San Remo Festival 2009 ~ Romancing Italy

Feb 21, 2009

San Remo Festival 2009

San Remo Festival is a gathering of artists presenting their new music to the world. It's not just Italians singing, as I listened to a duo from the States sing their hearts out.

Tonight is a big night here in Italy and as well in the States. It's Oscar night! There is definitely a cross over that is more evident to me this year, perhaps because I am in Italy where they are eagerly covering the Italian infiltration in Hollywood.

San Remo has run for several nights with newcomers to the scene as well as the popular and already well-loved such as Patty Bravo (who incidentally is singing as I write). The public is invited to text or call in their vote for their favorite(s) of the evening. Sound familiar?

A number of performers with the highest votes return to sing another night BUT they sing the same song they are introducing to the public. For example, Pavio's composition of "Luca era Gay" (Luca was Gay), sung a couple nights ago, won enough votes for him to return to tonight's finale and sing it once again. But this time it goes up against the other favorites.

I've been told that the festival has lost its following over the years. Right at that moment a man was bellowing out a particularly horrible piece of noise and I thought "well, no wonder". I can't say that anymore...the riff raff has been sorted out and the music tonight is lovely to listen to and entertaining.

This year, in an attempt to revive the festival's appeal, they have a popular comic and host, Paolo Bonolis, as the master of ceremonies. If his lighthearted humor and stand-up comedy doesn't do the trick, the guests should help...particularly when Hugh Heffner and his four bunnies were invited. I am sure there was some disappointment that there were no tall ears and white bunny tails to be seen. However, since nudity is a part of the Playmate life, the appearance of a woman clad in a cat suit was no surprise. Oh wait....that's not a's body paint!!!! Right after she approaced Hugh from the audience, two burly security guards quickly escorted her out.

Kevin Spacey made an appearance and sang "My Way" which was so American I wanted to go home. An American father and son (I came in late and didn't get their names), were entered but despite their joyful and loving performance, did not make it to the final. Perhaps the fact the Italian public did not understand the words might have had something to do with it.

Caroline Rice from Weeds fame also made a comic appearance. I always think my Italian has drastically improved when someone speaks in English....before I realize they spoke in English.

Arisa, a strange looking young woman, who resembled an animation come alive, won the new artist category. I want to find something nice to say about her because she seemed so timid and this must have been a great moment for her. Only her eyes, lined in black and framed by thick black frames, moved side to side. Her lips stood out in bright reddish orange and her body never swayed, never moved. Her song? Sincerita' or as you might guess "Sincerity".

There will be three winners for the festival....but only after they eat up the four plus hours allotted. I'll have to learn about it in the morning.


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