At a very young age, Giuni had her first singing and composing lessons, quickly developing her great natural talents. In 1967, under the name of Giusy Romeo she won the Castrocaro Festival with the song "A Chi" (an italian cover version of Hurt by Timi Yuro). She was awarded the right to participate to Sanremo Festival, Italy's most important musical event, to be held the following year. In 1968 she sang "No Amore" - her first single - at the 18th Sanremo Festival. On the same year were released two more singles, including L'onda and I Primi Minuti, the italian cover of Aretha Franklin's "I Say a Little Prayer". In 1969 Giuni moved to Milan were she was to spend most of her life. There she met Maria Antonietta Sisini, a musician who would share with Giuni the ups and downs of a 36-year rare artistic union and friendship. In the seventies, Giuni changed her name in Junie Russo and recorded a few tracks for some minor labels. Her first album, Love is a Woman - with English lyrics - was released in 1975.
All the tracks are signed by Giuni and Maria Antonietta Sisini. In 1978 - for the first time with the name of Giuni Russo - she got good exposure with the single "Soli noi/La chiave", hitting the French market, too. In the early eighties Giuni's lifelong collaboration with Franco Battiato begins. In a recent interview Franco recalled: "... a natural talent. Amazing! Yes, the first time I heard Giuni sing it was in my home.
I was struck with wonder by her vocal strength (...) matched with her musical sensibility. An uncommon feature since if one has a powerful voice often lacks subtlety. She mastered the most refined nuances." In 1981 Giuni released the fine album Energie, but the big hit came the following year with the single "Un'estate al mare". The song won Giuni the 1982 Festivalbar contest and a huge popularity.
The single stayed on the top ten charts for months. On the wave of this success Energie was reissued. On one hand, the large success brought by "Un'estate al mare" gave Giuni a great popularity, but on the other hand biases the artist's career. It isn't easy to keep a balance between popularity and the musical research and experimentation that are the unvarying elements of Giuni's artistic journey. The albums released in the following years - Vox (1983), Mediterranea (1984), Giuni (1986) and Album (1987) - display a constant artistic evolution. Giuni was able to blend the easy melodic strike of her many hits (Good good bye, Sere d'agosto, Limonata cha cha cha, Mediterranea, Alghero, Adrenalina) with a truly unique vocal experimentation. In 1988 the album A casa di Ida Rubinstein marks the end of Giuni's easy pop phase.
With uncommon and stunning influences, she performs popular arias and romances by Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi, a repertoire confirming her natural talent for an innovative musical approach. This album made Giuni the first and only representative of borderline music. The release of A casa di Ida Rubinstein led the artist to tour with important lyrical and cultural associations. In contrast, recording companies look upon Giuni's experimentalism suspiciously and the relationship between them soon grew more and more precarious. In 1992 Giuni released Amala, an album of greatest hits with two previously unreleased singles - "Amala" and "Alla spiaggia dell’amore". In 1994 the new album Se fossi più simpatica sarei meno antipatica reached the shop shelves. Based on an imaginative interpretation of a writing of Ettore Petrolini, the album features the single "Fortunello". Giuni followed an increasingly personal path that led her to collaborate with writers and poets.
She read ancient holy texts, while touring a lot and writing new songs. It is during this period of her life that Giuni came in contact with Carmelite spirituality and began to study and appreciate Saint Teresa of Avila, Edith Stain and St. John of the Cross. The writings by these exalted personalities proved to be a constant source of inspiration for her. In 1997 Giuni was called to work with Giorgio Albertazzi (one of the most popular and renewed italian actors) for the theatrical show Verba Tango.
She sang lyrics by Jorges Luis Borges. On the same year the single "Gabbiano" was released, to be followed in the intentions by Gelsomini d'Arabia, a discographic project that never came to be. In 1998 Giuni releases her first live album Voce Prigioniera. In 2002, after four years of absence from the recording market and of an intense schedule of live performances, Giuni released Signorina Romeo live. The album is a selection of songs performed live in the preceding years. 2003 was the year of the great comeback to the mass audience. Giuni performed "Morirò d’amore" at the 53rd Sanremo Festival.
This song also gave its name to the new album. Irradiazioni was released on CD the same year. It contains singles like "Gabbiano", "Fonti mobili" and the previously unreleased "Voce che grida", along with new versions of Giuni's greatest hits. At the end of 2003 Demo De Midi was released, featuring fourteen new unreleased tracks from the '80s and the '90s in demo version. In 2004 Napoli che canta, a suite for Roberto Leone Roberti's film (1926) was released on CD and DVD. The night between 13 and 14 September 2004, Giuni Russo died at her home in Milan. Her last wish was to be buried at the Carmelite nuns' cemetery.
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