I was searching for Italian covers of popular International songs for the fun of it, and I couldn’t believe what I found. In the 60′s and early 70′s there was a huge trend for covers. Some are absolutely fantastic, while others are… well, they should have been left alone. I found everything from “I’m a Believer” to “California Dreamin”. From “Crimson and Clover to” “Sugar Sugar”, and from “House of the Rising Sun” to “Summer Lovin” from Grease! A few of them are even by the original artist! Look for Diana Ross singing in Italian, and well as David Bowie performing an Italian version of “Space Oddity”. So I created a playlist of everything I found on Youtube, and here it is. I hope you have as much fun as I did!
The festival was not at all what I had expected. I honestly thought that it would be a cute little festival with a few nights of music, headed by some local Italian jazz musicians. Instead, it turned out to be a major International event.
Roughly 1,400 musicians from across the globe appeared in a series of concerts every night for nearly a full month. Some were young musicians that came to learn in the workshops or participate in competition for the Jimmy Woode prize, and some were seasoned jazz musicians that saw this as a truly international event. Some of the bigger names included Jimmy Woode’s daughter, Shawnn Monteiro, Benny Golson, Joey De Francesco, Jimmy Cobb, Buster Williams, George Cables, Bobby Durham, Jesse Davis, Giorgio Rosciglione, Gegè Munari, Eddy Palermo, Piero Odorici, Massimo Faraò and John Kinnison.
Aside from the nightly concerts, every night after midnight, Soriano’s Rotezzia Pub, a large pub that is made from a series of connecting grottos and caverns, would host the nightly jam sessions. Here, artists would get up and perform at random until daybreak every night.
In all, it is said that 70,000 spectators came to Soriano for the concerts. In fact, Soriano reached critical mass by the second week, when there were no more rooms available and people were renting spare bedrooms out of desperation. Word to the wise: Reserve early if you plan to attend in 2008.
The festival built up to a single ‘main event’ night one Saturday, when Soriano hosted its ‘Notte Bianca’ (White Night). On this night, all stores were open until 5:00 AM, street vendors were out all night, several outdoor taverns were erected to serve grilled sausages, pasta, etc., and six stages were setup all over town to host an all-night event with 40 concerts.
All in all, this was by far the most impressive event I have ever seen in Soriano. I’m already counting the days till next year’s festival…. It was a huge success, and will be here for at least the next five years.