Celebrity artist from Italy – Edoardo Bennato
Live in concert at Grandview Park stage on Italian Day
This year, the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver, together with the Italian Day Festival Society, are proud to present one of Italy’s most creative artists and innovative singer-songwriters of his time – Edoardo Bennato, whose music is distinguished in an imaginative blend of blues and rock’ n roll, with folk influences and even opera; and who will be performing live in concert with his 10-piece band on the Grandview Park stage at 4:45pm. It is an opportunity to experience one of Italy’s music icons at this special free outdoor concert – and a first at Italian day and in Vancouver.
One of the largest and most popular community street festivals, Italian Day aims at enhancing not only the contributions of the Italian community to the economic and cultural life of Vancouver and British Columbia, but also at promoting the values and excellence of Italy in the most diverse fields. This year Italian Day on the Drive also received an ‘Official Civic Status’ designation by the City of Vancouver, included in the list of ‘Official Celebrations and Observances’ in Vancouver.
The concert by the well-known Italian singer and song-writer Edoardo Bennato at Italian Day on the Drive is one of the several events that will take place throughout Canada in 2018, supported by a special promotional campaign by the Italian Government.
Through these initiatives, it will be possible to discover not only the traditional aspects of Italian culture – music, food, and in general, the art of living well “Vivere all’Italiana” – already well known by the general public, but also some more specific aspects where the Italian culture has blended with other influences to give birth to new, innovative and creative works of art.
This is the case of Edoardo Bennato, an artist within the tradition of the great story-tellers of the old Italian heritage, whose rock and blues rhythms blend together with the catchy music of popular rhythms to tell us the complex fairy tale of life.
In his songs the irresistible mix of comedy and stories of cunning creatures (“Il Gatto e la Volpe” – the Cat and the Fox from the story of “Pinocchio”) together with a sometime bitter reflection on human condition (“Un giorno credi” – One day you believe) seem to work as a mirror where vices and virtues of the Italian archetype are represented.
No other singer might better represent Italy on the stage in a multicultural gathering such as “Italian Day on the Drive”. In his songs, the funny side of some situations sometimes just conceal more profound and bitter reflections. Nothing is ever as it appears at first sight…
photo credit: Daniele Barraco
Edoardo Bennato, born in Naples, Italy, in July 1946, began his music career in the late Sixties. From the beginning it was his mother who supported him and his brothers, when they were still children, in their talent for music. As a matter of fact, not only did Edoardo become a musician, but also both his brothers Giorgio and Eugenio. The latter came to Vancouver just last year for a concert at the Italian Cultural Centre, on the occasion of the Italian National Day Celebration.
Many Italian critics and musicians define him as one of the most creative and innovative songwriters of his time, a pure rocker. His music distinguished itself for being an imaginative blend of blues and rock and roll, with folk influences and even hints of opera.
In 1970, Bennato’s first two singles, “Marylou” and “1941”, were published. In 1973 “Non farti cadere le braccia” (Don’t Let Your Arms Fall Down), his first album, was published. During this early period, Bennato’s lyrics were characterised by a biting satire and irony, often addressed to the political establishment and to those self-proclaimed as “the good people”.
In 1974, Bennato released another album called “I Buoni e I Cattivi” (The Good and the Bad People), followed only two years later by the album “La Torre di Babele” (The Tower of Babel). In 1977, the artist engaged in a recording that was the synthesis of what he had matured in the previous years: the work “Burattino senza fili” (The Wireless Puppet). This work was based on the story of Pinocchio – an old traditional Italian fairy tale – that helped the author to focus on themes like family relationships, justice and deception in a simple way, within common people’s reach.
In 1980, Edoardo published two albums in just fifteen days: “Uffà, Uffà” (I’m fed up) and “Sono solo Canzonette” (They’re Only Roundelay). The albums remained number One in the national charts for many weeks and managed to sell almost a million copies. “Sono Solo Canzonette” was the album of the famous song inspired by Peter Pan’s “L’isola che non c’è” (Neverland), the soundtrack of a generation.
