Nilla Pizzi

Tuesday 19 April 2011 00:00

Nilla Pizzi, who died on 12 March aged 91, was an Italian singer whose voice was deemed too sensual for radio during the rule of Benito Mussolini. During the years before the Second World War, Pizzi was kept away from radio work because her voice was deemed to be too modern, exotic and sensual.

She was born Adionilla Pizzi on 16 April 1919 in Sant'Agata Bolognese, a town near Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region of north central Italy. Her greatest triumph was at the 1951 inaugural San Remo Festival, which promotes Italian song. She also won at San Remo the following year, sweeping the top three prizes.

When she was 90, she sang at San Remo to mark 60 years of the Festival and delighted the audience with a voice that had retained its strength and beautiful tone. She once described the secret of her success as singing those songs which "bring on a good mood, happiness, and maybe even some beautiful memories."

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