Mambo Italiano

Famous Italian singer visits Molokai

By Léo Azambuja

The Friendly Isle left an indelible mark in the heart of one of Italy’s biggest artists. Romina Arena, a five times gold-record winner, visited Molokai last week, and was marveled with the island’s beauty and rich culture.

The singer who coined the term Popera – a fusion of pop music and opera – felt so amazed with the friendly and laid-back atmosphere that she almost stayed another week, before returning to Los Angeles, where she current lives.

Arena is not widely-known in the United States. But her talent has been gracing fans in the rest of the world for well over a decade. The 26-year-old artist has had several number-one hits in Italy, Germany, Australia and Japan, selling over 4 million records.

The outspoken native of Sicily, a place better known for its implacable mafia, started her career as a toddler, working at the Italian TV as a Disney mouseketeer. At 12-years-old she recorded her first album, skyrocketing to number-one in the charts, and her talent took her to the four corners of the world. But at 16-years-old Arena felt victim of a wicked attack that put her into a coma. After a miraculous recovery, doctors told Arena that she would not be able to speak again.

Arena’s unbreakable spirit kept her on the rails, and three years later she was singing again and climbing charts. After a deal-gone-sour with a music studio in Los Angeles, a top Japanese CEO at EMI believed in Arena’s talent, and invested in her come-back. Soon she was reaching the top spot in the Japanese music scene.

Music is not Arena’s only talent. She speaks nine languages and has written a book about her amazing climb to stardom. Hollywood producers have already begun to move stakes at Tinseltown, and a movie about Arena’s life is on the preliminary stages, with several Oscar winners supposed to contribute to the reel.

Before Arena’s story reaches the silver screen, search for her music in the stores. The young artist has the habit of breaking through the charts in every country she is introduced to, and it seems like it won’t be any different in the United States. Last year she opened for Celine Dion’s memorable Las Vegas tour, and now Arena has landed her own deal in Sin City. She will have her own show at a famous casino there.

So make sure to tell the Hawaiian expatriates in Las Vegas to keep an eye – and both ears – open for Arena’s performances. They might be in for a nice treat.


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