Friday, October 28, 2011
Flashback Friday: Eros Ramazzotti
Today, Italy's most popular and successful singer Eros Ramazzotti turns 48 years old. I first heard about him in 1988 in my last year in Germany (as an Air Force dependent) but I did not hear his music until 1991, when I was stationed in La Maddalena, Sardinia. I bought the cassette tape of his album In Ogni Senso in the fall of 1991 (twenty years ago, now!) and listened to it a lot in the last two months of the year. In fact, even today, whenever I hear the album, I'm transported back to my first Christmas alone, my first Christmas in Italy. Its not a Christmas album, but in my memory, it certainly evokes Christmas images for me.
I learned from the beautiful Italian front desk ladies at Calabro Hall barracks that the album title In Ogni Senso means "In Every Sense." This phrase is used in every single song on the album, which I thought was brilliant. In fact, this album is probably in my Top Five foreign language albums (behind Indochine's Le Baiser, France Gall's Babacar, and Monte Negro's Bailando Con El Presidente and ahead of Falco's 3). Its truly a great album and one that I have used as background mood music as I eat a special dinner. Would love to try this on a lady when I cook her a meal. The melodies and the Italian language just exudes romantic vibrations. Who wouldn't fall in love with this album playing in the background?
Eros has one of the most unique singing voices I've ever heard (very distinct, like Youssou N'Dour's, who has the most unique singing voice, I think). I don't know much else about him, but he definitely looks Italian. In 1998, his greatest hits CD was released in the U.S., which surprised me. On the disc was a duet with Tina Turner, "Cosas della Vita," which reminded me of the bilingual duet between Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry, "7 Seconds" (in French and English, which was a huge hit with me in 1994). I love the concept of bilingual duets (Eros singing in Italian and Tina Turner singing in English). I wish more international singers would do this! This particular song sounds like it should've been a James Bond theme song and is worlds better than Tina Turner's own "Goldeneye."
While I pretty much like every song on In Ogni Senso, these in particular are my personal favourites: "Dammi la Luna" (I believe it means "Gimme the Moon"), "Canzoni Lontane", and "Cara Prof" ("Dear Professor"). The music video is of his song, "Se Bastasse una Canzone" which is a beautiful ballad.
I wish Eros Ramazzotti had found chart and radio success in the United States. Its one of the worst flaws of our xenophobic culture. When I was in the Navy, so many sailors absolutely REFUSED to listen to any music that was not sung in English because they were afraid that the singer was singing anti-American songs! How's that for brainwashed? It always baffled me, if not angered me. How ignorant to think that foreigners only sing in their native languages because they are singing about anti-American / subversive stuff knowing full well that we won't understand what they are singing about! The reality is that people sing in their native languages and its usually about the same kind of themes and ideas as any song in English. I don't know much Italiano, but I can guarantee that Eros Ramazzotti's songs are mostly about love. You can hear the emotions in his voice. That's what's so brilliant about his music: the somewhat somber melody and his unique vocals add up to incredibly romantic music. This is the CD that I would play the next time I have a romantic dinner with a lady (well, either this or another favourite Italian singer Antonio Venditti).
In case you need an equivalent comparison to a musician you know, I would say that Eros Ramazzotti is Italy's Bryan Adams and Antonio Venditti is Italy's Phil Collins. If you like either of those singers, you should check out the Italian versions. Nothing sounds more beautiful than Italian being sung. It is the most romantic language in the world (yes, even more than French and I say this as a big time Francophile).
Hope you enjoy the taste of Eros' music in the video above. Enjoy it in every sense of your being. This is beautiful pop at its best. Buon compleanno, Signor Ramazzotti!