Two thousand and fifteen had a bit of a rough start for the world of Italian music, it lost one of its most iconic and original artists. Pino Daniele, singer-songwriter and guitarist died unexpectedly on the fourth of January.
Daniele had been part of the Italian music scene since his début album in nineteen seventy-seven, when he fused elements from his native Neapolitan traditions with blues, jazz, rock, pop, Middle eastern, African and Brazilian styles, creating what he liked to call a ‘taramblu’ sound, a mix of tarantella, blues and rumba.
The fusional nature of his music made Daniele one of the most popular performers in Italy and his meld of English, Italian and Neapolitan lyrics also made him well-known on the world music scene.
Pino Daniele was born into a working class family at Naples and had a particular dedication to his native home, never staying away too far away from the southern Italian city. In his songs he had an eye for highlighting important elements of social injustice and together with his idiosyncratic and melancholic personal reflections became strong themes of his work.
Pino leaves us with twenty-four studio albums and six live albums filled with many songs to remember him by. Napule e’ is a modern theme song of Naples, a bitter sweet love letter to his hometown it expresses a mixture of disillusionment, poetry and anger towards this enigmatic place.
As an instrumentalist Daniele’s live performances were legendary, this self-taught musician played with Eric Clapton, jazz luminaries like Wayne Shorter and Alphonso Johnson, toured with other Italian artists like Jovanotti, Eros Ramazzotti, Francesco De Gregori and Fiorella Mannoia.
Everyone has their own personal favorite Pino Daniele song, I began to fall in love with this ephemeral falsetto voice and guitar, later into Pino’s career when he became distinctly more Jazzy than anything else. What made me fall for him is the intimacy of his music, like all great singer songwriters he is talking directly to you and captures the spirit of certain moments.
My most loved Daniele moment is a sweet little song titled ‘Pigro‘ which paints the colours and sensations of a lazy Sunday morning, musing about love, lovers and idleness.
It is with a heavy heart that I leave you with this unique voice as no one will ever replace this sound.