Zucchero (“Sugar”) is an Italian unicum, one of a kind. They call him the “father of Italian Blues”, and they are absolutely right. Adelmo Fornaciari, which is his birth name, will be celebrating his 61st birthday before he hits those Bulgarian stages.
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 that goal in no time. In the mid-1970s, he went to San Francisco, where he met his future record producer, Corrado Rustici. 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 and 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 San Francisco, 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. While touring, he shared the stage with fellow artists, such as the late Joe Cocker, Ray Charles and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Countless solo albums, tours and a lot of cooperation followed. One nice example for the latter: With the Brazilian hero Sergio Mendes, Zuchero recorded an Italian version of “Oceano”, a composition by Djavan, yet another Brazilian legend. This version was entitled “Un ozeano di silenzi”. Nice. (Mendes also included an English version, without Zucchero, on his album, which was named after Djavan’s “Oceano”).
Zucchero has an issue, when it comes to singing in English: “When I do the English version of a song, I lose something. 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 Whitney Houston”.
His career has been going on for four decades by now. In November, Zucchero will be hitting Bulgarian turf. On November 15th, 2016, he will be performing at the NDK in Sofia. On November 17th, 2016, it will be Ruse, up at the Danube.
By Imanuel Marcus
Zucchero in Sofia, November 15th, 2016. Tickets are available here.