Category Archives: Other Festivals

Festival OTI 1977: My opinion on the show…


Festival OTI de la Canción, known internationally as OTI Festival, was an annual singing competition among the members of the Organización de Televisión Iberoamericana (translated as Iberoamerican Television Organisation) and took its inspiration from the Eurovision Song Contest. It started in 1972 and lasted until 2000 (the  1999 edition which was cancelled due to floods in the city that was supposed to host it at the time). For my comeback themed post, I decided to give my opinion on the 1977 edition (an edition TVE had recently uploaded for their archive site. Here’s the link – You can also watch it in here: )

Held in the Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid (nowadays known as Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa) on Saturday, 12th November 1977, the show was presented by Miguel de los Santos (who would become the spanish commentator for a few ESC editions) and Mari Cruz Soriano (who was later chosen to introduce the spanish entry in ESC 1980)

After a long introduction by the presenters, the parade of songs would begin. 21 countries participated that year, a record at the time – so… here goes my opinion on these songs in their running order:

01: NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – Ced Ride – Gente, eres tú

The first entry of OTI 1977. A good anthemic ballad with semi-contemporary arrangements (despite its constant change of pacing throughout the entry. The waltz-y section drowns it quite a bit for me in this particular case). Ced (who also wrote the entry) gave also a good performance out it

02: BRAZIL – Lolita Rodrigues – Pedindo amor

Before giving my opinion on the song, I must say I didn’t knew she was also a singer as I only knew her work as an actress (she was more famous as such (I’d recommend you to watch, for example, some of her scenes from Rede Globo‘s 1987 hit soap-opera/telenovela “Sassaricando”. in which she plays the role of Aldonza: ). Going back to the most important thing in this post: this strong ballad might sound a bit old-fashioned, but it’s still highly enjoyable. And Lolita gave it all with her confident performance. Kudos to the fact that she also sung in spanish during the last chorus of the song (she’s of spanish descent, by the way – hence the use of spanish in that last chorus)

03: PUERTO RICO – Aquamarina – Piel dormida

The first group in this edition of the contest. A conventional (meaning: something common for its time. I’ll be saying this word quite a few more times throughout this post) and yet great soulful sounding mid-tempo ballad with a really beautiful set of vocal harmonies – overall, a nice contrast from the previous entry

04: URUGUAY – Miguel Bobbio – Quiero vivir

Not really an amazing ballad of its kind, although I liked the begining with that spoken dialogue and the ending of it. Still, it’s quite a nice entry and Miguel gave it justice with his great performance

05: HONDURAS – Tony Morales – El hombre

There’s not much of a diference between this one and the previous entry in terms of melody, although the previous one had at least something interesting + the chorus ruins what could have been a much better anthemic entry. Despite being quite forgettable, Tony managed to give a good performance out of it

06: SPAIN – Trigo Limpio – Rómpeme, mátame

Prolifiic songwriter (as well as the conductor of the orchestra for the entry) Juan Carlos Calderón (the ESC (Eurovision Song Contest) fans might know him due to the fact that he wrote the spanish ESC 1973 and 1975 entries and would later write the ESC 1985 and 1989 entries) hit gold on this one. A beautiful contemporary ballad for its time with great arrangements, as well a great performance from the trio’s part (that would later went to participate in ESC 1980, although without Amaya Saizar (who was replaced in 1979 by the now late Patrícia Hernandez). It also became one of the group’s most known songs. And (reportedly) the commercial hit of that edition of the contest

07: MEXICO – Napoleón – Hombre

Quite anthemic in all its catchiness with a good performance by the singer (who also wrote the entry. A upcoming artist back then, he would later become one of the most famous singer-songwriters in his own country). The problem is that the competition was quite big that year + there were better entries that year

08: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Fernando Casado – Al nacer cada enero

The melody of the chorus might be quite conventional in some way (great ending, though), but the verses make up for it with its soft and tender sound (aided by a great piano melody). Fernando also did a really good performance out of it

09: USA – Lissette – Si hay amor, volverá

That was one big “tour-de-force” ballad in several various aspects – a wonderful one, I must say. And Lissette (who also wrote the entry: kudos to her for creating this massive ballad) gave a outstanding performance that elevated the song to a higher level – she really sung her heart out with her raspy vocals. By the way, she also looked stunning (her great hairdo, her magnificent dress… that was quite the good fashion back then)

10: ECUADOR – Marielisa – Sonreír cuando quiero llorar

Nice waltz-y like ballad with really nice arrangements and a good performance from the singer herself. A good effort, although nothing amazing… especially when compared to the  arousing ballad that was performed before Marielisa‘s

