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Giuni Russo

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  • Born: Palermo, Italy
  • Died: Milan, Italy
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Born in Palermo, Sicily, in September 1951, young Giuseppa Romeo began taking vocal and composition lessons at an early age. By the time she was 14 she had competed in -- and won -- the Festival di Castrocaro, which gave her the opportunity to perform at San Remo the following year (both times under the name Giusy Romeo). In 1969 the singer moved to Milan, where she soon met Maria Antonietta Sisini, the woman who would become her artistic collaborator, as well as her partner, for the rest of her life. In 1975, as Junie Russo, her debut, Love Is a Woman, an album sung entirely in English, was released, but was met with very little success. It wasn't until 1981, after she switched back to Italian, changed her name to Giuni Russo, and began collaborating with Franco Battiato, that her album Energie came out, and with it the single "Un'Estate al Mare," which proved to be one of her biggest hits and rocketed her into the national spotlight.

Russo continued to release nearly an album a year -- including 1984's Mediterranea and 1986's Giuni -- until 1988, when A Casa di Ida Rubinstein came out. A departure from her previously adult pop-oriented records, A Casa di Ida Rubinstein had Russo singing arias and classic Neapolitan songs, and while it didn't do poorly, it was met by some confusion and disapproval by her label. Her next studio album, Se Fossi Più Simpatica Sarei Meno Antipatica, wasn't released until 1994, and even though another single, "Gabbiano," came out in 1997, as well as a live album, Voce Prigioniera, in 1998, Russo had pretty much fallen out of public consciousness.

In 2003, although she was suffering from a cancer that would eventually kill her, she released Moriró d'Amore and performed the title song at San Remo. In October of that same year, Russo gave her final performance to a small crowd in Friuli, singing for the screening of the 1926 silent film Napoli Che Canta. In September of 2004 the singer passed away at her home in Milan. Two years later, the tribute album Unusual, which contained performances from Battiato, CapaRezza, and Toni Childs, among others, came out.