Giorgia Todrani, simply known to many fans as “Giorgia”, played for the very first time in Udine last night. The “Carnera” arena (for boxing aficionados out there, Primo Carnera, a mountain of a man and also a home-grown boy in the Friuli area of Italy, remains to this day Italy’s only heavyweight boxing champion. He won the title in 1933 and subsequently lost it to the devastating Max Baer) was sold-out with a crowd of 3,000 people made up of both young and old fans.
The 41 year-old singer, who originally hails from Rome (she started singing in clubs at 16 years of age), is perhaps one of the closest things that Italy’s has to an Afro-American version of the late, great Whitney Houston (just one of Giorgia’s idols) and to Italy’s “Grande Dame” of pop music, Mina.
In town to promote her latest album, Dietro Le Apparenze, Giorgia’s entrance on the stage was like an alien that had just come out of a space ship, all dressed up in suit made of small shimmering lights, unquestionably a first for many artists. She was backed-up by a funky seven-piece group, including two great vocalists.
Some of Giorgia’s own admirers have been the likes of Herbie Hancock, Sir Elton John (she’s been the only Italian singer who has sung together with Sir Elton during one of his Italian concerts. He said of her: “She’s got one of the nicest voices in the world”!) and Canada’s very own troubadour, Michael Buble’. Giorgia’s also sung together with another Italian great, Andrea Bocelli and managed to even captivate audiences many years ago during Big Luciano Pavarotti’s highly popular show, Pavarotti & Friends, when she sang Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever. Her own personal success in Italy and also abroad (the Netherlands and Canada) has helped her sell so far 6 million records. But one of the highlights of her career was back in 1995 when in Rome’s St. Peter’s square she sang the Ave Maria in front of the old Polish pope, Wojtyla.
Giorgia’s fine mixture of pop-jazz-soul-blues-reggae-funky, together with a touch of rock music, has also been part of several Italian movie soundtracks. Many of these same movies have been highly successful at the box office, no doubt an attraction also for those fans in Udine who certainly went away with their money’s worth after a solid two-hour performance by this fine (and also rather beautiful) Italian singer!