11: ARGENTINA – Jerónimo – Jugar a vivir

Really good ballad that builds and builds until reaches its pivotal climax – sometimes, it quite reminds of something that spanish legend Raphael would sing back then. Jerónimo (who also co-wrote the entry) was really expressive, wasn’t he? Nevertheless, he still defended it really well

12: VENEZUELA – Héctor José – Iberoamérica toda

It really tries to be a anthemic hymn the celebrates the  iberoamerican community and it sounded quite promising, but it ends up not being as strong as it should – despite its catchiness. Despite that, the singer still delivered a nice performance

13: NICARAGUA – Guayo González – Quincho Barrilete

One would think: “is this a children song?”. But if you read or hear the lyrics in a deeper analysis, you might find out that it’s actually a protest song (in a time when the country itself was still a military dicatatorship). A triumph on many levels: from its magnificently arranged melody to its clever lyrics (all done by singer-songwriter Carlos Mejía Godoy, back then one of the most famous artists of his own country), from the wonderful performance given by Guayo and by the 5 child backing singers, among other things…

14: CHILE – Capri – Oda a mi guitarra

A really catchy folk-pop entry that sounded quite in sync with what was musically heard back then in that genre (although done in a edgier way, like spanish folk group Jarcha with their 1976 intervention folk-pop hit “Libertad sin ira”). Despite having pretty few shaky moments, I’d say Capri defended it pretty well

15: GUATEMALA – Mildred & Manolo – El verbo amar

It had a promising start, but it ends up becoming… or rather, sounding like a mash-up of ideas that didn’t really blend that nicely. The duo performed it really well (I especially liked Mildred‘s tender vocals), but it’s such a pity they weren’t given a better song to go along with their really good voices

16: COLOMBIA – Ximena – Cantando

Really nice anthemic entry with a wonderful melody in its verses (that guitar-driven solo in the first part of the first verse was lovely) and quite a great performance from the singer’s part. If there’s one negative thing against it, I’d have to say it’s the fact that there were better songs before her with a bigger punch (and there would be some more after her)

17: PANAMA – Leopoldo Hernández – Canta a la vida

The song started out really well with the verses, but then comes what lets it down quite a notch: the chorus (I mean: it’s not bad, but I kinda wanted to be on the same level as the dramatic verses… something that didn’t come true). It’s still really enjoyable, though, and Leopoldo (who also wrote the song) gave a very good performance out of it

18: PORTUGAL – Paulo de Carvalho – Amor sem palavras

First of all, this was one of the very first songs I’ve ever heard without really knowing its connection to the OTI Festival (the other ones being José Cid‘s 1979 effort “Na cabana junto à praia” and Ágata‘s 1997 effort “Abandonada”). As for the song itself, it’s quite a contemporary sweet pop ballad with a good orchestration that gives it a sense of grandeur underneath its lyrical fragility. Paulo (who composed the entry) gave his all in vocal terms (note that there was a problem with the microphone at some point during his performance as he could be barely heard)

19: PERU – Cecilia Bracamonte – Landó

It’s one of those songs you can’t really forget and/or ignore that easily (one way or another). For starters, the song has a whole lot of flavour going on (it really gives a taste of peruvian music with a few aditional arrangements to make it more acessible to the jury), which makes it really interesting already. That performance, though… puts the entry to a whole different level – it’s INSANELY larger than life… in a really good way. By the way, Cecilia did a wonderful vocal job and kudos to her backing instrumentalists for giving so much joy to it

20: COSTA RICA – Manuel Chamorro – Melodía de los amantes

A promising mid-catchy entry that has two faults: the arrangements could have been much better (I mean, had this been a “in your face” retro entry with some jazz-y flavour (like, for example, Angelika Mann‘s “Champus Lied” ), it could have conquered me) and the singer who didn’t sound like the perfect match for the song in question, despite giving a really good performance. A bit disapointing, I’d say…

21: EL SALVADOR – Ana Marcela d’Antonio – Enséñame a vivir

And we come to the last entry of OTI 1977. A really good semi-anthemic ballad with great arrangements (by the way, I love the melody of the verses: it gives some pure tenderness to the song). Good performance from Ana Marcela (who also wrote the entry) as well. By the way, I really dig her styling choice

