Saturday, January 16, 2010


Frech vocalist Caterina Valente, was born on January 14th ,1931, Paris, France into an Italian circus family. Her mother was a clown and her father was an accordion player; as a child she worked in the circus as well. She performed in Europe as a singer for several years, but her career as an internationally known vocalist began in 1953 when she joined Kurt Edelhagen's band in Germany.

She was soon signed to Polydor and made her recording debut for them the same year. Her first big hits came soon after that. Two songs written for her by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona charted in Europe and eventually England and the U.S. "Malaguena" was her first big hit, followed by "Analucia" which when re-released in an English version as "The Breeze and I" became a top ten hit in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Valente by this time had become a truly multi-lingual artist, performing her cabaret act and issuing recordings in six languages: French, German, Italian, English, Spanish and Swedish. During the early '60s she switched alliances to Decca Records and scored several hits with them, including "Itsy Bity Teenie Weenie Honolulu Strand Bikini," and "Quando, Quando, Quando." Her version of "La Golondrina" appeared on one of the first charity albums, 1963's All Star Festival. The proceeds from that album went to aid refugees.

In the mid '70s, Valente married her musical director, British jazz pianist Roy Budd, though the marriage was short lived. She continued recording until the mid '80s, issueing Caterina 86, a recording made with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1988.

Caterina sings with Luiz Bonfá.

Stacia Proefrock, All Music Guide

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