Great Italians of the Past: Fabrizio De André
- WTI Magazine #132 Oct 24, 2020
Fabrizio De Andrè was born in Genoa in 1940 and his words were right at that time as they are now.
“La Guerra di Piero” is one of the most famous song of the Italian singer, also known as “The Poet of the Music”. Opening this article with this verse sounds like a call. We are all living a tough time and it is, indeed, a sort of World War. I think it is very important to remember for what we are fighting for, also in our daily routine.
Fabrizio De Andrè was an excellent performer and a great composer; the way in which he put his own words in music is unforgettable and still current. We are all fighting for something, but what is really important in our life? His words make us think about the tragedy of the war, of course, but they also are a way to move our attention back to life. This makes him not just a great artist, but an extremely current poet.
His songs are more like tales; he touched hearts and souls of listeners. He had something to tell that never goes out of fashion and this is how he gained the respect and love of the Italian public.
He was one of the first Italian performers to integrate his songs with musical influences from different ethnic backgrounds, including those of Native Americans.
His first musical hit came in 1965 when Mina, another popular, talented and beautiful Italian singer recorded a best-selling version of his ''Canzone di Marinella”. Best-selling albums followed, weaving De Andre's compelling lyrics and his multifaceted musical vision into songs that gave voice to the anger of his generation.
Eclectic in his choice of subjects, from big-hearted prostitutes to disaffected civil servants, his music reflected a wide range of influences.
In his private life, De André was married to another singer, Dori Ghezzi, whose beauty and candor hit the hearts of many Italians. André and Ghezzi were kidnapped in the summer of 1979 in Sardinia by political extremists and held hostages for more than three months. They were released after a ransom was paid, just a few days before Christmas.
De Andre’ and Ghezzi had one daughter, Luvi, while a son – Cristiano – came from Fabrizio’s first marriage.
Cancer took him and his incredible talent away 21 years ago, at the age of 58. He died repeating a few words of a never-released song.
“Fermati Piero, fermati adesso
lascia che il vento ti passi un po’ addosso
dei morti in battaglia ti porti la voce
chi diede la vita ebbe in cambio una croce”
“Stop your steps, Peter, stop now!
Allow the wind to fondle your body
Of the fallen in battle you bear the voice
who gave its life in exchange a cross
(from “La Guerra di Piero” – Piero’s war)