January 23, 2014 by Italians in Chicago
by Valeria Fanelli –
Zucchero “Sugar” Fornaciari, the Grammy-nominated Italian blues-rock singer, and one of Europe’s best-selling artists, will release his latest album, La Sesión Cubana, on February 18th via Manhattan Records and will be in tour in the U.S. in the Spring. Zucchero will play in Chicago on April 16, 2014.
Known as a musical wanderer, Zucchero achieves a long-held dream of recording in Cuba with the best native musicians in Havana, and exploring the roots of American music along the way.
“My music comes from blues, from soul, and from gospel,” Zucchero says. “This project is a trip from New Orleans to Cuba via Mexicali. Latin, Cuban, and Tex-Mex sounds and rhythms melt together dancing. Hasta l’asta siempre.”
Produced by Zucchero and Don Was, and mixed by Michael Brauer, La Sesión Cubana features seven brand-new songs, as well as six newly arranged versions of Zucchero’s European hits: “Baila,” “Un Kilo,” “Così Celeste,” “Cuba Libre,” “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime,” and “L’Urlo.” The new recordings consist “Guantanamera (Guajira), original compositions “Love Is All Around” and “Sabor a ti,” and the covers “Never Is a Moment,” “Nena,” “Pana”(a duet with Spanish singer Bebe), and “Ave Maria No Morro” — a duet with Brazilian star Djavan. Each song was recorded virtually live in the studio to ensure the thrill of improvisation.
In addition to the studio album, Manhattan is releasing a deluxe CD/DVD version with the La Sesión Cubana studio CD with a two hour “Live in Havana DVD. A one hour version of The Live in Havana concert program will be featured in March, 2014 by Public Television stations as part of their pledge programs. The program is being presented by WLIW.
“Zucchero called and said that he wanted to go to Havana and record new versions of his songs with ‘Cuban rhythms and Tex-Mex guitars,'” says Don Was. “I had no idea what he was talking about but it sounded like high adventure. After recording two other albums with him over the last decade [2006’s Fly and 2010’s Chocabeck], I’d learned that Zu is a magnificent and visionary artist and that his instincts are golden. So we headed to Havana on blind faith and, sure enough, his unique brand of Popular Italian Soul Music blended seamlessly with the incredible band of Cuban All-Stars who’d gathered in the studio to cut tracks with us. In the end, great music always transcends cultural boundaries and the record turned out brilliantly. Zu’s cover of Malo’s hit, ‘Nena,’ is one of my favorites. I’ve loaded it into my alarm clock because it makes me wake up feeling good every morning.”
Over the course of his four-decade career, Zucchero has sold over 40 million albums around the world and won numerous awards, including two World Music Awards and six IFPI Europe Platinum Awards. He was also nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award in the Traditional R&B Vocal category for “You Are So Beautiful” the song he performed on alongside Sam Moore, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton and Robert Randolph. Heavily influenced by American blues, soul, and rock, he embarked on a singing career in the ’70s. He has performed at The Royal Albert Hall in London, the Kremlin in Moscow, and Carnegie Hall in New York, and has recorded and toured with Eric Clapton, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, Sting, and Solomon Burke to name just a few.
These are the dates of Zucchero’s U.S. and Canada tour:
March 29th Portland, OR Aladdin Theater
March 30th Seattle, WA Triple Door
April 1st San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
April 2nd Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia
April 4th Phoenix, AZ Wild Horse Pass Casino
April 5th San Diego, CA Balboa Theater
April 8th Dallas, TX House of Blues
April 10th Houston, TX House of Blues
April 11th Lafeyette, LA Vermillionville PAC
April 12th New Orleans, LA HOB Parish
April 13th Nashville, TN Exit In
April 16th Chicago, IL Park West
April 18th Boston, MA Berklee PAC
April 22nd New York, NY The Theater at Madison Square Garden
April 26th Atlantic City, NJ Taj Mahal
April 27th Ledyard, CT Foxwoods Casino
May 1st Atlanta, GA Center Stage
May 3rd Miami, FL Gusman Center
May 4th Tampa, FL Capitol Theater