Luca Prodan

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Luca Prodan
Luca Prodan
Prodan photographed for the cover of supplement of Clarín, few days before his death, December 1987.
Background info
Full name Luca George Prodan
Also known as Luca
Birthday/Birthplace (1953-05-17)17 May 1953
Rome, Italy
Deceased 22 December 1987(1987-12-22)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Genre(s) Post-punk, Punk rock, New Wave, Reggae
Profession(s) Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Bass guitar
Active Years 1970s – 1987
Worked with Sumo, Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, Andrés Calamaro, Hurlingham Reggae Band, Los Violadores.

Luca George Prodan (Rome, Italy; May 17, 1953 – Buenos Aires, Argentina; December 22, 1987) was an Italian-Scottish musician who, at the beginning of the 80’s, He settled in Argentina, where he formed the rock band Sumo.

Luca Prodan’s Biography

First years

Luca Prodan was born in Rome on May 17, 1953. Son of Mario Prodan, a Turkish citizen of Italian descent born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Cecilia Pollock, born in China and daughter of Scots who resided in Shanghai and Beijing before the Second World War. Luca was the third of four brothers: Michela (Micaela) and Claudia were the eldest, and Andrea the youngest of all. Both Michela and Andrea are related to the world of cinema, although Andrea also has an unusual musical career. Soloist of the most famous choir of England in his first youth and creative musician in his maturity.

In the United Kingdom

In Scotland, Prodan attended Gordonstoun, a prestigious school attended by Prince Charles of England, missing a year to finish his studies, he abandoned them in 1970 and escaped from high school, at that time he was about seventeen. old. At the time when his family requested his search at Interpol; Luca toured Europe alone until he returned to Rome, where he was found by his mother at the same time that he had been stopped by the police.

Established in London during the 1970s, Luca worked at the record company EMI. Still in London he formed his first band: The New Clear Heads, contemporary to the aesthetics of punk bands like XTC, The Fall, Wire or Joy Division. Luca’s musical sensibility, influenced by the heyday of British West Indies rhythms such as the dub and reggae that influenced British popular music during the 1970s, resembles the personal style of post-punk songwriters like Joe Jackson, Graham Parker or Elvis Costello, although perhaps the irony of Ian Dury & amp; The Blockheads seems better with the jocular and festive style of some of the songs from the Sumo stage.

Prodan had a particular vocation for music. He was sensitive in adolescence to the symphonic rock and psychedelia of Canned Heat, Soft Machine, Syd Barrett & amp; Pink Floyd or Peter Hammill & amp; Van der Graaf Generator and even the Roxy Music experimental boom. Inspired by some musicians like Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Nick Drake, John Lennon, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Lucio Battisti, Franco Battiato, or Brian Eno, he composed during the 1970s some memorable songs, which would be recorded in 1981 in La Cumbrecita, Córdoba (Argentina).

In Argentina

Luca in the early 1980s and settled in Cordoba, Argentina. Photo by Timmy Mackern.

Living in London, Luca started using heroin, and in 1979 his sister Claudia committed suicide with her boyfriend, after locking herself in a car and inhaling carbon monoxide, and after that, Luca fell into a coma, Due to his addiction to heroin, he is almost taken for dead. “In several subsequent reports, Luca stated that he traveled to Argentina, following a bucolic image that had trapped him. He received a letter from an Argentine friend of Scottish origin, Timmy McKern (with whom he shared school years in Scotland and then lived in London); in which there was a photo of the family of McKern in the mountains of Córdoba.


Luca with his band in 1985.

Prodan became friends with McKern’s brother-in-law Germán Daffunchio and his neighbor, Alejandro Sokol, and together they started making songs, which would be the first of the band to be called Sumo, songs like “Night & amp; Day »and« Regtest », among others.

Luca with Sokol on bass, Daffunchio on guitar and Stephanie Nuttal (an English friend of Luca) on drums, gave the first concert of Sumo at a club in El Palomar (west of Greater Buenos Aires) called Caroline’s Pub.

Sumo offered very adrenalinic shows with songs sung in English. They had serious problems in times of the Falklands war in which everything related to English was not welcome. That caused the return of Nuttal to his native country at the request of his parents.

To all this, Sumo established its base in Hurlingham GBA, in the home of Timmy’s mother. The second formation of Sumo was: Prodan (voice), Daffunchio (guitar), Sokol (drums) and Diego Arnedo, a neighbor (bass).

Later Roberto Petinatto joined as a saxophonist (until that time he was a journalist for the magazine El Expreso Imaginario).

In 1984, Sokol left the band and joined Alberto “Superman” Troglio on drums and Ricardo Mollo (friend of Arnedo) on guitar. The definitive formation was the one of these two more Prodan, Daffunchio, Arnedo and Petinatto, that lasted until the dissolution of the group. Sumo accompanied a true cultural revolution embodied in a true participatory fervor of middle class youth in party politics, neighborhood associations and an innovative cultural scene. The creative culture of Buenos Aires post-dictatorship renewed both the alternative journalism embodied in magazines such as Imaginary Express or Pigs and Fish as a deeply ironic artistic environment on the established places of the plastic arts, theater, music or design. Cross of genres that characterized the era and that was evident in artists such as Marcia Schvartz, Vivi Tellas, Batato Barea or Sergio de Loof.

For these years, Sumo used to be divided in two to raise more money, so the Hurlingham Reggae Band was formed, and (sometimes) Sumito, both groups gave several recitals for the weekend, including the underground temple of the 1980s Café Einstein or in the Parakultural.

In 1985, the band released their first “official” album (they had previously released Corpses in the Madrugada in the form of a cassette and with limited distribution), Divided by Happiness (a game about the name of the English band Joy Division). Disco in which they record much reggae with influences of Bob Marley and also funk and post punk. The hit was «La rubia tarada», was the biggest success of this LP.

In 1986 they recorded Arriving the monkeys, second disc in which there is reggae, aggressive rock and post punk. There are songs that were hymns like “Bursting from the ocean”, “The Armored Eye” or “Hot TV”. The hit of the album was “Los Viejos Vinagres”. In that same year, they gave an epic concert in Sanitary Works, where they were consecrated as one of the most convincing bands of the moment.

In 1987 they released their third and final album: After Chabón disco, which shows a remarkable maturity in musical and lyrical matters: such is the particular case of “Tomorrow in the Abasto” that together with the minimalist music of his friend, the philosopher and musician Eduardo Sanguinetti, Prodan gives a particular and emotional description of a typical neighborhood of the Federal Capital.


The last recital was in the stadium of Club Atlético Los Andes on December 20, 1987. According to the singer of the band Los Violadores, Pil Trafa, he would say: “Luca was very skinny and pale.” His former teammates later recalled that that night, moments before interpreting a powerful version of “Fuck you”, Luca said: “There goes the last one”. Two days later, on Tuesday, December 22, 1987, he was found dead in his room in the house located on calle Alsina 451, in the neighborhood of San Telmo, which he shared with the musician Marcelo Arbiser. He had suffered cardiac arrest due to severe internal bleeding caused by liver cirrhosis.

The death of Luca occurred in the most fateful decade of Argentine rock, since a few years before had died Alejandro De Michele (May 20, 1983) Pastoral, then Miguel Abuelo (March 26, 1988) and Federico Moura (December 21, 1988), leaders of Los Abuelos de la Nada and Virus, respectively.

Years later the figure of Luca was raised as one of the great myths of Argentine music and is revered by many young people today.

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