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17 April 2010

Ray Charles At The Festival Della Canzone Italiana Di Sanremo (1989, 1990, 1995, 1999)

The Festival di Sanremo is an immensely popular event, running yearly since the early fifties in Italy. It's a song contest where singers must sing new songs in Italian, televized by Rai Uno from the Teatro Ariston. Songs are often sung twice, by two different interpreters (singer or band), each one using an individual orchestral arrangement to illustrate the meaning of the festival as a composers' competition, not a singers' competition. The festival has launched the careers of many famous Italian singers, most notably Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, Mietta, Elisa, Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti. Ray performed several times in Sanremo.

In 1989 he guested together with Dee Dee Bridgewater, performing Precious Thing:

I assume that it was during this same show that Ray and Dee Dee also performed O Sole Mio - see the two tiny fragments at 1:00 and at 2:00 in this clip:
   [Clip was removed from YouTube]

Ray performance at the 1990 edition (held from 28 February to 3 March), doing Good Love Gone Bad (Gli Amori in Toto Cutugno's original) was a triumph.

Good Love Gone Bad (first performance 1990):

Good Love Gone Bad (second performance 1990):

Gli Amori (Toto Cutugno 1990):

This clipping from Jet magazine (13 March 1995) shows that Ray came back to Sanremo in 1995. He performed Angelina on February 21.
On 14 November 1999 Ray returned to Sanremo, for the 50th anniversary of the festival, and again performed Good Love Gone Bad. Jean-Michel Bernard conducted (and dated this show in 2000 when he submitted it to Youtube):

In this show Ray also assisted guitarist Alex Britti in a performance of Volare (Nel Blù Dipinto Di Blù), the 'anthem' of the festival (cf. this):

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