Sanremo 2014 — the first night of the Festival

Fuori il teatro Ariston per il debutto della 64ma Festival di Sanremo, from Festival di Sanremo on facebook, as seen on

The Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo, often referred to simply as "Festival di Sanremo" or even just "Sanremo" (the town where it is held) started its 2014 edition last night.  Now in its 64th year, the festival has played a part in introducing Italy and the world to new music and artists and inspiring Europe's Eurovision song contest.

The festival consists of a competition with two major categories: Campioni (Big or known artists) and Nuove Proposte (newcomers).  Both groups perform previously unreleased songs and on the final night, a winner for each category is chosen by a combination of viewer and Jury votes.  There are also guest performances and tributes from international and Italian artists alike.

Ligabue canta "Creuza de mà" prima serata di Sanremo 2014, via, as seen on
Photo via "Sanremo, partenza con brivido" (in italiano)

This year, Ligabue (one of my favorites) kicked off the festival with a birthday tribute to famed artist Fabrizio de André who would have turned 74, singing one of his songs "Creuza de mà".  I thought his performance was great, and it was interesting to hear the lyrics in dialect, and see the standard Italian lyrics in subtitles below as well. I also particularly enjoyed the sounds of the Bouzouki, played by co-author of the song Mauro Pagani [See the video on the Festival site.]

The official competition started with 7 of the 14 "Campioni" artists, who performed two songs each.  Through a mixed voting process, one song from each artist was chosen to continue in the competition.

The winning songs for each artist are starred…Let me know what you think! Which songs do you like/dislike?  Do you agree with the winning song votes?

(Click the song titles to link to videos of each performance)

Arisa, 1st night of 2014 Sanremo, from as seen on

Lentamente (Il primo che passa)  | Slowly (The first one to pass)
*Controvento |  Against the wind
Un uomo è vivo |  A man is alive

Antonella Ruggiero, 1st night of 2014 Sanremo, from as seen on

Quando balliamo |  When we dance
*Da lontanoFrom afar

Raphael Gualazzi, 1st night of 2014 Sanremo, from as seen on

*Liberi o noFree or not
Tanto ci sei |  In any case you're there

Cristiano De André, 1st night of 2014 Sanremo, from as seen on

*Il cielo è vuoto |  The sky is empty

Perturbazione, 1st night of 2014 Sanremo, from as seen on

*L'Unica |  The only one
L'Italia vista dal bar |  Italy as seen from the bar

Giusy Ferreri, 1st night of 2014 Sanremo, from as seen on

L'amore possiede il bene |  Love possesses the good
*Ti porto a cena con me |  I'll take you to dinner with me

Esibizioni della prima serata Sanremo 2014 su visto su
Links to all videos from "La prima serata" available on

Again, I'd love to hear what you think!  Do you agree with the winning songs for each artist? Any favorite songs or artists? Comment below or you can also connect and comment via Via Optimae on Facebook if you prefer!]

Buon Ascolto!
(happy listening!)


P.S. You can also watch the entire Prima Serata (first night) here

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Frasi celebri su Via Optimae
Acque del sud (To Have and Have Not) original: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow."