50 years of Tenco: Leonard Cohen

50 years of Tenco: Ornella Vanoni

2024 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Club Tenco, the largest Italian initiative dedicated to songwriting, of which Rockol is the official partner. As we approach this year's edition, we celebrate its history in ten episodes, drawing from its historic archive.

1981 was the eighth edition of the Tenco Prize, born from an idea by Amilcare Rambaldi. That year the Tenco prizes were awarded to Chico Buarque de Hollanda and Ornella Vanoni, and the prize for the cultural operator to Giorgio Calabrese, as can be explored in depth in the original 1981 issue of “Il Cantautore”, the annual monograph edited and published by Club Tenco.

Ornella Vanoni was born in Milan on 22 September 1934. Daughter of a pharmaceutical industrialist, after studying in Switzerland she approached the world of entertainment: in 1953, she enrolled at the Academy of Dramatic Arts of the Piccolo Teatro and Giorgio Strehler proposed that she sing three songs during the intervals of “I Giacobini” by Zardi, which earned praise from the public and critics.

At the end of the fifties, still as an actress in the Piccolo Teatro school, she interpreted some pieces by Brecht and the so-called songs of the Mala, pieces such as “Ma…mi…”, “Le mantellate”, “Canto di capcerati Calabresi” with which he found his first successes.

In 1958, she was the first artist to record a 45 for the newly formed Ricordi label. The record company has under contract the entire new generation of singer-songwriters, including Gino Paoli – to whom she is also romantically linked – who offers her “Senza fine” (one of her warhorses), ” Anche se”, “Che what's there”, “Me around the world”. In her repertoire there are also, among others, the successes of Domenico Modugno, Burt Bacharach, Charles Aznavour and Gilbert Becaud.

Vanoni took part in the television show “Canzonissima”, in various competitions (in 1964, with “Tu si' 'na cosa grande” she won the Naples Festival paired with Domenico Modugno), acted in the theater and attempted musical comedy with ” Rugantino” by Garinei&Giovannini, alongside Aldo Fabrizi and Nino Manfredi.

Her singing activity continues with a series of hits such as “Abbracciami forte”, “Music is over”, “Tristezza”, which project her to the top of the charts. In 1968 and 1969 she made two particularly important records, entitled “AI MIEI AMICI CANTAUTORI”, where she sang Paoli, Tenco, the Neapolitan song, the French song.

The Seventies are characterized by great television and market successes. In this period, songs such as “L'impresa” and “Domani è unaltro giorno” characterized a decade of great satisfaction in terms of sales which led Vanoni to enjoy success abroad too. The album LA VOGLIA, LA PAZZIA, L'INCOSCIENZA, L'ALLEGRIA dates back to 1976 and features Toquinho and Vinicius De Morales among the collaborations. In 1981 you published TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND ONE WORDS e she was awarded the Tenco Prize.

(here is the complete biography of Ornella Vanoni)

The 2024 Tenco Prize will take place from 17 to 19 October. Stay updated by following the official website of the event.


Photo: Club Tenco (Roberto Coggiola)