All the songs had been heard and soon the results would come (well, there’d be a pause in between with no interval acts. In that year, some of the countries publically announced their votes in their own tranmission of the show before announcing them during the announcement of the results). The voting system: each country had a jury composed of three people who each awarded 1 point to their favourite song. In case the country in question didn’t have the necessary telphone line connections or if couldn’t be contacted for a second time, a replacement juror (who’d give its votes to the contest’s supervisor) would have to give 3 points in total (either 1 vote per country… or 2 votes for one and 1 for the remaning one… or all its 3 votes to just one country)

In a pretty close race, Nicaragua won with 12 points – just 4 points over the runner-ups Dominican Republic and USA. The host country, Spain, just missed a top-3 placing by 1 point (4th place, 7 points). On the other, Portugal (my own country) got… a 14th place and one single point together with two other countries (Netherlands Antilles and Colombia)

All in all, a pretty nice show for its standards (although TVE made a better job with the staging back when they first hosted the contest in 1972 (whose edition I might talk about in the future) and a good quality of entries. Good host presenters as well…

By the way, my top-10 of OTI 1977:

03: USA
06: PERU

Before finishing this post, watch the winning song once again:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Festival di Sanremo 1976: My opinion of the final day (Part II)


We’re back to the Festival di Sanremo 1976 edition and to the second part of my opinion regarding this edition of the festival, one that has influenced the European Broadcatsing Union (EBU) to create in 1956 the Eurovision Song Contest

Let’s move on to the competiting songs from 9th to 1st place:

09th place, 20 pointsGli Opera – L’ho persa ancora

A unknown band at the time, they started their carrer participating in a contest the previous year with the song “Donna con chi”. On their debut participation in Sanremo, they use the defeatable feeling of losing someone that is loved by the other as lyrics to build a gentle ballad, musically speaking. Nice performance for the group, eventhough there were better songs than this one that placed lower than them

08th place, 21 pointsDaniel Sentacruz Ensemble – Linda, bella Linda

Before debuting in Sanremo that year, they had their share of successes right in the year they started their carrer (1974), thanks to the anthemic ballad “Soleado” that has been covered by several international artists such as Mireille Mathieu and Johnny Mathis. Going back to 1976: here’s the catchiest song of the finalists and an incredible stand-out, both musically and lyrically. The colorful and festive performance makes the song come alive even more

07th place, 23 pointsCarlo Gigli – Più forte

Starting his carrer in 1970, he didn’t have much spolight throughout his music carrer by then and this participation might have meant an opportunity to become more known (nowadays, he’s the owner of a bar). Eventhough the story of a confirmation of a love relationship that makes the leading character stronger are nice, the song, musically speaking, is a bit bland on its studio version. It gets better on the live performance, but I still think it was quite overrated

06th place, 24 pointsDrupi – Sambariò

Also a singer that started his carrer in 1970, he was already a sucessfull singer in his home country and in the spanish music market thanks to hits such as his Sanremo 1973 entry “Vado via” and “Piccola e fragile” in 1974. Intriguing and yet sexy combination of the “bossa nova” sound with a 70’s italian ballad sound (adding the acoustic sound to it) with lyrics that reflect the fascination of the man for a woman who’s a mix of mature woman and young girl, but still beautiful. The singer really defended well this beautiful entry

05th place, 30 pointsPaolo Frescura – Due anelli

After a big sucess with “Bella dentro” the previous year, time was for a participation in Sanremo and this comes with a gentle power rock ballad with quite a modern arrangement for those days and lyrics that reflect the feelings of love from inside with the young man desiring to marry the girl of his dreams. Simply a good one and his performance is simply nice

=03rd place, 36 pointsAlbatros – Volo AZ 504

After years of trying to get in the spotlight, Toto Cutugno (future Eurovision Song Contest participant in 1990 with “Insieme: 1992” and, infamously, a co-host of the Eurovision Song Contest 1991 edition) finally would get a taste of success as the founder of the group Albatros that started in 1974 and from whom a few of their songs became famous in many countries thanks to several versions, mainly from Joe Dassin (for example, “L’eté indien” was actually a song spoken in english by Toto‘s group called “Africa”). Quite unusual for Sanremo, what we get here is a mid-tempo ballad with the funky motives and the airport ambient sounds about the end of a relationship in a mix of spoken and singing dialogue. One of my favourites from this edition, if not, my favourite. The performance has also a mix of normal with theatrical performance in a charismatic way. In my opinion, this is such an interesting song that I could even think of a videoclip in my mind telling the story

