happy father's day!

Piero’s story makes a good movie- The Life and Times of Piero: the Original “Viejo”.


First twist in his storyline: Is he Italian, Argentinean, or Columbian?


Piero de Benedectis was born in Italy and moved to Argentina at the age of 3. Because of the military regime in Argentina he exiled from the country to go to Panamá, then Spain and various other countries. Somehow, he wound up in Colombia and says that he loves Colombia so much that in 1990 he became a Columbian citizen.


Lo entrevistaron en un programa de noticias de la televisión local (estoy en Quito) y me impactó mucho una pregunta que le hicieron y su respuesta : "Piero, ¿Porqué se nacionalizó en Colombia?" le preguntó el entrevistador - ecuatoriano - con cara de incredulidad y sorpresa, como diciendo "¿estaba loco o qué?"


Nunca me hubiera imaginado que en estos tiempos alguien quisiera nacionalizarse en Colombia, y mucho menos alguien famoso como Piero, quien contestó, palabras más, palabras menos:


"Colombia y yo hemos sido novios por muchos años, de manera que nacionalizarme fue como un modo de formalizar esa relación con el matrimonio". Explicó también cómo consideraba un gran honor al haber sido aceptada su solicitud de nacionalización.
Quote from NuestraColombia.org


Next interesting plot in his story: his career takes many turns. A quick look is to say he went from priest, to singer, to revolutionist, to organic farmer, to – oh my! What a novela!- dare I say- to an embezzler, allegedly.


Here’s his story: In his youth he wanted to be a priest. Went as far as joining the monastery but obviously dropped out and began to sing. He began his singing career singing Italian ballads. Then he met José Tcherkaski. Their hit Mi Viejo came out in 1968 and became a huge hit. The duo sang protest songs such as El Americano. Their songs were banned from the radio. In fact, if anyone in Argentina was caught listening to one of Piero’s songs they could be put in jail.


"Mis discos fueron prohibidos al grado de que si una persona era hallada con ellos se les encarcelaba. Fue así que la compañía de discos no estuvo de acuerdo con temas como *El Americano* y lo censuró. Eso me provocó que hiciera un alto en mi carrera", explicó Piero. Interview at economista.com.mx

He left the song of protest and in 1996 opened up a organic farm dedicated to underprivileged youth. The goal: to teach the youth to live a healthy lifestyle free of pesticides and fertilizers and to teach them how to cultivate their own food and how to buy their own land to start their own farms to become self- sufficient, self-reliant, productive and successful individuals. Sounds all good on paper, right?

An Argentinean investigative news report said that’s all it was- an idea on paper. According to the scandalous report, Piero received government funding and private donations for his farms which were said to be located in Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador but in actuality no such farms existed except for one in Argentina and that farm was said not to be organic at all! And the youth? They claim they were never paid for their labor! This is what the former manager of his organization Fundación Buenas Ondas has to say about Piero: "Para mí Piero es un delincuente, primero y principal; porque yo no ando con eufemismos, el que roba es un delincuente". See Aug 2003 article in semana.terra.com.co

He says of today’s music that “in the 70’s young people were more into social issues but today’s music is full of a lot of noise and not much else. Music of protest back then was taboo, and we were the first kamikazes to lift our voices in protest. Now the people know how to protest but they don’t know how to propose anything or build anything.”

¿Cómo califica el trabajo de los cantautores jóvenes de ahora?

En la década de los 70 la juventud estaba más preocupada en la política y en los hechos sociales. Hoy, los jóvenes están diezmados y atomizados. La música de ahora tiene mucho de ruido y muy poco de nueces. Antes había mucho más ruido, pero también muchas nueces. La música de protesta entonces era un tabú y nosotros fuimos los primeros kamikaze en levantar su voz.

Ahora, la gente aprendió a protestar, pero no sabe proponer ni tampoco construir.

No hay nada que me llame la atención en la música de ahora.

¿Usted continúa componiendo bajo los parámetros de los 60 y 70? ¿A qué le canta Piero en este nuevo siglo?

Yo sigo haciendo las mismas canciones, pero con distintas excusas. Sigo buscando mis ideales con el mismo ahínco, pero a lo mejor con más conciencia.

Siempre le canto al amor, al hombre y su proyección como ser humano, para que deje de estar enredado en sí mismo.
See interview at Bolivia.com

Piero of course returned to music and his latest cd is Coleción CD, Oro which is a collection of 3 CD’s with all his hits such as Pedro Nadie; Soy Pan, Soy Paz, Soy Mas; Mi Viejo, and much more!

Ironic isn't it?
Piero- the orginal singer of Mi Viejo,
the paternal anthem, became a father
himself
¡ya de viejo!- at the age of 56!

Check out his website at
www.pieroonline.com
Next --->  All about José
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The Life and Times of
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the original "Viejo"
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