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The great Italian pop music, Fabrizio De André

You say Fabrizio De André, and you think Bocca di rosa, or Don Raffaè, or that sleepy fisherman in the shadow of the last sun or even in Genoa that is the background to his stories sung. Or to his beloved Sardinia, where he had chosen to live, where he was kidnapped and where he returned to live because as he said about that land: “I feel more peasant than musician.

This is my port, my point of arrival. Here I want to live, to become old”. His exceptional discography, never banal, enriched by endless musical research, texts contaminated by dialects, with the constant awareness of the importance of the single word, told Italy for just under forty years. His unwillingness to homologate, calling himself an anarchist, attracted the attention of the secret services, but de André was against every war and the revolution did it by singing. 

Fabrizio de Andrè said Faber thanks to the name given to him by his friend Paolo Villaggio, is still considered among the most influential characters in the Italian light music scene, with him we begin to tell the main songwriters who have marked the Italian pop music in recent decades. 

De André was a cultured man, unconventional, introverted but always ready for confrontation, which was characterized by its proximity to ordinary people indeed, to those weaker to whom he often dedicated his texts and remained always far from the commercial logic of show business, establishing himself as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

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Fabrizio De André: childhood and youth 

Faber was born on February 18, 1940 in Genoa to a modest family but seems to have noble origins. From an early age, in elementary and middle schools, he was noted for his nonconformist prerogative: he did not get along with teachers unlike his classmates with whom he was always very kind. 

One of his high school teachers remembers him as a transgressive, extroverted, intelligent but different boy with the strange habit of leaving homework in the middle. 

At only 18 years old, Fabrizio De André leaves his parents’ home, also because of the conflicting relationship he had with his father and, immediately after graduation, begins to attend some courses of Medicine and other Letters at the University of Genoa and then enroll in the faculty of Law, inspired both by his friend Paolo Villaggio, both by his older brother Mauro, already close to graduation to become a lawyer. 

Only six exams are missing at the end of his studies in law when Fabrizio De André decides to close with the university and take another path, that of music. 

Faber had his first encounter with music when his parents wanted him to learn the violin, which he did not appreciate; then, when his mother gave him his first guitar. But the real turning point for Fabrizio was listening to Georges Brassens, thanks to a record received as a gift from his father, of which in the future he will translate some songs by inserting them in his first single-rpm record.

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Fabrizio De André: love and weddings 

Fabrizio De André married twice: the first time he married in 1962 with Enrica Rignon, known as Puny, and together they had a son, Cristiano. The professional crisis that affected Faber in the early 1970s was also personal, in fact the two officially divorced in 1975. 

Between one marriage and another, Fabrizio had a love affair with a younger girl, Roberta: the story lasted a short time and dedicated to her the song June ’73. According to the singer himself, It was this brief report that also inspired the writing of the famous song They Will Come to Ask You about Our Love. 

But the only woman he loved after his first wife was the one who remained close to him until the last day, Dori Ghezzi. The two met in 1974 and the passion overwhelmed them immediately: in 1977 from their love was born Luisa Vittoria, known as Luvi De André. 

Fabrizio and Dori were married in 1989, after 15 years of engagement, in Tempio Pausania, Sardinia.

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The seizure De André 

Love, passion, a daughter but also the tremendous experience of a kidnapping: Fabrizio De André and Dori Ghezzi were united by many events. 

The two were kidnapped on August 27, 1979, in Sardinia, at the estate that the two had purchased three years before, in the heart of Gallura. It was about 11 pm when, after a family dinner, the two were about to go to sleep: the daughter, fortunately, had left with her maternal grandparents to spend a few days with them. 

The bandits raided the estate and dragged the couple away: during the kidnapping Dori and Fabrizio were always treated well by their jailers, one of whom, in particular, was so educated and kind that Faber had nicknamed him “The Lawyer”. 

After 117 days of negotiations, Dori was freed on December 20, 1979, and Fabrizio on December 21. 

This experience managed to unite the couple even more and had an influence on the artistic production of Fabrizio De André who dedicated the song Hotel Supramonte, the album L’Indiano.

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Musical history of Fabrizio De André 

In 1954 Fabrizio received his first guitar as a gift from his mother and began taking lessons from a Colombian teacher, Alex Giraldo. The following year he took part in a show for the first time: it is a charitable initiative in the Teatro Carlo Felice. From then on, he will begin his performances within the group “The Crazy Cowboy and Sheriff One” as a guitarist and banjo player. 

In 1960, after the musical influences of Brassens and the discovery of Jazz, Fabrizio De André wrote his first song: La Ballata del Miché, together with Celia Petracchi and in 1961 he signed a contract with the record label Karim and released his first single, Baroque Clouds – And it was Night. 

After the marriage with Puny and the arrival of his son Cristiano, Fabrizio worked as an administrative director in his father’s institutes but never stopped devoting himself to his music: In these years he wrote some milestones of Italian pop music such as La Guerra di Piero and La Canzone di Marinella. 

His collaboration with Karim continued fruitfully although, in 1967, the songwriter and the label were sued because of the song Carlo Martello returns from the Battle of Poitiers, considered “obscene”.

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The following year, for the musical career of Fabrizio De André comes a turning point thanks to Mina who plays La Canzone di Marinella a “Canzonissima”. From here on, the artistic production of Faber continues to give the public songs committed and unique in their kind that mark the history of the Italian songwriter; Fabrizio will also found his record label, together with his wife Dori Ghezzi, in 1997 named “Clouds”. 

Shortly before his departure, Faber ended his last tour, on August 13, 1998 and in the same year he shot the live at the Teatro Brancaccio in Rome. 

Fabrizio De André disappeared a few months later, on 11 January 1999, in Milan. 

More than twenty years after his death, Fabrizio De André continues to live in the memories of his affections and in the esteem of his listeners, in the dedications that are read on the walls of Genoa and in the tributes in his honor scattered throughout Italy where his music and his lyrics continue to play and live.

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