=03rd place, 36 pointsSandro Giacobbe – Gli occhi di tua madre

The singer was quite known since he started his carrer in 1972, but his first Sanremo participation would make quite an impact for his carrer throught the rest of 1976. The song makes an alegory out of a platonic love for the mother of his lover on its lyrics. All put in a melodical ballad quite for that time. Eventhough I found this quite overrated, it’s still nice, as well as the performance

02nd place, 40 pointsWess & Dori Ghezzi – Come stai, con chi sei

By then a sucessfull pair of singers and after their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 1975 with the catchy “Era”, finishing in a 3rd place, they finally return to Sanremo after their debut participation three years ago in 1973, when they sung “Tu nella mia vita”. Considered the big favourites to win this Sanremo edition, here we have a heartfelt and sorrow-fied ballad with modern arrangements for that time, without disconnecting itself from the romantic motives of the song about a separated couple that see each other once more, by suprise, and have a conversation about their lifes nowadays. Eventhough they are still feeling the same love flame they once felt before, they know they can’t change anything and they have to go on with their lives. Not only their song was excelent, but their performance, in a way, was also really superb, touching and sincere. One of my favourites as well from this edition and should have really been the winner of Sanremo 1976

01st place, 46 points: Peppino di Capri Non lo faccio più

And finally the song that won the edition. Peppino di Capri (future italian representant in the Eurovision Song Contest 1991 with a song sung in neapolitan) was the most experienced singer by then, as he started his carrer as far as in 1959. From this ballad with an obvious italian musical feeling, always well portrayed in a ballad sung in italian, we get the story and the precise details of a pictoresque (and at the times, surrealistic) love relationship with all its ups and downs. A great performance by the singer and a deserved top-10, but not a winning song in my opinion, considering that there were much better songs that deserved the winner title in Sanremo 1976

After the participation of some of the guest singers such as Rita Pavone and Domenico Modugno, it should have been time for the results. However, the reveal of the winner was only revealed durimg RAI 1‘s news bulletin, TG1, in its late night edition. The full results were later published on the following week by TV-magazine “Sorrisi e Canzoni TV”

In order of ranking, from 1st to 18th, here’s my complete top of this edition (it wasn’t an easy task, by the way):

01: Albatros
02: Wess & Dori Ghezzi
03: Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble
04: Camaleonti
05: Sergio Endrigo
06: Drupi
07: Miko
08: Peppino di Capri
09: Orietta Berti
10: I Profeti
11: Paolo Frescura
12: Ricchi e Poveri & I Nostri Figli
13: La Nuova Gente
14: La Strana Società
15: Sandro Giacobbe
16: Gli Opera
17: Patrizio Sandrelli
18: Carlo Gigli

So, that’s all from the second part of the Festival di Sanremo 1976: Final day opinion and my opinion of it overall. As a final treat, parts of the interval acts provided by Rita Pavone and Domenico Modugno from Sanremo 1976:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)

Festival di Sanremo 1976: My opinion of the final day (Part I)


The influence for the Eurovision Song Contest was no other than the Sanremo Festival, also known as Festival della canzone italiana, because it’s an italian music festival where there’s a winning song since 1951. The festival has been the preselection for selecting an italian entry and/or artist for ESC, both official and/or internal and at times, inadvertly (from 1956 to 1966, 1972, 1997 and recently in 2011 and 2012)

But we’re going to one of the editions that wasn’t set as selection for an ESC edition, but is still quite rich musically: the 20th Sanremo Festival 1976. More precisely, in the final day of the competition on 21st February 1976

Held for the last time in the Casinò Municipale di Sanremo theater, this edition came with a few changes after the failure of the previous edition: radio DJ Giancarlo Guardabassi was the host of the three nights (Domenico Modugno, ESC italian representant in 1958, 1959 and 1966 was initially chosen as the host, but refused. Still, he went there as a guest singer), with the visual presentation being envisioned as a radio presentation, much like it was done in USA; a big number of international stars were invited as guest singers and a high selection of profile artists for Sanremo 1976 were chosen and the orchestra was abolished (there was still live vocal performances, though)

After a brief introduction by the presenter, the parade of songs would begin. Since I don’t known the order of appearance of the songs, I’ll present the songs with their respective results at the end of the show from the 18th place to the 1st place. In this 1st part, it will be from the 18th to the 10th placed songs:

18th place, 3 points: La Nuova Gente – Che sarei

Formerly a group named Gens, it was composed by three members of the first reffered group that had been disabanded by 1974 and that had debuted as La Nuova Gente the previous year with a single release. It seemed like a vogue for italian bands to perform romantic ballads in that decade as we find one. And it’s a very nice one, with some nice key changes and a melodical and emotional line attached to it. The performance was nice as well

