Updated Philly-area radio listings; Italian Festival season

We’d recently updated radio program entries for the hour-long Philly-area shows titled “Viaggio Musicale.” Both shows feature pop music and provide news of interest to the Southeastern Pennsylvania, South New Jersey and Delaware Italian communities. On Sunday afternoons 2 to 3pm, Melissa Cannavo-Marino and Nick Alessandrini host the show on Philadelphia’s 860 AM – WWDB; on Sunday evenings, from 6 to 7pm, Cannavo-Marino produces the program broadcast out of Vineland, NJ’s 92.1, WVLT.

The unofficial start of summer begins next week and Italian-American festivals from Portland, ME to Honolulu are back. Some upcoming events:

May 19-21St Philip Neri Italian Festival
Fort Mill, SC
May 26-29Sons and Daughters of Italy Italian Festival
East Fishkill, NY
May 28La Festa dei Ceri/ Saint Ubaldo Day
Jessup, PA
May 28-30I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival
Santa Barbara, CA
June 3-5Festa Italiana, Kansas City, MO
June 3-5Festa Italiana, Madison, WI
June 512th Annual Italian American Heritage Festival
Media, PA (Philadelphia-area)
June 8 – 12The Feast of St. Anthony
Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY

New PA radio program added:  The Italian Radio Hour

Good start to the year with the January debut of a new Italian radio program in Pittsburgh , “The Italian Radio Hour” with Viviana of Instituto Mondo Italiano and Stefano. The show hosts members of the Italian-American community, as well as from Italy, for chats about everything Italian. The show broadcasts live on Thursday at 5pm on http://www.khbradio.com/ and past episodes are available @ http://www.istitutomondoitaliano.org/the-italian-radio-hour.html.

About Instituto Mondo Italiano:

Founded in 2003 with the goal of welcoming and assisting the Italian community in Pittsburgh, Mondo Italiano has become “the” point of reference for anyone passionate about Italy and the Italian culture. 
Mondo Italiano organizes a variety of different programs such as Italian language classes, art exhibits, concerts, inter-cultural exchanges, cooking demonstrations, trips to Italy, travel presentations and as well as a library full of material in Italian (magazines, books, DVDs, CDs).

In case you missed it: “Quando trovo te”

Here’s a release from a few months back that may gone underappreciated.

Finishing at the back of the pack each night the song was performed at this year’s Festival di Sanremo was Francesco Renga’s “Quando Trovo Te”. The song seemed not well suited for the live Festival setting and found the 2005 Sanremo winner struggling a bit. Translated to “When I find you,” the track was written by Renga and popular songwriters Roberto Casolino (Giusy Ferreri, Marco Mengoni, Annalisa) and Dario Faini, who is also known as Dardust and had a hand in 5 of the entries in this year’s Festival. The song’s sound is reminiscent of Casolino hits, with a sweet pop melody and memorable chorus. There seems to be some uptick in airplay of the single in the months that followed the Festival and a YouTuber posted a remix, perfect for these summer months.

Lyrics and English translation from LyricsTranslate

Italian pop Songs from Disney-Pixar’s Luca

The soundtrack of the latest animated film from Pixar, Luca, features a few legendary singers from the world of Italian pop: Gianni Morandi, Mina, Edoardo Bennato, and Rita Pavone. Morandi enjoyed a nice spike in sales and YouTube hits after being featured in another soundtrack a couple of years, the Oscar-winning “Parasite.” The four noted artists are all still active and, hopefully, all these wonderful songs achieve some new success.

Here are songs featured in “Luca”:

Il gatto e la volpe · Edoardo Bennato (1977, featured in trailer)
Andavo A Cento All’Ora · Gianni Morandi (1962, Morandi’s first hit, age 17)
Fatti mandare dalla mamma a prendere il latte · Gianni Morandi (1962, written by Franco Migliacci)
Tintarella di luna – Mina (1959, Mina’s first hit, also written by Franco Migliacci)
Cittá Vuota – Mina (1964, cover of Gene McDaniels – It’s a Lonely Town)
Viva La Pappa Col Pomodoro – Rita Pavone (1965)

Italy’s Eurovision Wins

This past weekend, Roman rock bank Måneskin, won this year’s Eurovision competition, becoming only the 3rd Italian entry to win the contest. The win gives Italy hosting duties for the 2022 event.

Måneskin had won this year’s Sanremo song festival, which Eurovision was based on, and had been a favorite for the, at times, eccentric contest held this year in Rotterdam after being canceled in 2020. They join as winners from Italy the 16 year-old Gigliola Cinquettii, who took Europe and the world by storm in 1964 with “Non ho l’età,” and fan favorite Toto Cutugno in 1990 with the pro-EU and catchy “Insieme: 1992“, won in Yugoslavia. While Cinquetti’s song had won Sanremo that same year, Toto finished 2nd in that year’s Sanremo contest to I Pooh‘s Uomini Soli with a different song, Gli Amori (song in English at the Festival by Ray Charles). Cutugno was already a loved figure throughout Europe not only for his hit Italian songs but even as a songwriter for French artists like Joe Dassin and Johnny Hallyday, and Latin superstars like Miguel Bosé and Luis Miguel.

