Caterina Valente Biography

14 January 1931, Paris, France. From an Italian circus family - her mother was a clown and her father an accordion virtuoso - Valente made her circus debut as a child. Her career as a multilingual vocalist began in 1953 when she joined the Kurt Edelhagen Band in Germany. Valente made her recording debut for Polydor Records the same year, enjoying international success with two songs by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, ‘Malagueña’ and ‘Andalucia’. In its English translation, ‘The Breeze And I’, the latter was a big hit in the UK and USA in 1955. Valente’s cabaret act and her frequent recordings included material in six languages (French, German, Italian, English, Spanish and Swedish). During the early 60s, she recorded for Decca Records, and scored numerous European hits with such items as ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie, Honolulu Strand Bikini’, ‘Pepe’ and ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’. Her version of ‘La Golondrina’ appeared in 1963 on All Star Festival. It was one of the first charity albums, issued to raise money to aid refugees. Valente continued recording into the 70s, usually spicing up her collections of standards with recent hits. In the mid-70s Valente married her musical director, the British jazz pianist Roy Budd, although they later divorced. Caterina 86 was recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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