that you want – that you can – give me happiness
Apri le tue braccia e se ne andra – Open your arms and it will go (away)
La mia tristezza finalmente sara un esplosione – My sadness will finally be an explosion
Di stelle cadenti sopra i fuochi gia spenti dei falo – of shooting stars over the already extinguished bonfires
Sole no! Non puoi – piu mandarci via – No sun! You can’t turn us away anymore
Rosso stai salendo sempre piu – You (sun) are rising red more and more
Lui sta dormendo il mare sa – quanto amore – He is sleeping, the sea only knows how much love
Mi ha dato e mi dara rubando il viso di una sera – he gave me and will give me, stealing the face of a evening.