When I was a student at primary school in early ’80 I was living in a small village in the countryside of Asti, in the Piedmont region, therefore distance from school to home was very short. Around 1.00 pm I was always home and my mother was used to prepare lunch for the family. As soon as I got home I was always turning on the TV on Channel 1 of the National Television (RAI 1) to see her: Raffaella Carrà.
At that time she was the host of the most successful midday tv show of all time in Italy which she invented from scratch. It was a mix of entertainment (songs and dances), cultural and political interviews (she met all the most important members of the Itialian and International Politics of that time, from Henry Kissinger to Mother Theresa) and a set of games with the audience who was alowed to call the show live and try to reply correctly to some funny questions such as the ultra-famous “beans game”. There was a jar full of beans on her desk and the audience has asked to guess how many were the beans inside.
Raffaella Carrà was not juts the most beloved tv enterteiner of all time in Italy, she also was kind of a family member for all of us, whose role was different depending on our age: a mother, a sister, an aunt, but most of all she was a goddess, and is whay we all thaught she was immortal and why the new of her death is so devastating for all of us.
Last november the newspaper “The Guardian” wrote a long reportage about her, recalling how Raffaella Carrà paved the way and thought the world the joys of life, spanning from friendship to sex from family to love relations, in such a natural and happy way that she never was gross neither too sensual even when she sang half naked of wearing eclectic scene costumes.
Since the beginning of her career in late ’60 and all along the ’70 she caused public discussions and controversies, including from the Vatican who didn’t like her to show her belly during the satyrday might live show, watched by more than 20 millions of Italians, of which she was the co-host. She released more some 30 albums selling some 60 million copies all around the world as she was pretty beloved also in south America and especially in Spain where she also became a monumental TV entertainer.
She was a dancer, a singer a tv host, the most complete TV entertainer you can imagine. Her songs were all happy, funny and convey very important messages in such a nice way that everyone is happy with them even if they might not share the same feeling. “A far l’amore comincia tu” is a song about empowering women to be the rulers in sexual activity, “Luca” is the first ever song about homosexuality and the unforgettable “Fiesta!” which is a celebration of the joys of partying with friends, “Ballo Ballo” which is an invitation to dance all your troubles away, “Rumore” a dance song of late ’70 still in the playlist of every dj set, and many more which are the soundtrack of Italy (and Spain) from late ’60 till today.
Raffaella Carrà was not just a showgirl but a real icon, a legend and today a mith. Nobody in television history was, and ever will be, as beloved as her.
She was, and still is, the goddess of the LGBT community: “everyone is straight until a song by Raffaella Carrà is played”, we are used to say. It is in fact impossible to stand still when you listen to “Pedro” or “Fiesta” or “Que Dolor”. Her songs were always written in Italian but suddenly translated into Spanish. Spain was in fact her second home where she also hosted several shows for TVE, commuting from Rome to Madrid every now and then.
Her career was always high flying, never a single turbulence interrupted or compromised our love and devotion to her. She was simply a member of our families. I underatsnd it is diffuclt for any non Italian (or non Spanish) to understand why she was so beloved, you might get an idea of who she was by simply digiting her name on youtube and see some of her contribution to the history of TV, and the history of the Italian society of the past 50 years. Take your time to listen to some of her songs and let yourslef be touched too by her magic.
Goodbye Raffaella, we will always love you!!!
Raffaella Carrà died at 78, on July 5th 2021