Saturday, February 1, 2014

Viva la Musica

This post goes back to a day in our Italian language class that occurred before Christmas. After learning about Italian writers, artists, fashion designers, inventors and musicians, we were asked by our teacher what great things did our country give the world? We had just a moment to think of something. We were kinda dumbfounded because there is so much stuff America can be credited or blamed for! And no one country really starts anything by itself. Di came up with Hollywood and how America brought big film-making to the world. I mentioned Henry Ford and his assembly line to manufacture autos. 

Good ideas?  I was fortunate to help manage Timberline Lodge in Oregon when I was with the Forest Service. It's not just a great historic building--Timberline was built by the government during the great depression to put people to work while creating valuable properties. The Work Projects Administration and Civilian Conservation Corp programs gave meaningful jobs to hundreds of thousands of people. Their work created hydroelectric dams, trails, libraries and even mountain ski lodges that have benefitted the American public to this time.  Maybe that successful model/idea of government spending to create growth is something the EU Parliament could try today – instead of austerity that is not doing so well?!

In hindsight after the class, we both agreed that America also introduced some great music to the world. Jazz, blues, and rock & roll. Today, that music is global and still going strong, including in our village of Santa Domenica Talao: 

Sorry there’s no sound. The band is called Infinity. They remind us of a similar band in Oregon we enjoyed called Cheap Local Band that also featured “mature” musicians. The drummer from that group watches Facebook and may have to comment! An Italian-American, he was the “kid” in that band.

Our friend and plumber, Gigino, is lead guitar.  Because this show was in the village parking structure, I asked him and Angelo if they were a “garage band”. Once they understood me, they thought they are a “banda di magazzino” which is a storage place, work room or sometimes a parking spot. Gino switched between 3 different chitarre and played well on each.
Domenico, our electrician on keyboards, is from Papasidero. Singing is Franco. Drumming is Angelo. Bass guitar is Teo. These three ragazzi are from Scalea. All five are very good. 

Early in the show I was humming along to a song I remembered, but couldn’t place because of the Italian words. The song was “Eve of Destruction” from about 40 years ago. Original lyrics by Bob Dylan. I saw Barry McGuire perform the song when I was at university in the state of Utah. 

Now we were listening to our local guys in Calabria play it again. Cool. I wonder if this type of music will live on along with the classical music of Europe. I wonder if they know about the anti-war movement that Di and I lived through with this music? Remember Vietnam?
American folk music may not have been important to Europe. It was good for us in the 1960’s and this week we remember it with the passing of the great Pete Seeger who inspired so many musicians.

It was a rare fun January night in Santa Domenica Talao. By the way, they started at 1830. In summer, most entertainment starts after dinner around 2200, so this was different. Grazie InfinityViva musica!!   Ciao a presto, Guido

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