Sunday, February 22, 2009


For 59 years the Festival of San Remo in the Italian Riviera has been entertaining, delighting, boring (in some editions) outraging and lightening the hearts of millions in times of thrills and trouble.

The Depression that has struck the world seems to have spurred the Organizers of the Festival to create a different San Remo. A greener and a more compassionate one. Certainly the humanity and compassion that one saw during the 59th edition of the Festival was wondrous to behold.

The young participants impressed me with their talent and their fresh if controversial themes. It shocked few of the 100 million plus watching it throughout the European Union and the globe. And the Americans make a huge to do about the Grammy Awards! Poor, poor dears.

The Festival of San Remo opened with the extraorinary voice of Mina, who is heard but not seen, belting out Puccini's Nessun Dorma from his Opera Turandot. Countless computer images paraded briefly before morphing into our vast galaxy of supernovas, stars, meteorites and planets.

Mina disappeared from public view at the height of her gorgeous looks and legs in 1971. She did a sort of Garbo as far as being seen on television and concert tours was concerned. She concentrated on doing original CD's with covers and graphics as breathtaking as her voice. Her sales are vast because Mina is not just a best seller she is a long seller. She is timeless. Like The Bossman, Frank Sinatra who was one of her most ardent fans, her style and voice spans generations. Like Sinatra, her mentor , her phrasing and breathing is gasp! too marvelous for words.

For the very first time, the Festival presented young singers on the Worldwide Web and anyone could vote. Millions did. Arissa, a young singer/composer who reminded me of a nerdy Nana Mouskouri in looks and in vocal timbre became the first Web winner of San Remo with a catchy melody "Sincerita." Sincerely.

A cute young thing - Marco Carta, all of 24 years old at his very first San Remo, won the First Prize. The public in the Ariston Theater, Televideo and sms helped catapult him to the top. The song was a commercially rythmic rock and roll. Not to my liking but the masses voted more than the classes. That's evident. To hear the song go to:

The critics as critics often do, differed from the rest of the masses and chose a young man with a velvety voice instead who was a superior musician. Now he was good and is definitely jazz material as well.

Kevin Spacey made a splash singing Fly Me To The Moon as a tribute to the Bossman. He loves living in" the coolest city in the world - London", although he frequently comes to Portofino to unwind. Spacey is direcor of Old Vic Theater in London.

"I am thrilled to pieces not to be a slave to any car. Good riddance to them. I love to walk in Hyde Park with my six dogs."

Burt Bacharach - the Father of Pop, who is very popular in Italy played a medley of his greatest hits. The San Remo Orchestra and choir backed him as he played on a concert grand. Lovely.

Karima, an 18 year old Italo-Palestinian girl, with a voice that would put Beyonce under the table in shame, sang her song " Come in ogni ora" As in evey hour, and gave everyone who heard her goose pimples. To hear her lovely song click on the following link:

Roberto Benigni, our Beloved Florentine actor, comic, entertainer and protestor brought the Ariston theater and the rest of us cracking up with laughter with" O Berlusconi( the PM ) do a disappearing act like Mina and become a living legend."

Remember Benigni won the Academy Award as Best Motion Picture in 1999 with "La Vita e Bella." Life is Beautiful.

One of the finalists, Marco Masini sang about "Italia."

It could just as well have been applied to the state of the world in general. " Banksters burn our money. They can't burn our books because we don't read many of them because they're all the same - shitty. We beat up and burn immigrants whose color is not white. We work and work and work, and then we are fired for no reason except for the good of the company's share holders. Our political leaders beggar the criminals. They kill, steal, cheat,lie and send us to our deaths in fetid and inglorious battlefields. Our lives are mortgaged, our future is mortgaged and even our tears are like time payments."

Masini did not win. I did not expect him to. But millions are listening to his prophetic words on the internet. In times of trouble people want Entertainment. As they song goes...The world is a place, the place is a world of Entertainment.

In any other country but Italy, the singer would never have been allowed on stage. He would now be on his way to Bagram or to another not so secret torture camp for being subversive and inciting the populace to commit rebellious acts. Of couse he did not, but the Watchers and the Deciders are brainless humans. Only doctrine, THE Rules and Regs matter.

Rockers, and I am using this word in all the meanings it can convey really do rock the world. They are dangerous people. Off with their heads! That's the unspoken Mantra of the Masters.

Bravo for this singer called Marco Masini.. Leonardo (da Vinci) would have been proud for he was an anarchist and an individualist.

"I ain't never taking no shit from nobody," Leonardo would have declared had he known gang/ghetto talk.

Which is why all this chitchat and claptrap books about Leonardo being an Illuminatus is a crock of elephant dung. He despised humans and disdained their company most of the time. He was not a man oozing with charm from every pore. There is no way in hell or heaven that Leonardo would have tolerated being in a roomful of men and not simply because he was an authentic Genius and Renaissance man. They bored him, irritated him and drove him up the wall. Illuminati indeed! It would have been a club of one.

The festival of San Remo made us forget if only for a brief time, that the world we knew only yesterday is already, in a sense, long gone.

Many of the great performers of our age have played here. For a quick overview of some of those performances please cut and paste the following link into your web browser (for some reason the direct link is not working):

It was truly delightful and I promise you sheer lightness, frivolity in the best sense of the word and great fun.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of Leonardo the misanthrope, here's Monty Python's take on why creative geniuses need a lot of solitude:


Isabel Van Fechtmann

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