Thursday, August 7, 2014

MINA in Brazil

Mina is arguably post-World War II Italy's greatest pop singer. Mina has been the most popular Italian performer in the second part of the XX century. No doubt about it. 

Even though Mina was tremendously successful in Italy her greatness could never be properly 'translated' to other countries and languages. It's not that she had not hit outside Italy. Mina was #1 in Germany with 'Heisser sand' in 1962. But it seems like that was a one-off affair. 

Italian acts of all sorts invaded Brazil and most of Latin America circa 1963-1964. But Mina was nowhere to be seen.

Circa 1964, I used to listen to Brazilian hit-parade on the radio every Sunday morning and was flabbergasted by the myriads of new Italian acts like Sergio EndrigoMichele, Gino Paoli, Nico Fidenco, Rita PavoneEdoardo Vianello, Ornella Vanoni, Bobby Solo etc. After listening to so many Italian songs one had a wish to visit Italy and learn the language properly. 

In late 1964, Mina had a medium-sized hit with 'È l'uomo per me' that reached #8 at the Brazilian charts. 'È l'uomo per me' was a cover of Jody Miller's 'He walks like a man' written by Diane Hilderbrand and adapted to Italian by Gaspare Gabriele Abbate & Vito Pallavinici; arranged by Augusto Martelli. This was Mina's only chart entry at the Brazilian Hit Parade while the so-called Italian-music Invasion lasted - roughly from late 1963 through to 1967.  

In mid-1966, TV Tupi in São Paulo started beaming an edited version of 'Studio Uno 1965' on Wednesday nights. That's when I was taken aback by the enormity of Mina's talent. I could not understand why Fermata Records - which pressed Ri-Fi's singles in Brazil - would not release Mina's 'Un anno d'amore' that had been #1 in Italy in 1965 and was featured prominently in the TV show.

I kept on watching 'Studio Uno 1965' until it was pulled out off the air due to a judicial injunction put in a Federal Court against the import of foreign musical TV shows. It claimed that foreign singers shown on video-tapes imported from abroad were taking employment from Brazilian performers. 

I don't know that was right or wrong. I only know that they took 'Studio Uno' off the air and I never saw Mina again. 
Mina's singles in Brazil 

'È l'uomo per me' was Mina's only hit in the 1960s in Brazil.

FB-33-76 - So che non è così / È l'uomo per me (He walks like a man) (Ri-Fi-Fermata) '64
FB-33-84 - Un buco nella sabbia / Se mi compri un gelato (Ri-Fi-Fermata) 1964 
FB-33.97 - Se piangi, se ridi / Più di te (Ri-Fi-Fermata) 1965 

1.102 - Amore di tabacco / Rapsodie (Italdisc-Mocambo) 1965

FB-33.289 - C'è più samba (Tem mais samba) / La voce del silenzio  (PDU-Fermata) 1968
FB-33-295 - La canzone di Marinella / I discorsi (Ri-Fi-Fermata) 1968 
FB-33.305 - Sacumdi sacumdà (Nem vem que não tem) / Zum zum zum  (PDU-Fermata) 1969 
FB-33-410 - Amor mio / Capirò (PDU-Fermata) 1971 

7I 3331 - Parole, parole / Grande, grande, grande (Odeon) 1972
7I 3350 - Eccomi / Domenica sera (Odeon) 1973

'È l'uomo per me' (FB-33-76)
'Un buco nella sabbia' (FB-33-84) had hardly any air-play in 1964, a very competitive year for Italian releases in Brazil. 
'Se piangi, se ridi' (FB-33-97) 1965
'Amore di tabaco' / 'Rapsodie' - 1.102 Mocambo -  1965
'C'è più samba' (Tem mais samba) (FB-33-289) 1968
'C'è più samba' / 'La voce del silencio'
'La canzone di Marinella' (FB-33-295) 1968
'Sacumdi sacumdá' (Nem vem que não tem) FB-22-305 - 1969
'Amor mio' (FB-33-410) 1971.
'Parole, parole' / 'Grande grande grande' - 7I 3331 Odeon - 1972
'Eccomi' / 'Domenica sera' - 7I 3350  Odeon - 1973
12 January 1969 - daily O Estado de Sao Paulo music columnist Carlos Vergueiro reviews Fermata's release of Mina's single 'Sacumdi sacumdá' b/w 'Zum zum zum'; at the same page a note about Milva's attempting against her own life according to ANSA. 

