(Busto Arsizio, VA, 1940 – )

Mina Anna Mazzini was born on March 25, 1940 in Busto Arsizio from Giacomo and Regina, and became one of the most famous, if not the most famous, Italian pop music singers. Her career, which seems not to know a decline, began in 1958 when for the first time she performed at the Bussola hall of Marina di Pietrasanta the song Un’anima pura (a pure soul). In that same year, while she was singing in a small nightclub in Castel Didone with the group Happy Boys, she met David Metalon, a discography agent for Italdisc – Broadway, thanks to whom she immediately recorded four songs: two in English and two in Italian. In 1959 she took part to Canzonissima obtaining an enormous success; she did not have the same success in Sanremo, whose public was more conservative and did not appreciate the vocal exuberance of the young artist. Her participation in the Festival was limited to the years 1960 and 1961 after which she promised herself not to participate anymore. After a long and fortunate tour in Japan in 1961 she returned to TV with Studio Uno where together with Don Lurio and the Kessler twins she performed the classics of Neapolitan, American and South American songs. The success was enormous. Her presence in the television shows was particularly intense: she was the a regular guest for Studio Uno in 1965 (presented by Lelio Luttazzi with costumes by Folco and Corrado Colabucci), and in 1966 (with Luttazzi and the costumes by Colabucci), while in 1967 she conducted the show Sabato Sera (Saturday night) and wore the dresses designed by Federico Forquet, Krizia, Germana Marucelli, Emilio Pucci and the Fontana Sisters. In 1968 she was the first singer in Italy to record a live album at the Bussola of Marina di Pietrasanta. At the beginning of the 1970s she began to collaborate with the great duo Mogol-Battisti. In the same period she recorded the song Parole Parole in a duo with Alberto Lupo. In 1974 together with Raffaella Carrà she conducted Milleluci and with the final song of the show Non gioco più (I will not play anymore) she forebode her decision to leave television and all direct contact with the public to retire to Lugano in 1978, where she continued her artistic activity as a recording artist.
Fascinating and capable to stir emotions, Mina has been an exceptional interpreter of the Barilla spots from 1965 to 1970. Tied to the fashion of the moment, but never cliche and gifted with uncommon acting skills and expressiveness, with her exceptional voice she caressed with sensual elegance the boxes of pasta and towered over gigantic packaging to suggest the Italian housewives, who are excellent cooks, to buy quality pasta.
Mina – under the direction of movie directors of the caliber of Valerio Zurlini, Piero Gherardi, Antonello Falqui, proposed her songs, often repeated in different versions and on different sets; she sang live at the at the Bussola and recorded in studios, while performing in nightclubs (real ones or reconstructed sets) all rigorously trendy. Accompanied by the voice of Mina, that continuously changed looks and hairdos, the world of art found space, among the famous paintings of Magritte, the sack canvas of Alberto Burri and the set designing sculptures of an emerging Mario Ceroli.
With her the advertising message became more refined and graphically perfect, and soon marries surreal sets, fancy clothes, innovative filming techniques, aggressive and dynamic mounting of segments that prelude to the language of modern music videos. In parallel, the role of testimonial is transformed from a role of entertainer of a brief show that leaves little space to a promotional message, to the role of interpreter in first person of the promotional message, and leading the public to identify with them. The commercial film made by Mina for Barilla can be rightfully considered among the highest achievements of Italian advertising in the 1960s.

Cecilia Farinelli