The San Remo Music Festival

by Mario Fusco

Serena Italiana CD

Serenata Italiana

The most important musical exhibition in Italy is the San Remo Music Festival, known to Italians simply as “il festival”. This is a yearly event in which previously unreleased songs compete. It was launched in the pre-television days of 1951, and has been held without interruptions since that time. Today, of course, it is a major event on RAI1.

San Remo is a little town on the Italian Riviera (Riviera di Ponente), not far from the French border. It is renowned for its flower industry and is a sought-after tourist destination. Notable people from Alfred Nobel to Italo Calvino to well-known members of European nobility have vacationed in San Remo.

The festival, which is supposed to be a competition between composers, has served as a launching platform both for internationally known songs and for the careers of eventually-famous artists. The ubiquitous “Nel Blu dipinto di Blu” (Volare), sung by Domenico Modugno, was the winner in 1958 (Modugno came back the next year to win again with “Ciao, ciao bambina”). Newcomers whose careers took off after their appearances at the festival include Eros Ramazzotti, Laura Pausini, and Andrea Bocelli. The San Remo festival holds a special place in the hearts of Italians, who take their music very seriously. And Italians are justly proud of the fact that their festival was the inspiration for launching the Eurovision Song Contest.

You will not find old classics in the annals of the Festival di San Remo, since all entries must be hitherto-unreleased songs. Nor will you find old regional favorites, or Aunt Carmela’s Favorite Tunes, or Neapolitan songs, or nostalgic mandolins. The latter you can find in the music of Al Fabrizio, whose CD’s can be purchased at http://finestitalian.com/products/miscellaneous/music/. Happy listening!

Bella Serenata

Bella Serenata

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