Mina's albums in Brazil 

SLP-9121 - Mina com a orquestra de Tony Vita - Philips-CBD - 1960

FB-99 - Mina -  Ri-Fi-Fermata - 1964 

LP-40.271 -  Rapsodie - Italdisc-Mocambo - 1965

FB-228 - Mina ao vivo - PDU-Fermata - 1968 
FB-268 - Mina - PDU-Fermata - 1970 

SMOFB-470  - Parole parole - EMI-Odeon - 1973 

3-18-404-003 - Mina Sudamerica - Ri-Fi-Continental - 1974

3-20-407-005 - Mina - incluindo 'Una casa in cima al mondo' - Ri-Fi-Continental - 1976 

3-20-407-011 - Mina internazionale - Ri-Fi-Continental - 1976 

144715 - Kyrie - Mina - Epic - 1981

SLP-9121 - Mina com Orquestra de Tony De Vita - 1960 - released by Dutch Philips it is actually the Italian 'Il cielo in un stanza' with a different sleeve.
Mina (FB-99) - Fermata releases the album Mina recorded for Ri-Fi her new record label. Unfortunately Mina was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brazil was under the spell of Italian music in 1964 and not interested in English or Spanish songs. There was no way any of these tracks would be played on the radio... apart from 'E se domani'. 
LP-40.271 - Mocambo-Rozenblit  released this album in late 1965. It is hard to understand why it took so long for them to do so when they had Italdisc's franchising. Repertoire is really good but due to Mocambo's being a 2nd-tier record label it didn't get too much air-play. 

Mina ao vivo - Mina alla Bussola dal vivo (FB-228) - 1968
1968's 'Mina ao vivo' released by PDU- Fermata
FB-268 - 'Mina' aka 'Mina 1970' or 'Com açucar, com afeto' a Brazilian tune written by Chico Buarque featured in the album. This album was actually released in Italy in 1969 as 'Bugiardo più che mai... inconsciente più che mai...' from 'Bugiardo e incosciente' written by Joan Manuel Serrat & Paolo Limiti.

SMOFB-470  - Parole parole - EMI-Odeon - 1973 - This is probably Mina's most successful record in Brazil. 'Parole, parole' played a lot on the radio and the album rendered 2 singles. 

3-18-404-003 - Mina SudAmerica - released by Contiental Discos in 1974. Most of it was recorded in the 1960s. Mina sings mostly in Spanish which is an easier language than Portuguese; even though 'Ninguém me ama' is listed in Portuguese it is actually sung in Spanish and should read 'Nadie me ama'; 'Caminemos' is Heriveldo Martins' 'Caminhemos' sung in Spanish; the only one sung in Portuguese is 'Insensatez'. The best track is undoubtedly 'Uno' where Mina gives her all.

3-20-407-005 - Mina incluindo 'Una casa in cima al mondo' - Ri-Fi-Continental - 1976. Brazilian labels like Fermata and Continental were so clueless they could not even conceive proper titles for Mina's albums. She had 5 albums called simply 'Mina'. This one was at least 10 years overdue! This is 'Mina's Ri-Fi's Greatest Hits'. Side A: 1. Una casa in cima al mondo 2. Nel fondo del mio cuore 3. Mi sei scoppiato dentro il cuore 4. Tu non credi più 5. Un anno d'amore 6. Soli; Side B: 1. Se piangi, se ridi 2. Sono come tu mi vuoi 3. Ora o mai più 4. L'immensità 5. L'ultima occasione 6. Un bacio è troppo poco 

Comments on Mina's albums released in Brazil 

Mina's Album Discography in Brazil is mind-boggling. It is almost unimaginable that record executives could be so blind as to miss so many opportunities to sell... records. In 1960, Dutch record company Philips released 'Mina com Orquestra de Tony de Vita' which is exactly Italdisc's 'Il cielo in una stanza' released a few months before in Italy. Nothing came of it. Brazil was really into its own music around 1960.

