JAZZ IN SAN VENANZO
And just when you think things are going to finally calm down, something else comes up! Tuesday evening I was on my way to the garage when I heard a jazz band playing. I was pretty sure it was NOT the town band, and when I saw Armando standing in the little park across the street, straining his neck to see where the music was coming from, I asked him "Who's playing? Are we having a concert tonight?" He said he didn't now who it was or why they were playing, but as I rounded the corner I saw a group of guys dressed in black go marching down the street while playing more of the music.
By this time Art had come out of the house and said "Go get your camera and we'll see what's happening!" I ran into the house to get my little digital that can make short videos and off we went in search of the music.
Apparently the music had attracted lots of other people, so in addition to the expected pre-holiday activity on main street, many others were milling about, just as curious as we were. I saw some of the guys...young men in their early 20's, I think, go into Davide's, the big butcher shop. Because it was crowded I waited outside to see what would happen next, and I have to admit I was a little surprised when they emerged from the shop eating chunks of salami!
I asked them if they knew "YouTube" and they said "Of course!", so I held up my camera and said "I'm ready!". They told me they'd play again in a few minutes, then one of the guys asked me...in ENGLISH!...where I was from. I told him that we lived in San Venanzo, but that we were originally from Kentucky. He told me that he'd been to Chicago and gave me one of their cards. The name of the band is PERUGIA FUNK-ING BAND , and their music is funky, sort of New Orleans-style jazz, lots of fun to listen to.
Meanwhile Art was talking to other people and found out that two of the band members were brothers from San Venanzo. The band was scheduled to play a concert at a park further up the road, so I guess they just stopped by for some refreshments along the way, or maybe it was just a snack before dinner. The parks department has been sponsoring weekend concerts all summer long in the SetteFrati park, and because Ferragosto was the next day, there was also a concert scheduled for that night.
Ferragosto, for those who don't know, is the biggest summer holiday in Italy. Now typically most Italians take the entire month of August for vacation, going to the seashore, or perhaps to a family house in the mountains where it's cooler. For those poor souls who must work in August, ferragosto gives them at least a short break, and since it fell on Wednesday this year, many made a long weekend before, a long weekend after, and some even took the entire week. If you're planning a trip to Italy in August, be warned that many places will be closed, and even more around the 15th of the month!
So...by now the band has wandered over to the little grocery store and was having something to drink. As usual in Italy, no one was in a hurry, which was good news since the crowd was now spilling onto the street, turning it into a one lane road. People took the opportunity to talk with friends, and our friend Mirella asked Art "Why does everything always happen down here? why don't we ever get some fun up where we live?" Of course most of the concerts and special events ARE performed in the upper piazza, but certainly there's a lot more going on down on the main drag. Along a small section of that road are the pharmacy, the bakery, the butcher shop, the post office, a grocery store and two bars, so as you can imagine, there are a lot of people coming and going all the time!
Eventually the band performed again and played one last piece as they marched down the road and back to their cars. We really wanted to go to the concert, but we knew that the next day would start very early and last a long time (we were cooking both breakfast AND lunch for our American 'friends'), so we decided not to go. Well, at least we had a mini-concert just around the corner from our house!