Gli anni 80 en Espanol (part 1)

Top Italian pop artists have always dabbled in some Spanish, going all the way back to Domenico Modugno and then in the 70s Nicola di Bari, who became a major star in Latin America after his Sanremo wins and appearance at Eurovision. By singing in Spanish, the potential audience jumps 10x given the number of Spanish speakers in the world compared to Italian so it makes a lot of commercial sense, especially with a large Spanish audience even in the United States; Laura Pausini, Eros, and Nek have all performed to majority Spanish-speaking audiences in the US. Some singers have become even bigger stars with Latin audiences than in their homeland such as Franco Simone.

In the 80s, the list of artists that decided to give Spanish a try is a who’s who of 80s Italian pop including Toto Cutugno, Pupo, and I Ricchi e Poveri – and even Nino D’Angelo got into the act.

Pupo – Cosa Farai / Qué Puedo Hacer
Toto Cutugno – Solo Noi / Solo Tú, Solo Yo
Ricchi e Poveri – Come vorrei / Donde Estarás
Gianni Togni – Luna
Al Bano and Romina Power – Felicità / Felicidad
Nino D’Angelo – Nu jeans e ‘na maglietta / Con jeans y camiseta

Site Updates; Celebrating Casadei

Raoul Casadei, king of liscio, passed away on @ 83 on March 13 from COVID-19 complications. Raoul had taken over the Orchestra Casadei from his uncle Secondo, who composed the popular Romagna Mia, in the 70s and helped popularize the music of Emilia-Romagna all over Italy. His son Mirko took over the Orchestra in 2000.

When ABBA Ruled The World

While many define ABBA as just a guilty pleasure, there’s no disputing they are one of the most successful groups in music history, second in record sales only to the Beatles. Whether it’s their disco hits or ballads, the songs can be incredibly catchy as well as moving and it’s no wonder why their music produced thousands of covers and numerous tribute bands.

In their heyday, ABBA also recorded some of their singles in Spanish while other language versions were done by home artists. In Italy, there were a number of well-done covers performed, in particular by 60s star Anna Maria Ramenghi and the better known Wilma Goich, successful singer from the 60s and a member of the group Vianella with her husband Edoardo Vianello. Many of the songs seem translated by the same songwriter, Rino Ballista.

A YouTuber put together a playlist of Italian covers of ABBA hits and even pre-ABBA tracks of group members.

Branigan Bigazzi connection

One of the popular Italian balcony songs during the pandemic was Umberto Tozzi’s Gloria. This comes after renewed popularity in Laura Branigan’s cover of the Umberto Tozzi-Giancarlo Bigazzi song in the States when the hit became a rally song during the St. Louis Blues championship run last season. On display in the NHL Hall of a Fame is a 45 single of the song since the embrace of the song coincided with the Blues’ season turnaround.

Branigan, who died at age 52 with an undiagnosed brain anueryism, agreed to record the single in 1982 after some push from one of her first album producers, Greg Mathison, who worked keyboards on the original version. Branigan went on to cover 3 other Bigazzi singles. In 1983, “Mama,” also originally by Tozzi, was released with English lyrics by Diane Warren, who had her first songwriting hit with Branigan on “Solitaire” from the same album.

A year later, Branigan’s version of Tozzi’s “Ti Amo,” was released and while it had only minor success in the US, it hit the top 10 in both Australia and Canada, countries with a larger population of newer Italian immigration.

The other Bigazzi single was “Self Control, written with Raf, who also sang the song in English in the original version. In some parts of Europe, the two singles hit the charts simultaneously while Branigan’s version is the only one known outside of Europe.

Italy wasn’t the only European country Branigan plucked new singles from – “Solitaire” was initially a popular French single and “Deep in the Dark” was an English cover of the popular 80s German worldwide hit “Der Kommissar.”

Zucchero D.O.C. World Tour COMING to north america

The “Father of Italian Blues” returns to the US and Canada with a typical busy lineup of dates beginning April 17 in the Los Angeles area and performing almost daily until May 8th in Miami.

17 April – Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA
18 April – The Magnolia PAC, El Cajon, CA
19 April – Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco, CA
21 April – Revolution Hall, Portland, OR
22 April – Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
23 April – Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, AMS Student Nest, Vancouver, BC
25 April – Beacon Theater, New York City
26 April – FallsView Casino Resort, Niagara Falls (Canada)
27 April – L’Olympia, Montreal, QC
29 April – Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL
1 May – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City, NJ
2 May – Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
3 May – Foxwoods Casino – Fox Theatre, Mashantucket, CT
5 May – The Howard Theatre, Washington DC
7 May – Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL
8 May – Olympia Theater, Miami, FL

The legendary singer-songwriter has sold 60 million albums worldwide and begins his latest world tour this spring to support his latest album D.O.C. He is entering his 50th year in the music business and during that time, he has collaborated with music greats such as Miles Davis, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bono, Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Queen, and Andrea Bocelli, who he discovered performing in a piano bar. Here’s an interesting, fun interview with Zucchero from NPR, done during his last tour in the States:

Promotional Codes

As a special offer, discount codes are available for the Los Angeles and San Diego shows:

Use “IIDC” for Los Angeles area tickets and “Italian” for San Diego for 15% off.