17th place, 5 pointsI Profeti – Cercati un’anima

Otherwise a known band back then, they were in fact almost coming to an end (in 1977, the band would cease their work definitively), but not without coming to the Sanremo stage for the first and last time. A emotional entry about a broken relationship with well-made arrangements and heartfelt lyrics. No problems about their good performance either

=15th place, 6 pointsMiko – Signora tu

A large amount of time passed between the year he started his carrer in 1964 as Don Miko to his first Sanremo participation in 1976 as Miko (and his carrer is still on-going as various names) and this comes with a song he co-wrote (his real name is, therefore, Pier Michele Bozzetti). In a alegory and contemplation of all the women in the world, here we have a quite strong ballad with a positive melancholic feeling. The middle of the song, though, is a bit of a letdown. Quite strong performance in it as well that night

=15th place, 6 pointsSergio Endrigo – Quando c’era il mare

Formerly a Sanremo winner in, for example, 1968 and 1969 and an ESC participant in 1968 with “Marianne”, he comes once again to the competition after having it done so the last time in 1973 and as always with a song written by himself. A ballad with an italian flavour about the man’s platonic love relationship that does its best in the more somber parts and puts the light parts at half. At times, when I hear this, I think of François Truffaut‘s 1967 critical flop but cult hit movie “La mariée était en noir” (“The bride wore black”)… at least, the somber parts. The performance is indeed agile and emotional enough, without falling into the over-the-top visual performance moves

14th place, 9 pointsPatrizio Sandrelli – Piccola donna, addio

The sucess he had the previous year with “Fratello in amore” was merely responsible for his first and sole participation in the competition, although he started his carrer in 1971 (and would end in 1979). A not bad romantic ballad about the end of a relationship, altough there were better songs in this edition. And the performance was good, although not as memorable

13th place, 10 pointsRicchi e Poveri & I Nostri Figli – Due storie dei musicanti

Ricchi & Poveri were already a known group by the time they performed (actually, they participated a couple times before in Sanremo, one of which granting them a hit that transcended internationally thanks to several cover versions (“Chi sarà” in 1971) and would later represent Italy in Eurovision Song Contest 1978. I Nostri Figli were a group of children that were making their first steps, culminating in the 80’s providing an italian original song for the transmission of the 1975-1976 japanese anime series, “Mitsubachi Maya no Bouken” and its 1978-1979 sequel “Shin Mitsubachi Maya no Bouken”. The funny song aimed at a more familiar audience was actually a combination of two songs from the homonimous album: “I-o bau coccodè miao” e “Il mio canto”. An original sounding one for the competition, the performance was quite sweet and adventurous as well

12th place, 11 pointsLa Strana Società – Andiamo via

Also debutants in the competition, the group had started their carrer in 1971 with some degree of sucess before being invited to participate in Sanremo that year. Much like the power ballads that were making such sucess internationally thanks to I Santo California, this love declaration ballad is sweet and tender. The spoken parts only add much mysticism to it. The performance of that night was simply nice and tender as well

11th place, 16 pointsOrietta Berti – Omar

A household singer since 1962, Orietta Berti has already been in several Sanremo editions and this edition would not be an exception. This one has a special catch, though: the catchy gypsy flavoured entry dedicated to her recently born son, Omar, was backed by a highly odd performance that featured dancers and chorists in gypsy clothes. A very memorable performance, indeed, and a “guilty pleasure” kind of song

10th place, 19 pointsI Camaleonti – Cuore di vetro

Although they started their carrers in 1963 and reached some sucesses in the 60’s, their artistic and commercial peak is in the 70’s, with songs like “Perchè ti amo” becoming evergreens. By the time they participated in this Sanremo edition, they were not newcomers as they participated before in 1970 and 1973. One of my favourites in this edition, it’s an emotional “on a verge of a break-up” ballad in which the person in question affirms that without her, his heart would be a “heart of stone”. The performance only adds the greatness of the song, simply touching. Underrated on the final night, indeed

That’s all from the first part of the Festival di Sanremo 1976: Final day opinion. The 2nd part will come soon, but as a final treat, the video of the opening of the final day of Sanremo 1976 (as broadcasted by TVE (Spain) in a repeat by defunct TV-memory channel, Canal Nostalgia. The Sanremo Festival was also, at the time, broadcasted worldwide for the EBU members that would want to broadcast it so. RTP would do it at times in those years):

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)