A selection of the most amazing sound pieces composed by the artist's father, Nico Fumai, from the golden years of Italian Love Song to the post modern beats of Italo disco (1963 - 1985), photos, written papers, mp3 players.
NICO FUMAI: THE ITALO DISCO PIONEER
An introduction to the birth of Italo disco from the ashes of the forgotten Italian love song through the career of its most enigmatic father
Nico Fumai is an Italian composer and singer who gained popularity in 1964 with the release of the song, Amarti Ora… (Loving You), and in years to come would write some of the most important Electronic and Italian Love Song music.
Born in Bari, 29 July 1941, Nicola Vito Fumai (“Nico”), the second son of a theatre director, starts his career very young. Through his father he quickly receives the chance to prove his singing abilities, performing the role of Count Danilo for the Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow. The result of this first public appearance, in 1963, is the request for an audition in Rome by the Director Leoberto Paolacci and a contract with his record label.
Nico’s first record is produced when he is only 22. Amarti Ora… (1964) is the first track written and performed by Fumai; an English version goes on to receive the attention of the international music industry, enchanted by “the new Southern Italian Tony Renis”.
In 1965 Fumai releases Una Rosa Per Te (A Rose For You) through Dollaro Records, a track inspired by his love for his mother. The b-sides contain a rare experimental composition Concerto per Organo, the first signs of the innovative direction that will overtake his songwriting approach a decade later.
With the release of Maria (DGB International, 1967) the process of abstraction from the autobiographical episode to universal experience becomes Fumai’s mark, and the sentimental songwriter reaches the national hit parade.
Nico reacts to the success of Maria by suspending his music production in order to focus on personal research. Until 1970 he rejects all public appearances, an eccentric choice by one of the biggest young expectations of the Italian music industry.
In an attempt to escape the pressures of the public sphere Nico moves to Madrid. From this relocation he releases his 1971 single I Ragazzi Come Me (Non Dimenticano Mai), on which the cult b-side Notte Spagnola will be pressed.
After his first long-playing record is finally issued by DGB (Nico Fumai: Le Piu’ Belle Canzoni) the artist agrees on a new release, Another Dance / Un Altro Ballo, with an international major label. However, the album, an experimental soiree guided by an orchestra of Theremins, doesn’t achieve its expected commercial success.
If the music industry in 1973 considered Another Dance Fumai’s worst record, it is now recognised in a different light: its highly experimental content and technical innovations have turned into a prophetical declaration of the electronic dictatorship that will marry the Italian music industry some ten years later.
Finally free from the impositions of the Italian music industry, Fumai arranges an extended research trip to France where he will remain from 1974 to 1979. In Paris he has the chance to study the use of synthesizers and the theory of jazz improvisation.
He takes great inspiration from the music of Jean Luc Cerrone, Telex, Giorgio Moroder, and Federico Monti Arduini (also known as Il Guardiano del Faro) and dedicates his studies to the perfect fusion between the sentimental content of love songs and the technology of new electronic dance music.
THE BIRTH OF ITALO
Following his international productions, Nico Fumai returns to Italy in 1980 with the intention of building a new generation of electronic music using drum machines and synthesizers. In 1983 the Italo Disco phenomenon hits its peak, promoting worldwide the dance floor tunes created by young Italian musicians and disc jockeys.
If Giorgio Moroder’s From Here To Eternity has inspired the visionary approach to the machine that Italo Disco is renowned for, and if Claudio Simonetti (Goblin, Easy Going) is responsible for its obscure and ironical genius, we cannot forget the importance of Nico Fumai for his strong sentimental character, without which Italo would have been another electronic dance product from Europe.
Besides the various collaborations of these years (1980-1986) the solo work of Fumai, through the release of five singles, becomes highly acclaimed internationally. Queen of The Video, Fotonovela and Fantasy are evergreen tracks inspired by his difficult relationship with actress Liliana Chiari, and still amaze us for their modern approach to autobiographical transfiguration.
Nico Fumai retires in 1987 when Italo Disco is turning into something far from its origins, but his music maintains a worldwide cult with DJs and artists. Traces and tributes to Nico Fumai can be found in the New Disco scene, in the music of William Bottin, Munk and Fratelli Riviera, who continue to cite him as the most enigmatic personality of the Italo Disco era.