Kuroneko no Tango

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"Kuroneko no Tango" (Japanese: 黒ネコのタンゴ "Black Cat Tango";[1] originally Italian: Volevo un gatto nero "I wanted a black cat") is a tango song recorded in 1969 by young children in Italy and Japan.

The original Italian version came third in the Zecchino d'Oro on 11 March 1969.[2][3] It was written by "Framario" (Francesco and Mario Pagano), Armando Soricillo, and Francesco Saverio Maresca,[4] and was sung by four-year-old Vincenza Pastorelli.[2] In 2007, Pastorelli was arrested after an anti-prostitution operation dubbed "Gatto Nero" by Carabinieri; her appeal against a three-year prison sentence was pending in the Court of Cassation in October 2011.[5]

Nippon Victor[1] asked the leader of a Japanese school choir called "The Larks" to nominate a member to record a Japanese-language version of the song.[6] She chose her nephew,[6] Osamu Minagawa (born 22 January 1963), whose recording was released on 5 October 1969.[7] The song reached number one in the Oricon chart, and sold 3 million copies,[2] making six-year-old Minagawa the youngest artist ever to have a million-selling record.[8]

The Japanese lyrics bear no relation to the Italian ones beyond the central idea of a black cat. The Italian version is a children's song in which the singer complains at being given a white cat instead of a black one.[9] The Japanese "black cat" symbolises the singer's flighty sweetheart, although Minagawa understood "Tango" to be the cat's name.[6]

The song has been covered many times since 1969. The song was covered in Japanese by Ami Tokito and in French by Japanese folk band めめ, both in 2005, and Meg recorded a cover of the original Italian song on her 2012 album La Japonaise. Justin Mauriello's 2010 Japanese release Justin Sings the Hits includes a version.[10] The song has a Hebrew version originally performed by Tzipi Shavit with words by Yoram Taharlev, called "Kulam Halkhu LaJambo' " (Hebrew: כולם הלכו לג'מבו "Everybody Went to the Jamboree").[11]

The song is on the 2014 album Dream a Little Dream by Pink Martini and The von Trapps.

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  1. ^ a b Fujita, Shig (19 December 1970). "Agent as Superstar". Billboard. 76: Japan Special Report p.J–20.
  2. ^ a b c "Dalle canzoni dello Zecchino d'oro allo sfruttamento della prostituzione". La Stampa (in Italian). 20 December 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  3. ^ うたの旅人:天才少女の絶頂と転落 「黒ネコのタンゴ」 (in Japanese). Asahi. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  4. ^ Acerbi, Antonio (2003). La Chiesa e l'Italia: per una storia dei loro rapporti negli ultimi due secoli (in Italian). Vita e Pensiero. p. 88. ISBN 978-88-343-1017-5. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  5. ^ Spagnolo, Chiara (1 October 2011). "Dallo Zecchino ai centri a luci rosse l'ex bimba prodigio torna in aula - Bari - Repubblica.it". La Repubblica. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Associated Press (9 December 1969). "Six-year-old Japanese boy has hit disc". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, Iowa. p. 28. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  7. ^ Guinness book of world records. Sterling Pub. Co. 1976. p. 241.
  8. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1984-12-31). Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s: an illustrated directory. Batsford. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-7134-3843-7. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  9. ^ Ventavoli, Bruno (20 December 2007). "Voleva un gatto nerosi è data alle luci rosse". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Justin Sings The Hits". Catalogue. Japan: In n Out Records. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ "ציפי שביט - כולם הלכו לג'מבו". YouTube. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2015-08-24.

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