On 29 November Nilda Fernández will play very special acoustic solo concert at Erarta Stage.
Daniel Fernandez was born in Barcelona on 27 October 1957. His family were Protestants from Andalusia — not a welcome combination in the Catholic-dominated region of Catalonia at the time — and when Daniel was 7 his parents decided to move to the South of France, where they settled in Lyon. Daniel's father, a sculptor by trade, encouraged his son's interest in music and the young boy soon went on to take singing and piano lessons. Later in life, Daniel would also take up the guitar, teaching himself the traditional flamenco rhythms of his homeland.
As a teenager Daniel started out performing solo with his guitar, playing in bars, clubs and other small venues in the local Lyon and Toulouse region. It was a hectic, unstable life and some months Daniel barely earned enough money to pay his rent. But he determinedly stuck to his chosen career and in 1981 Daniel finally got his big break! He sent a demo tape — a simple recording, just straightforward vocals and guitar - to Pathé Marconi and the record company called him in to record an album.
In 1987, after changing his name to Nilda, the singer recorded a single entitled "Madrid Madrid". Released on the Dreyfus label, "Madrid Madrid" went on to prove a major hit with both French music fans and the critics.
Fernandez did not return to the studio to record his début album until 1991 but when he did the album, entitled simply "Nilda Fernandez", proved to be another great success. Indeed, "Nilda Fernandez" — which included the best-selling single "Nos fiançailles", "l'Invitation à Venise" and a nostalgic ballad entitled "Entre Lyon et Barcelone" (Between Lyon and Barcelona) — went on to sell over 300,000 copies. Critics hailed the album as a triumph, agreeing that Fernandez's distinctive voice could not have been better suited to the melancholy poetry of his lyrics.
But it was on stage at his live concerts that Fernandez really came into his own. With his long dark hair and svelte physique, Fernandez looked like some kind of romantic modern troubadour, and his ability to switch between songs in French and Spanish only endeared him to his audience more. The singer's popularity continued to go from strength to strength and in July 1991 Fernandez was invited to support British pop star Sting when the latter performed a mega-concert at the famous Bercy stadium in Paris.
Fernandez soon went on to triumph at the "Victoires de la Musique" awards, where he was voted Best Newcomer of the Year
On 20 and 21 April 1993 Fernandez performed at the Olympia (the most famous concert venue in Paris). As the audience burst into a round of thunderous applause, Fernandez appeared on stage accompanied by a carefully-chosen group of musicians - Giovanni Pietro Cremonini (on double bass), Alejandro Barcelona (accordion), Jean-Luc Teilhon (clarinet) Stephano Genoves (piano) and, last but not least, Pascal Rolando (on percussion). After his successful shows at the Olympia, Fernandez resumed his hectic tour schedule, performing up and down the country. Following the release of his début album, the indefatigable singer had performed more than 150 concerts — almost without a break! In 1993 Fernandez was rewarded for his efforts, when the Sacem (the French Association of Songwriters and Composers) presented him with the coveted Prix de la Sacem.
In the summer of 1993 Fernandez returned to the studio to record a new single entitled "Sinfanaï Retu". The single proved to be another massive hit, hovering around the top of the French charts for nearly eight weeks.
In 1994 Fernandez jetted out to Argentina to perform a series of concerts in Buenos Aires. Fernandez proved a huge hit with local music fans - especially when he teamed up on stage with the legendary Argentinean diva Mercedes Sosa. The following year Fernandez set off on his travels again, flying out to perform in northern Quebec. The singer became greatly interested in the region's Indian culture and, after his concert tour was over, spent several days staying in a local village getting to know several of Quebec's native Indians.
When he returned to France, Fernandez decided to branch out in a new direction. The multi-talented singer turned his hand to writing and soon published his first novel "Ça repart pour un soliloque".
Then in 1996 Fernandez turned his attention to his music career once more. After flying back and forth to New York for a series of concerts, Fernandez decided to record his new album in studios in the Big Apple. His third album "Innu Nikamu" (which in the American Indian dialect of North Quebec means "Man Sings") involved a brand new collaboration. In fact, Fernandez teamed up with jazz pianist Michel Camilo from Santo Domingo, who looked after the arrangements and artistic production on the singer's new album.
Departure for Russia
In early 2001, Nilda Fernandez set off for Russia for what he thought was going to be a short trip. The renowned Russian singer, Boriz Moïssev, invited Nilda to sing two songs in a duet with him, both of which went on to become hits. The Frenchman then set off on tour with his Russian accomplice, taking in not just Russia but Israel.
Nilda Fernandez was also at the root of an event starting in early November 2001, called “Saisons françaises à Moscou” (French seasons in Moscow), comprising a series of concerts by French artists like Claude Nougaro and Julien Clerc. The cultural happening was backed by the French embassy.
<p >For almost five years, Nilda Fernandez lived in Moscow, where he learned Russian and gave concerts throughout the country. A die-hard traveller, he performed in a range of countries, including Cuba in 2006 at the request of the Cuban minister for culture, and wrote and directed a show called “Las noticias del mundo”, with an orchestra, choir, circus performers and dancers. The shows took place from 10 to 20 July in Havana.
He also played regularly in France, and finally returned to settle in Paris.
"¡ Basta ya !"
After a long production process, Nilda Fernandez released a new collection of songs in early 2014. The 13 tracks on "¡ Basta ya !" revealed a more pop-rock sound than usual. Totally assuming his independence from the record industry, the artist published his tracks on his own website, Ze Store, posting them slowly on subscription only.
On 29 November Nilda Fernández will play his very special acoustic solo show at Erarta Stage.
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