None other than the Italian Blues and Rock hero Zucchero is scheduled to come to Berlin this fall. His concert will take place on the biggest indoor stage available in the city.
Berlin, February 2nd, 2022. Update: September 3rd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Zucchero is an Italian rarity, one of a kind. They call him the “father of Italian Blues”, and they are absolutely right. Adelmo Fornaciari, which is his birth name, is 66, but he tours as if he was 34. The man is about to hit the stage at Berlin’s Mercedes Benz Arena.
Vet on Stage
Fornaciari was actually going to become a vet. He did pass 39 out of 51 exams, but quit his studies since he wanted to be different from his parents. He reached his goal. In the mid-1970s, he went to San Francisco, where he met his future record producer Corrado Rustici. (Read separate feature ‘Corrado Rustici: The Berlin Neighbor You Didn’t Know You Knew‘) With him, he talked about founding an “atypical Italian project with African American influence”. By the time that decade was over, Zucchero had written several hits for other artists. He also toured with his band ‘Taxi’ into the 1980-s.
His solo career still needed some polishing and success. The song “Donne”, which he recorded with the help of his old pal in California who now lives in Berlin, became an Italian classic. The same applied to “Come il sole all’improvviso”. In 1987, things got crazy, when Zucchero’s album “Blue’s” became the best selling album in Italian history, until he did his next album in 1989, meaning he broke is own record. While touring, he shared the stage with brilliant fellow artists, such as the late Joe Cocker, the late Ray Charles and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
‘More Like Bukowski’
Countless solo albums, tours and a lot of collaborations followed. One nice example for the latter: With the Brazilian master composer, arranger and pianist Sergio Mendes, Zucchero recorded an Italian version of “Puzzle of Hearts” on the album “Oceano”, a composition by Djavan, another Brazilian legend. That stunning version was entitled “Un ozeano di silenzi”.
Zucchero has an issue, when it comes to singing in English: “When I do the English version of a song, I lose something”, he said in an interview. “I would like to find a way to translate my songs from Italian to English better, because my lyrics are very personal and I use a lot of slang, the typical Italian way to say something. When they translate this, you lose the sarcasm or irony. People in England and America only know me for ballads, but my fast songs are very sarcastic. I’m really more like Tom Waits or Charles Bukowski than like Whitney Houston”.
His career has been going on for four decades by now. And, luckily, no end is in sight. A big tour which included Germany was supposed to take place in 2020, but had to be postponed twice twice because of Corona. Earlier this year, it finally happened. Now, on November 15th, 2022, the Italian Blues phenomenon will be back in Berlin.
Related feature: ‘Corrado Rustici: The Berlin Neighbor You Didn’t Know You Knew‘