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Fabrizio De André (1940-1999)

Fabrizio De André was born in Genoa on 18 February 1940. His father, an anti-fascist who had taken refuge in the Asti area during the war, had gone back to Genoa with his family in 1945. There, Fabrizio will developed a penchant for poetry, music and theatre, getting to know other future celebrities including Luigi Tenco, Bruno Lauzi, Paolo Villaggio and the producer Aldo Trionfo. He played the guitar and violin at jazz and folk concerts and penned his first ballads, inspired by George Brassens and Medieval troubadour music. His first record was released in 1958. However, his major artistic break was to come several years later when Mina's recording of his "La canzone di Marinella" became a huge hit. In 1962 he married a local Genoa girl called Enrica, who gave him his first son, Cristiano, who is today a singer-songwriter. In 1965 his first collection of ballads was released on an LP. However, 1967 and 68, the years of the student demonstrations, marked a turning point in his career. The Belldisc label published his album Fabrizio De André Volume I. This was followed by Tutti morimmo a stento and Volume II, records which achieved almost cult status. The next few years were enormously successful for him. In 1970, he released La Buona Novella, freely based on the Apocryphal Gospels, followed in 1971 by Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo, a re-interpretation of Edgar Lee Master's famous Spoon River Anthology. In 1973, he made the album Storia di un Impiegato, which questioned the motives behind the student demonstrations, and the following year he paid tribute to his idols (Brassens, Dylan and Cohen) with Canzoni. 1975 was the year of Fabrizio De André Vol.7, on which he collaborated with Francesco De Gregori. It was also the year of his first tour. In the meantime, his plan of moving to the island of Sardinia gradually came to fruition. In 1978 he released the album Rimini, followed in 1979 by a memorable live double album recorded during his tour with PFM. On 28 August of the same year, the most dramatic event of his life took place when he and Dori Ghezzi were kidnapped by Sardinian bandits. This harrowing four-month experience provided the inspiration for a superbly thought-provoking album on the lives of the Sardinian people, released in 1981, simply called "L'Indiano". In 1984 he recorded Crueza de mâ: completely going against current trends, De André combined a highly poetic use of his native Genoese language with the typical folk sonorities of the Mediterranean tradition. In 1988, he married his companion Dori Ghezzi and in 1989 embarked on a partnership with Ivano Fossati, producing such memorable tracks as "Questi posti davanti al mare". In 1990 he released Le nuvole, a huge success and set off on an enormously popular tour. Next came the 1991 live album and a theatre tour in 1992. After a four-year break in1996 he returned to the charts with Anime Salve. In 1997 he released Mi Innamoravo di Tutto, a compilation of some of his favourite older tracks. During 1998 the theatre tour continued, interrupted in the summer for health reasons. On 11th January 1999 Fabrizio De André died in Milan, struck down by an incurable illness. On 13th January over ten thousand people attended his funeral, which was held in Genoa.

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