A musician who has sold 60 million records is coming to Lafayette. Yet only a handful of people here know his name.
He’s shared the stage and studio with Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, B. B. King, Sting, Jeff Beck, Bono, Luciano Pavarotti and other music stars. Yet he could walk through the Acadiana Mall and no one would look up from their Hot Dog on a Stick.
The musician is Adelmo Fornaciari, better known by a nickname from his elementary school teacher, Zucchero. Zucchero is a blues and rock guitarist who reigns as the best-selling Italian artist of all time.
Zucchero is the only artist to have had three No. 1 singles in three different languages — Italian, English and Spanish. Actor Dustin Hoffman once spotted Zucchero at Sting’s house party. Hoffman fell to his knees, started singing one of Zucchero’s songs in Italian and shouted “Zucchero, you are God!”
Yes, this world music superstar is playing a space usually reserved for Sunday afternoon zydeco and Cajun dances, the Performance Center at Vermilionville. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com for this April 14 show.
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If you think Zucchero is living under a bridge and trying to reclaim past glory, think again. Elvis Costello and Bono collaborated on his 2016 album, “Black Cat,” which has been featured on CNN, NPR and other worldwide media.
The Black Cat World Tour has played to sold-out shows across Europe and will soon head to Australia and Japan.
Lafayette gets this rare music treat thanks to Frank and Tony Productions. Started by Lafayette clothier Frank Camalo and attorney Tony Morrow, this concert promotion has spent the last five years bringing in touring acts for intimate shows at Vermilionville.
Past performers include 10-time Blues Artist of the Year John Hammond, songwriting legend Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Ana Popovic and Tony Joe White.
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Bringing in such remarkable talent four to five times a year isn’t cheap. But just as Zucchero has a love for Louisiana, Camalo has a soft spot for live music.
“If I can break even on a show, I feel like it’s been successful,” said Camalo. “Most of the shows we do, we can charge $35, $45 and bring in a real quality artist. We have 300 reserved seats, so you’re always going to have a reserved seat.
“You’re not going to have to worry about people smoking or spilling beer on you. We just have a real nice clientele that appreciates what we’re doing. It’s more of a listening space than a club.”
Camalo is not ready to retire in Aruba off his concert receipts. But Lafayette’s embarrassment of musical riches is even more sweet because of his efforts.
Herman Fuselier is music and entertainment writer for the Times of Acadiana and Daily Advertiser. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.