Dubbed “the greatest Italian artist in the world”, the only international star claimed by Italy, Caterina Valente was born in Paris (1931) to Italian vaudeville artists: her father, originally from the province of Frosinone, was a famous accordion player; her mother, born to a Genoese family in Rome, was a dancer who played thirty instruments. Touring Europe with their travelling troupe, she debuted onstage at age five and from that day forward never ceased to enchant audiences throughout the world, until 1999 when she retired from show business.
She married a German and then an Englishman, and for a long time lived in the USA. But for a while now she has resided in Lugano, where Mina also took refuge. It is said that, having spent little time in Italy, she was the one who inspired Mina to leave the country. A polyglot who fluently speaks six languages (French, Italian, German, English, Spanish, and Swedish), Caterina has also recorded in Dutch, Portuguese, Hebrew, Greek and Japanese, selling 20 million records. Her international discography takes in 25 countries, 1500 songs, many of which have been at the top of the hit parades in Germany, Belgium and Holland.
Over her career she has worked with the greats of show business, Perry Como and Dean Martin, who hosted her on their TV shows, Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, even singing a duet with Ella Fitzgerald. The European ambassadress of Latin American music and bossa nova, she has been a dancer, composer, actress and skilled guitarist (recording in a duo with Chet Baker), showcasing her talent in cabarets, jazz clubs and even circuses, as well as shooting a dozen movies.
Her repertoire is a faithful reflection of the great international music between the 1950s and 1960s: old and new standards, also French, Italian and Hispanic ones; arrangements of classic themes into songs; musicals; ballads and dance tunes – particularly Latin American ones. Often compared to Mina, with whom she shares a passion for jazz, foreign languages and managing her own career, the icon of Italian song gave Caterina Valente a confirmation of her esteem in 2011, when the “divina” wrote an article in Variety, saying about her: “I call her maestra. She is an incredible musician. And in terms of voice and her control of it, she's the best”. This tribute that we wish to make to her includes all the singles from the Italian hit parade (1959-64) as well as some timeless pieces and their Italian version. One exception, in German, is the famous Oh Valentino, which was a global hit.