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Eulogy to Pino Daniele: A Great Guitarist and Singer
by Prof. Ernesto Paolozzi
2015-01-21 09:54:39
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 Translated from Italian by Dr. Emanuel Paparella


Pino Daniele (1955-2015)

At the age of 59 Pino Daniele has passed away. He was recognize as one of the major singers and guitarrists on the International stage, for his extraordinary originality and versatility.

He was born in Naples the 19th of March 1955, was a self-taught guitarist, who began with studies of classical guitar and then moved on in the 70s to Blues and Latin Jazz. His music is very much influenced by Neapolitan musical and cultural tradition giving it a unique character made of the fusion between the traditional and the modern that can already be detected in his first album titled “My Land” (1977) followed by “Pino Daniele” (in 1979).

He became popular in 1980 with an album titled “Black by Half” which begins the new Neapolitan song with a melody which is typically Mediterranean. It is followed in 1981 with “Vai Mo” (Go Now). The next year Pino Daniele begins experimenting with a musical form that can be called “International” and is definitely at the avanguard, resulting in “Bella’mbriana” (1982) which initiates a series of collaborations with Alphonso Johnson and Wayne Shorter, and inspired by forgotten Neapolitan traditions and characters.

He rapidly becomes one of the best known Italian musicians in the world: in 1980 he opened up new vistas in the Milanese concert of Bob Marley, with a sound which opens the doors of Cuban theaters and some of the most prestigious jazz festivals and the Olympian theater in Paris.

After the album “Musicante” (1984), another live album cames out titled “Live Sciò,” which have all the charecteristics passages of Pino’s career, among which the registrations of the Montreaux’s Festival, and the concerts in Canada, from the Olympia of Paris to the Arena of Verona. The next year a new album is born, “Ferryboat” (1985) and he meets Ritchie Havens, a Woodstock protagonist, culminating with the creation of a very successful album in Italy: “Common Ground” (1986).

In 1988 sees the sound-track for the film with Massimo Troisi “Le vie del Signore sono finite (the ways of the Lord are finite). He also creates for his friend Massimo music for “Ricomincio da tre” (I begin with Three) and “Pensavo fosse amore  e invece era un calesse” (I thought it was love and instead it was a gig.”


Sunrise in Naples

In subsequent years his music became more complex and refined, inspired by various traditions. What is striking is that he is able to combine Neapolitan, Italian and English as if it were one ancient language, as if it were his native language, devoid of academic and experimental jargon.

But he always remained an artist and a poet. I’d like to remember one memorable verse of the most famous of his songs Napule è: “a voce de’ creature ca saglie chianu chianu e tu sai chen nun si sulo” (the voice of a creature whose volume goes up very slowly and you know that you are not alone). This intuition grasps an aspect of Naples but also a universal sentiment which is characteristic of the poetic.


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