In 1983, the singer-songwriter published an album inspired by the tale of the “Pifferaio Magico” (Pied Piper), called “E’ arrivato un bastimento”, produced by Garland Jeffreys who mixed the album at New York’s Power Station.
1987, a particularly important year for Bennato, began with the publication of a new album, “O.K. Italia”. This album talked about the apparent thriving period of economic expansion of the country, counterbalanced, according to the author, by a strong crisis of values. At the end of this year the artist performed at the Apollo Theatre in New York, consolidating his fame also internationally.
The love for rock ‘n’ roll distinguished the album published in 1989, “Abbi Dubbi” (Doubt Yourself) whose most famous song is “Viva la mamma”. A few weeks after its first publication, a second album arrived, “Il paese dei balocchi” (The Land of Toys), in which songs like “Se non ci fosse lei” (If she were not there) and “Tutto sbagliato baby” (It’s All wrong, Baby) stand out.
1990 was the year of the FIFA World Cup that took place in Italy and Edoardo, who had always been a football player, was able to live the event as a protagonist. He recorded the soundtrack of the championship, “Un’Estate Italiana” (An Italian Summer), with singer Gianna Nannini. The song remained number one in the hit parade for more than four months and it became well-known all around the world.
In 1995, the tormented album “Le ragazze fanno grandi sogni” (Girls Have Big Dreams) was released: a collection of ten songs, which were a tribute to the female world and to love, which inspires the songs of all time.
The album “Quartetto d’Archi” (String Quartet), published in 1996, was released after several years of live concerts with the string quartet Solis String Quartet. It was a collection of sixteen recorded and rearranged songs that highlighted the artist’s versatility in classical music as well.
In September 2000, “Sembrava Ieri” (It feels like yesterday), the first collection of his greatest hits was published. Thanks to the enormous success of this first collection, a second collection “Afferrare una Stella” (Catching a Star) containing 34 tracks was released in June 2001. In 2003, almost five years after the last studio-recorded album, Bennato published “L’uomo Occidentale” (Western Man).
In 2005 the artist continued with the fairy tale path publishing “La Fantastica Storia del Pifferaio Magico” (The Fantastic Story of the Pied Piper), becoming one of the most beloved artists in Italian history. This album represents the first true example of Italian rock opera.
In May 2006, the single “Notte di Mezza Estate” (Midsummer Night) was released, written together with Alex Britti, another famous Italian singer and songwriter. The single and the tour that followed gained an extraordinary success from both the public and the critics. In November of the same year, after the success of Madrid, Buenos Aires, London and New York, “Peter Pan – the Musical” (from the masterpiece of James Matthew Barrie) arrived in Italy for the first time.
From 2007 to 2009, the artist was engaged full-time in the production of a new record together with the great producer Fabrizio Barbacci. The album “Le Strade del Rock Sono Infinite” (The Streets of Rock are Endless) was released in March 2010.
In the same year the live show “MTV Classic Storytellers”, a recording of the concert at the Officine Meccaniche in Milan, was also published.
In 2013, the artist was involved in a new tour that took him to Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
On October 23, 2015 the album “Pronti a Salpare” (Ready to set sail), characterized by a mix of rock and blues, was released by Universal Music Italia. The album was awarded with the Amnesty International 2015 Italy prize as the best song dedicated to human rights.
In November 2017 a triumphant and completely sold-out tour – in ten different cities – ended with an amazing concert in Naples accompanied by the Flegreo Quartet. The same year the artist produced “Burattino senza fili 2017”, a special edition of the 1977 album with the addition of “Mastro Geppetto”, “Lucignolo”, “Che comico il Grillo parlante” (What a Comedian The Talking Cricket is) and a DVD with historical recordings and a 32-page booklet.
In June 2018 the artist will be the protagonist at the Comacchio Beach Festival (Italy), an event that takes place every year to celebrate the beginning of summer. In that occasion, just before coming to Vancouver, Bennato will present his latest work: “Mastro Geppetto”.