The Italian Almanac

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Mina

Mysterious Demo

After launching a social media campaign that went viral, Italian singing legend Mina has found the author of a mysterious demo that made its way into her hands and onto her upcoming album. Paolo Limiti wrote the lyrics and Mario Nobile composed the music, according to the artist's website, which just days ago invited fans to listen to the mastered track sung by Mina and accompanied by an animated video that narrates the mysterious origins of the song. In just three days the video went viral and received 80,000 views.

The demo, entitled This Song (Questa Canzone), was sent to the pop superstar without a name or return address 15 years ago, yet made its way onto her new album set for release in November. Limiti and Nobile, as it turns out, are well-known figures, having collaborated with Mina on multiple occasions in the past.

Mina, 70, is reckoned by many the finest female pop singer Italy has produced. Louis Armstrong once called her ''the greatest white singer in the world'', and Sarah Vaughn said that she would have liked to have Mina's voice if she did not have her own. Her last hit album was in 1998 when a dual album with another pop great, Celentano, went straight to No.1. All the while she hid away at Lugano, Switzerland, running from paparazzi whose every fuzzy shot of her made the gossip mags.

Mina has had dozens of top 10 hits and she appeared in 10 films during her heyday in the 1960s. As well as being a cultural icon, Mina was also a symbol for feminists. In 1962 she was banned from the airwaves of state broadcaster RAI, then strongly influenced by Catholic sensibilities, after revealing she was dating a separated man who had a son. Her popularity forced RAI to climb down two years later.