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25 march 1940

Anna Maria Mazzini was born to a working class family in Busto Arsizio. She grew up in Cremona, as her family moved there to find a job. The young Anna Maria listened to a lot of American rock 'n roll and jazz records. While on summer holiday in Versilia, on 8 August 1958 Mina gave an improvised performance to amuse her family after a concert by Marino Barreto Jr. at La Bussola, a night club in Marina di Pietrasanta with the song 'Un'anima tra le mani'. In September her book keeper studies were interrupted by dedicating herself to rock 'n roll and jazz. She joined her brother Alfredo's band the Happy Boys. Her first concert in September 1958, before an audience of 2,500 people at the Theatre of Rivarolo del Re, gained enthusiastic approval by the local critics. Davide Matalon, the owner of the small record company Italdisc, released her first single 'Non partir'/'Malattia' under the stage name Mina. Simultaneously 'Be Bop A Lula'/'When' was issued under the name 'Baby Gate' for international audience.

In 1960, Mina took part in the Italian Song Festival in Sanremo with the Gino Paoli song 'Il cielo in una stanza' ('The sky in a room'). After her San Remo appearance in 1961 was a dissappointment, Mina declared withdrawal from performing at the Italian Song Festival in Sanremo again. Meanwhile her singles 'Moliendo Cafe' and 'Renato' ruled the radio. In 1963 Mina's tv and radio career was abrupted by Radiotelevisione Italiana, as she refused to cover her relationship with and pregnancy from the married actor Corrado Pani. In 1966 she was hooked up with composer Ennio Morricone for the single ‘Se telefonando’ which would become one of her biggest hits in the sixties.

In 1966, Mina started to co-operate with the Swiss Broadcasting Service and Orchestra Radiosa in Lugano. In collaboration with her father, she founded their independent record label, PDU. The first record under the label was 'Dedicato a mio padre'. At the time Mina was under manic attention of the press at the artist's private life. The song ‘Sono, come tu mi vuoi’ ('I am, as you want me to be') reports about that experience. At the time Mina also became a regular on tv with her own musical shows under the title 'Canzonissima'.

In 1969 Mina started to work with songwriter Mogol which resulted in the song ‘Non credere’. This lead to cooperation with Mogol and his fellow composer Lucio Battisti. The team produced a set of songs including ‘Io e te da soli’, ‘Insieme’, ‘Amor mio’, and ‘Io vivrò senza te’. In the end the material provided by Mogol-Battisti was the core for five of Mina's albums. 'Bugiardo più che mai...più incosciente che mai...' was Mina's first independent album at the weekly #1 of the Italian charts.

In 1972 Mina returned to TV with the variety series Teatro 10. After the Teatro 10 series, Mina declared retirement from public appearances, due to take place after an exclusive concert at La Bussola club on September 16. This turned up thousands of people at the nightclub's doorstep. About 2,000 spectators struggled their way inside, leaving thousands to listen at the street and at the beach.The concert was recorded and later published as 'Dalla Bussola'.

Mina's last live tv appearance was the final episode of the Milleluci series, on 16 March 1974. Alongside Raffaella Carrà, Mina was the hostess of the series. With 'Non gioco più' ('The game is over'), a blues duet with harmonica player Toots Thielemans, Mina announced her withdrawal from public performances. Her last concert appearances were in 1978 with a series of thirteen fully-booked concerts at La Bussola broken off due to her illness. Mina gave her last public performance on 23 August 1978 at the Bussoladomani theatre. She never commented the reasons for her withdrawal but it is said she did not want to become old, fat and ugly in front of her audience.

This might also explain the fact that Mina has not appeared in any recognisable way on her album covers since the beginning of the seventies. With the art work of her albums Mina created a unique line of images in which she is pictured in many strange, colourful, funy, extreme, grotesque way. Always immediately recognisable as Mina, but never showing her true features. Her album covers became an expression of art themselves.

Mina continued to release albums on a yearly basis, with her son Massimiliano Pani as producer. In 1998 she released a duet album together with old friend Adriano Celentano. The album, 'Mina - Celentano' became a hughe hit and helped Celentano to get his declining career back on track. Mina always experimented on her albums, but in the new millennium she recorded an extremely wide variety of music styles, ranging from old religious songs (Dalla Terra - 2000) to reinterpretations from songs from Modugno ('Sconcerto - 2001) and Sinatra (L'allieva - 2006).

