La bella Roma

The show last night in Rome was quite an amazing experience. The venue was an old church right in the centre the city. In many ways the acoustics of churches make performing challenging when amplified through a PA, but singing in that room was just something else. I guess it stands to reason that the acoustics are specifically designed to carry voice, but you really do feel it when you sing out. Its as though there is a particular character of the sound which its just impossible to create or hear in any other environment.

Just being in Rome is always wonderful. To see the modern meeting with the ancient is something which we are not accustomed to experiencing in Australia. The city feels like a history theme park with another incredible building or monument around every single corner. As usual, we barely had any time to do any sightseeing - just half an hour between soundcheck and the show to walk around. But it was still great to be there.

For anyone who has followed our travels and touring troubles over the years, you will be amused to know that we lost about an hour this morning trying to find a mechanic to investigate the warning light on the dashboard of the van saying that we had too much oil! Apparently you can have too much of a good thing after all. Our tour manager Leonardo is extremely diligent, so it was good to get reassurance as we are currently in the midst of a 7 hour drive to Torino for a our last show of the tour, and we’ll be pleased not to be stuck on the highway, or to blow up yet another van.

A great tradition of touring in Italy which we have been very pleased to see continue is having dinners provided in the venue, where we eat all together with the promoter and the crew. Last night the mother of the promoter made a smorgasbord of typical Roman cuisine and was there to talk us through each of the dishes. And there is nothing like being fed by an Italian mamma. It’s the best. Bologna and Milan were also great for this (although without the mamma). The venues are totally set up for it and someone comes in especially to cook. It creates an atmosphere of communion to eat together, and it is just another part of what makes playing in Italy so special.

Our concert the night before in Pescara was also a really great. It was our fourth time there, and always working with the same promoter, Paolo. Each time we have played in different, interesting places, and this time was no different. We were in a theatre attached to a museum, and we were lucky to get an exclusive tour. Some of the old relics, such as the intricate lace work which the women used to sew, really reminded me of my grandparents who were from Sicily. Paolo was an excellent guide as he took us around the museum, mixing his calm and cool style with a real appreciation for the local history and culture. We were lucky that he had a free day and tagged along with us to Rome, so the great insights and conversations continued all along the road to Rome, and long into the night.

Its hard to believe that the tour is almost over. It has been so good to be back and reconnecting with old friends and fans. It feels like almost everyone has a story of where they saw us over the years, sometimes with photos (actual photos, as our past tours predated smart phones). Last night there was someone who came to see us at Circolo Degli Artisti when she was 15, and she is now an adult. And also there was a couple who bought along their 6 and 4 year old children, who obviously weren’t around when they came to see us before. Its really nice that we are moving through life together with these people, and it seems that somehow our music represents a thread which brings people and memories back together. It will be a privilege, and hopefully an opportunity we an take, to return before too long to continue our story.

Chiesa Evangelica Valdese in Rome

Chiesa Evangelica Valdese in Rome

Karl getting into the swing of things with the pacing and talking on the phone. His transformation into an Italian is almost complete.

Karl getting into the swing of things with the pacing and talking on the phone. His transformation into an Italian is almost complete.

Cena della mamma in Rome, and our friend Marco from Naples who is with Gareth Dickson on tour.

Cena della mamma in Rome, and our friend Marco from Naples who is with Gareth Dickson on tour.

Four mechanics are better than one. Helping us make sure that too much oil won't hinder our progress to Turin

Four mechanics are better than one. Helping us make sure that too much oil won't hinder our progress to Turin

Roma
Paolo di Pescara

Paolo di Pescara

Pete Cohen

Melbourne, Australia