Then, circa 1963 things had changed dramatically. While Mina was giving birth to her son Massimiliano in 18 April 1963, there was an invasion of Italian pop music going on in Brazil and South America. 

1964 is the biggest year for Italian music in Latin America, but Mina was nowhere to be seen. 'Città vuota'/'È inutile' had been a double-sided hit for her in Italy in late 1963 but it was never released in Brazil. In May 1964, Mina was #1 in Italy with 'È l'uomo per me' which was (finally) pressed by Fermata do Brasil as a single and had quite a bit of air-play later in the year. 

In the meantime, Mocambo-Rozenblit Records released 'Rapsodie', a collection of hits she had at Italdisc. It had no air-play maybe because Mocambo was an out-of-town label - their offices and factory were situated in Recife-PE.  

1965 was definitely Mina's biggest year in Italy. 'Un anno d'amore', a powerful French ballad covered marvelously by Mina stays at #1 forever in Italy, but Fermata does not release it as a single.

Then, in 1966, TV Tupi, a S.Paulo TV station starts beaming an edited version of 'Studio Uno 1965' every Wednesday night. Suddenly Mina rules the TV waves in Brazil for a few weeks until the programme is banned from being shown due to a judiciary decision made in favour of a group of Brazilian TV employees who claimed a foreign-made TV musical was taking jobs away from them.

While 'Studio Uno' was being shown on Brazilian TV, Mina was suddenly 'discovered' by dumb-struck Brazilians as the greatest thing since sliced-bred. Fermata could have released an album with Mina's greatest hits but they did nothing at all.

By 1967 the tide was changing against Italian music... and by 1968, Anglo-American music started dominating Brazilian charts and that's all she wrote. 

In 1968, against the tide, Fermata releases 'Mina ao vivo' (Mina alla Bussola dal vivo). Too little, too late. 

In 1970, Fermata releases 'Mina 1970' which was Italy's 1969's 'Bugiardo più che mai... inconsciente più che mai...'. 'Non credere' had some air-play in a tsunami of Anglo-American hits. 

In 1972 EMI-Odeon released 'Parole, parole' as a single. It played so much on the radio that they released the album in 1973. This is probably Mina's greatest hit in Brazil ever. 

In 1974, Continental Discos released 'Mina Sudamerica' with Latin American and Brazilian hits recorded earlier in the 1960s by her. I don't know the rationale behind such a release. Well, maybe as Continental got Ri-Fi's back-catalogue it decided to do something about an Italian singer who could also sing the best Latin American evergreens. I guess that's a fairly good reason. 

In 1976, Continental Discos did what Fermata should have done 10 years before while the iron was red-hot: it released 'Mina, contendo 'Una casa in cima al mondo' featuring 12 tracks of the best of Mina's years at Ri-Fi's which for me were her best years ever. Pearls such as 'Soli', 'Un anno d'amore', 'Un bacio è troppo poco' were heard in Brazil for the first time... unless one had imported Mina's original discs from Italy. 1976 was the beginning of the discotheque craze so a 'Mina's Greatest Hits' album was a bit out of place there. But then again, better late than ever! Uffa!!!