The absence lasted until 2001, when Mina released footage of her recording sessions for the album 'Sconcerto'. The footage was released as the dvd 'Mina in Studio'. In recent years, Mina wrote a weekly column on the front page of La Stampa and a page in the Italian edition of the magazine Vanity Fair, answering to fanletters. In 2008 she celebrated the 50th anniversary of her singing career.

On the web:

- official website: http://www.minamazzini.it

What do we think:

PR: If you are looking for a diva in Eurpean pop music, you have found her. Mina has every aspect a diva should have... and than some more! The larger-than-human image she created of herself (look at her albums art work!), the mysticism around her persona, it all contributes to the devine being she has become. Let's forget the image and focus on her music. She has been an extremely succesful recording artist for five decades. She recorded songs from an extremely wide range of composers (from Sinatra to Battisti, but also Michael Jackson and George Michael!). The combination of her good vision and musical taste, her talent of surrounding herself with the best musicians and producers in the country and - last but not least - her extraordinary voice makes her one of Italy's - and Europe's - most interesting artists ever.

DB: Italy's very own music machine. Mina's delivers an album a year (at least) and been doing so since 1965. There must be a bad record among them. In fact almost anything you buy of Mina is great. Ok, her endless string of double albums in the eighties and nineties show a bit of a lack to kill her darlings. But even on the lesser albums there are always two or three great songs. And that voice...!!! You can make the smurf song sound credible with that voice. She hadn't tried it though so you can relax. In the recommended list we have listed some of her best of the best of the best albums. Without cutting the others short, these are briliant from start to finish.

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:


Recommended albums:

♪♪♪♪ - Cinquemilaquarantatre - 1972

♪♪♪♪♪ - Dalla Bussola - 1972

♪♪♪♪♪ - Frutta e verdura - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Amanti di valore - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Mina® - 1974

♪♪♪♪ - Minacantalucio - 1975

♪♪♪ - Kyrie - 1980

♪♪♪ - Olio - 1999

♪♪♪♪♪ - Veleno - 2002

♪♪♪♪ - Bau - 2006

♪♪♪ - Sulla tua bocca lo diro - 2009

♪♪♪♪♪ - Facile - 2009

♪♪♪ - Caramella - 2010

♪♪♪♪ - Piccolino - 2011

♪♪♪ - Selfie - 2014

♪♪♪♪ - Le migliori (w Celentano) - 2016

Further listening:

Studio Uno - 1965; Mina interpretata da Mina - 1965; Mina & Gaber: un'ora con loro - 1965; Studio Uno 66 - 1966; Mina 2 - 1966; Sabato sera - 1967; Studio Uno '67 - 1967; Dedicato a mio padre - 1967; Mina alla Bussola dal vivo - 1968; Le più belle canzoni italiane interpretate da Mina - 1968; Canzonissima '68 - 1968; I discorsi - 1969; Incontro con Mina - 1969; Bugiardo più che mai...più - 1969; Ncosciente che mai... - 1969; Mina canta o Brasil - 1970; Quando tu mi spiavi in cima a un batticuore - 1970; Mina - 1971; Altro - 1972; Baby Gate - 1974; La Mina - 1975; Singolare - 1976; Plurale - 1976; Mina quasi Jannacci - 1977; Mina con bignè - 1977;Mina live '78 - 1978; Attila - 1979; Salomè - 1981; Italiana - 1982; Catene - 1984; Finalmente ho conosciuto il conte Dracula... - 1985; Si, buana - 1986; Rane supreme - 1987; Oggi ti amo di più - 1988; Ridi pagliaccio - 1988; Uiallalla - 1989; Ti conosco mascherina - 1990; Caterpillar - 1991; Sorelle Lumière - 1992; Mina canta i Beatles - 1993; Lochness - 1993; Mazzini canta Battisti - 1994; Pappa di latte - 1995; Canzoni d'autore - 1996; Cremona - 1996; Napoli - 1996; Leggera - 1997; Mina Sanremo - 1998; Mina Celentano - 1998; Mina n°0 - 1999; Mina per Wind - 2000; Dalla terra - 2000; Sconcerto - 2001; In duo - 2003; Napoli primo, secondo e terzo estratto - 2003; Bula Bula - 2005; L'allieva (canta Sinatra) - 2006; Todavía - 2007  

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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