Patrizio Buanne: Neapolitan Crooner and Really Nice Guy

Patrizio Buanne in concert at the Theatre Casino Lac Leamy, Gatineau, Quebec, in February 2020 (Photo: GioVanni).

In a career spanning more than 25 years, Neapolitan pop-crooner and international multi-platinum recording artist Patrizio Buanne has won over millions of fans in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, the United States and Canada. His renditions of original songs, sexy ballads and up-tempo tunes – many rooted in the pop traditions of his southern Italian homeland – have rightly earned him the title of “Ambassador of La Dolce Vita.”

The youthful, recently married, 41-year-old continues to thrill fans with his sensational shows, singing in several languages, and performing on piano and guitar. A multi-faceted artist, he is not only an exciting performer but an engaging conversationalist on stage, delighting audiences with his lively stories about growing up Neapolitan in Vienna, and doing humorous impressions of other well-known singers such as Tom Jones and Elvis Presley.

Buanne made a long-awaited return to the National Capital Region in early February with a dazzling show at Gatineau’s Casino du Lac Leamy Theatre, where he performed before a packed house. The special two-and-a-half hour show featured a selection of his most popular songs, “Il Mondo,” “Mambo Italiano,” “Forever Begins Tonight” and “Your Love Brings Me Home.” The concert also included local singer France Maisonneuve who performed “Smile” with Buanne.

The evening’s concert had a charity component in support of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute – a world-renowned medical facility, and Save A Child’s Heart – an international non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of paediatric cardiac care for children in developing countries.

The journey to the February concert for Buanne was a long one, but also one rooted in a long-time friendship with Ottawa businessman Frank Spagnolo. The friends first met in 2013 and Buanne returned the following year to perform at Centrepointe Theatre as part of Ottawa’s Italian Week programming.

Patrizio and Frank reconnected in July 2019 and talk soon turned to organizing the February concert as a way to introduce Buanne to new audiences. The plan worked fabulously as Buanne not only thrilled fans at the casino theatre, but he also ventured out into Ottawa’s community at large, where met some of the city’s Italian leaders and business people, the consuls of South Africa and Austria, as well as Italy’s Ambassador to Canada, Claudio Taffuri.

The showbiz trouper that he is, Buanne arrived several days prior to the concert to conduct interviews with English, French and Italian media. His first stop was at CTV’s downtown studios where he performed on CTV Morning Live and engaged with the show’s hosts about his concert. The early morning stop was followed by quick visits – and chats with his many fans and admirers – to La Bottega, an Italian specialty store, Pasticceria Italiana, located in Ottawa’s Little Italy, and Simply Biscotti, one of Ottawa’s favourite pastry shops.

One of the highlights of Patrizio Buanne’s promotional tour was a surprise visit to Villa Marconi, a long-term care facility that hosts many of the city’s Italian seniors. The impromptu show in one of the centre’s dining rooms was packed with elderly residents eager to be entertained by the charismatic performer.

He did not disappoint. He strapped on an acoustic guitar borrowed from Ottawa singer-songwriter Mikhail Laxton and performed a number of songs including “Il Mondo,” “Luna Mezz ‘O Mare” and “O Sole Mio.” Up close and personal with the residents, he brought many of them to tears with his passionate renditions of some of their favourite Neapolitan, Sicilian and Italian songs.

Villa Marconi administrators were impressed with how Buanne was able to connect with the residents. “It was an incredible show for the residents,” said Nadia Potoczny, Villa Marconi’s Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator. “Just to see their faces come alive and sing together, it was such a warm feeling to see that. I want to thank him for engaging the residents. I haven’t seen a performance like that in a really long time.”

In an interview with OMNI TV’s David Battistelli, Buanne talked about how he is so appreciative of his many fans, young and old. “I just wanted to thank the residents of Villa Marconi who are of a certain age and for their contribution, not only because they came to Canada for a better life, but for the culture and traditions that they brought to this country,” said Buanne during the interview.

Born in Vienna to Neapolitan parents, Buanne spent his childhood between Naples and Vienna, and began participating in talent contests and shows at the age of 11. He was only 17 when he performed in front of 85,000 people at a concert to honour Pope John Paul II during his visit to Wroclaw, Poland.

As a youngster, Buanne was immersed in Italian music thanks to his parents, especially Neapolitan songs that were his father’s favourites. “The only music I heard was Italian,” he said in an interview. “We also listened to Julio Iglesias, but only to his two Italian albums; Dean Martin, but only ‘That’s Amore’ because it’s in Italian; Elvis Presley, but only ‘It’s Now or Never’ because the tune is ‘O Sole Mio.’”

Buanne’s father also introduced him to such Italian-American crooners as Perry Como, Jerry Vale, Buddy Greco, Tony Bennett and Al Martino. He said he’d be playing with his toys and listening and singing along to the popular Italian singers.

After he graduated from high school in Vienna, Buanne moved back to Naples and studied languages at university. He eventually launched his international career in London, England, and was signed to a record contract with Universal Music. His debut album The Italian was released in 2005, and he has released several more albums since then. His songs have hit the top of the charts around the world.

Buanne continues to tour and record, and last fall he released a Christmas album titled Christmas with Patrizio Buanne. He stays in contact with his global following through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and often his fans post photos from his concerts or with him backstage.

Last year Patrizio married his best friend Francesca, and the couple were blessed with a new baby daughter Alina. During his trip to Ottawa, he made sure to video-call with his wife and daughter who were back home in Vienna.

Music and performing are what drives Buanne, and he looks forward to touring and connecting with his fans who love his renditions of Neapolitan and Italian classics, and contemporary tunes. “I’m not just another Neapolitan singer singing standards. I interpret songs with passion – songs that I like, whether they are old or new, American, Latin or Neapolitan – as long as they reflect my beliefs, suit my voice, and move people emotionally and physically,” said Buanne.

Tony Lofaro is a former Ottawa Citizen reporter who, in a 38-year career, has covered a variety of news stories. Born in Campo Calabro, Italy, Lofaro, grew up in the city’s Little Italy. Since retiring in 2014, Lofaro has been active in the Italian community and recently served on the board of Ottawa’s Italian Week Festival. He loves all things Italian and is a big fan of singer Patrizio Buanne.

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