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The woman who would later be affectionately called La Tigre di Cremona (The Tiger from Cremona), Mina, one of the most popular and influential postwar Italian artists, was born in the province of Lombardy in 1940. Her first performance came in 1958 at a club called La Bussola, near Lucca, where Italdisc-Broadway producer David Matalon was impressed with the young singer and soon recorded four songs with her: two in English, "Be Bop a Lula" and "When," under the name Baby Gate; and two in Italian, "Non Partir" and "Malatia," as Mina. It was the latter name that she chose, and stuck with, for her debut album, Tintarella di Luna, which was released in 1960. During the early '60s, she continued to record dozens of albums, and thanks to her high visibility in the television commercials that began in Italy in the period after WWII and the economic boom that followed, she became one of the country's most famous stars. Although Mina decided to stop making live performances in 1974, she made an exception for a 1978 live album, recorded at La Bussola, to celebrate her 20-year career, and in 2001 she treated her fans to an online studio performance recorded during the sessions for her album Sconcerto. The following years saw the release of the three-disc The Platinum Collection, as well as other greatest-hits collections and numerous new recordings extending into the new millennium. ~ Marisa Brown