Mina at the Bussola

by Emmanuel Grossi

The year 1968 was a crucial year for Mina: she celebrated ten years of her career and, faithful to her habit of anticipating the times and burning the stages, she did it as record producer of herself, since about a year earlier she left the RI-FI production agency to found PDU. To crown this, something truly special was due. Therefore, she decided to record her first live album from her beloved Bussola, the temple of music in Versilia where her career was consecrated, that had become her elective place to meet the public, and where the public would salute her for the last time exactly ten years later.

There was a ferment at Barilla as well, but for very different reasons: between 1967 and 1968, the budget for advertising had moved from the CPV agency to another multinational firm in rapid ascent: McCann Erickson. With perfect sense of timing, almost all of the board of directors moved from one society to the other, so decreeing the beginning of the end (a long, slow, but inexorable one) of the Italian headquarters of the glorious Colman Prentis & Varley agency.

The commercials with Mina of the beginning of 1968 came out in full transition phase, on tiptoe, in a subdued tone. The new course of things would start with the second annual appointment programmed to run from the end of August to mid-October. The creators decided to take advantage of the anniversary by going to visit Mina “at her home”, at the Bussola.

To verify the yield and usability of the place, a small troupe headed by the producer of the agency and future director Nino Vanoli filmed the concert event on 16mm camera. Then, a few weeks later, everyone arrived in full pomp to film the advertising commercials during another concert evening, always crowded with public. The series – by Audiovision production company owned by Mario Dall’Argine, former CPV producer – was entrusted to Enzo Trapani who in that same period was filming equally prestigious concerts at the RAI Auditorium of Naples for the first season of the famous television show Senza rete – No safety net (2).

Five commercials for ten songs: five songs of which we hear a verse and the refrain (C’è più samba, Chi dice non dà, Cry, Deborah and Un colpo al cuore) (3), each preceeded by the last notes of five other songs submerged by applauses (Allegria, La voce del silenzio, Per ricominciare, Regolarmente and Se stasera sono qui) (4) were featured. This is exactly the complete tracklist of the Mina alla Bussola dal vivo album.

A new jingle composed by Augusto Martelli (of whom we catch a glimpse in the commercial, directing the orchestra behind Mina’s shoulders) ends the commercials: Comincia bene chi sceglie Barilla – Who chooses Barilla starts out right, a captivating Dixieland rhythm, a style that had come back in 1968 together with all of the family of Charleston and Fox Trot of the Roaring Twenties. Mina also recorded a second jingle, also authored by Martelli: a bossa-nova that was not utilized in the commercials and remained unknown to the great public for decades.


  1. Bussola: a famous concert hall of Versilia
  2. Senza rete – it refers to a circus show where there is no safety net placed at ground level for flying trapeze acrobats, therefore the literal translation is “No safety net”.
  3. C’è più samba, Chi dice non dà, Cry, Deborah and Un colpo al cuore – literally, There is more Samba, He who says does not give, Cry, Deborah, A blow to the heart.
  4. Allegria, La voce del silenzio, Per ricominciare, Regolarmente and Se stasera sono qui – literally, Cheerfulness, The voice of silence, Beginning again, Regularly, If I am here tonight.