Mina's extended-plays in Brazil 

DC 330.028 Philips - Festival de San Remo 66
Una casa in cima al mondo (Donaggio) Mina / Io ti darò di più  - Memo Remigi / Dio, come ti amo - Iva Zanicchi / Adesso si - Remo Remigi

DC 339.005 Philips - Ma pecché (Vian-Fiore) Iva Zanicchi / Se non ci fossi tu (Pallavicini-Tusca) Mina / Sono come tu mi vuoi (Canfora-Amurri-Udo Jürgens) Mina / Tu saiè la verita ( N.D'Alessio-A.Mazzucchi) Iva Zanicchi - 1966 -

EPE-609 PDU-Fermata-1969 -  Vorrei che fosse amore / Caro / Nè come nè perchè / Niente di niente 

EPE-629 PDU-Fermata-1971 - Dominga / Que maravilha / Canto de Ossanha / Tem mais samba

Festival de San Remo 66 - Philips EP DC 330.028 with Mina singing 'Una casa in cima al mondo'.
XIV Festival de Nápoles - Philips EP DC 339.005 with 2 songs by Iva Zanicchi and 2 by Mina.
EPE-609 - PDU-Fermata
EPE-629 PDU-Fermata-1971.

Mina in Brazilian compilation albums 

LPG-46.613 - Die Grosse Star Parade 2 - various German - Mina sings 'Heisser Sand' - Polydor 1963

FB-108 - XV Festival San Remo - various - Mina sings 'Se piangi, se ridi' - Fermata 1965 

Die Grosse Star Parade 2 -  Polydor LPG-46.613 - German Polydor compilation album had: 'Eine Insel für Zwei' (Uma ilha para dois) Connie Francis; 'Afrikaan Beat' Bert Kaempfert; 'Heisser Sand' (Areia quente) Mina; 'Tanz mit mir' (Dance comigo) Peter Alexander; 'Ein Herz, das kann man nicht kaufen' (Um coração que não se compra) Margot Eskens; 'Wann komt das Glück auch zu mir' (Quando a felicidade chega mesmo) Freddy; Zwei kleine Italianer (Dois italianinhos) Blue Capris; 'Und ein Lied klingt durch das Tal' (E uma canção soou no vale) Lolita; 'Ein junges Herz' (Um jovem coração) Peter Kraus among others.

XV Festival San Remo (FB-108) - 1965 


Philips's Argentine pressing of 'Mina con la orquestra de Tony Vita' (P-13930 L) is almost the same as the  one released in Brazil - except for the photo on the cover. Argentinians though translate the song titles into Spanish giving the impression they are rendered in that language which is not the truth. The liner notes say Mina had already been to Buenos Aires in 1960. 

1. Il cielo in una stanza (Un cielo para los dos)
2. Pesci rossi (Peces rojos)
3. Briciole di baci (Pedacitos de besos)
4. Ho paura (Tengo miedo)
5. Personalità (Personalidad)
6. La nonna Magdalena (La abuela Magdalena

1. Coriolandi (Coriandros)
2. Una zebra a pois (A cebra a lunares)
3. Invoco te (Te invoco)
4. Rossetto sul coletto (Rouge sobre el cuello)
5. Serafino Campanaro 
6. Un piccolo raggio di luna (Pequeño rayo de luna

Mina es una hermosa italianita que pisa los véinte años, dinámica y resuelta. Sus denodados esfuerzos para labrarse un camino en la canción popular moderna, la llevaron en forma meteórica al peldaño superior de escalera de la fama. Pasó en pocos años a ser el ídolo de las juventudes italianas, logro al que intenta dar carácter internacional en su primera presentación en Buenos Aires. 

Su presencia en los primeros festivales mundiales de la canción ha sido siempre recibida por renovado entusiasmo y su graciosa figurita ha sido repetidas veces coronada con los laureles del suceso. 

Philips se honra en entregar su primero LP para el 'sello de las estrellas' cuyo exito agregará nuevas glórias a la rutilante estrellita italiana. 

Brazilian Philips used part of this photo as the sleeve of Mina's 1st album released in Brazil in 1960.
even though Mina was not really popular in Brazil, revista Melodias had a section called 'Melodias Italianas' that printed news (and a photo) about Mina's having had given birth to Massimiliano on 18 April 1963. 
Mina at the helm of Studio Uno 1965. 

Mina being kissed by Adriano Celentano in 1961.

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