Zecchino d’Oro

Zecchino d’Oro
Photo: zecchinodoro.org
Zecchino d’Oro (“Golden Sequin”) is an international children’s song festival held in the Italian city of Bologna. Founded in 1959, it has since become one of the most important cultural events in Italy. The festival takes place every autumn. It is broadcast by the country’s national public service broadcaster Rai.

Zecchino d’Oro was created by Felice “Cino” Tortorella, an Italian television host and producer. The first two editions took place in Milan. In 1961, Antoniano (a Bologna-based cultural institution founded by the Franciscans in 1953) became the main organizer of the festival per Tortorella’s request, and the event moved to Bologna. Tortorella remained the host of Zecchino d’Oro until 2009.

In 1963, Italian musician, singer and conductor Mariele Ventre created the Piccolo Coro dell’Antoniano (Little Choir of Antoniano), a children’s choir that has accompanied performances at Zecchino d’Oro ever since. In 1976, the festival was expanded into an international event. It featured seven Italian and seven international songs that competed for the main award.

Zecchino d’Oro is a song contest, not a vocal competition. The festival awards are presented to the authors of the songs, not the children who perform them (the same idea, by the way, lies behind the Sanremo Music Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest). The main goal of the festival is to encourage composers and poets to create songs for children.

Every year, hundreds of potential contestants submit their songs for participation. Antoniano’s internal selection committee chooses 100 songs, and then another committee consisting of musicians, educators, journalists and other experts chooses the songs that will participate in the festival. This selection process applies to Italian entries; foreign songs are selected directly by Antoniano. Once the songs have been selected, Antoniano begins to look for talented singers aged 3 to 10, trying to find the best suited performer for each song.

Each festival features twelve songs, eight Italian and four foreign, which compete for various awards. The main award of the festival is Zecchino d’Oro. It is awarded to the best song by a jury consisting entirely of children. The winners of each festival day preceding the grand finale receive Zecchini Colorati (Colored Sequins) – red, white, blue, and green. Finally, the winner of the televote receives Telezecchino.

Zecchino d’Oro

Photo: Verdi Note




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