Whenever I travel to new places, I try to get a sense of the culture through things such as art, food, and music. On my first trip to Hawaii back in 1994, I became captivated by Hawaiian music, which seemed to be experiencing a Renaissance in popularity as a number of young and talented artists explored traditional Hawaiian music and energized it with a contemporary feel.
A couple of years ago I had the amazing opportunity to create my own radio show for Dominican University of California’s Penguin Radio. Under the excellent guidance and with the enthusiastic encouragement of Leona George-Davidson, a Humanities and Cultural Studies major with a concentration in Communications, I developed and recorded a 10 episode radio program called, Strada Facendo which I hosted as my Italian alter-ego, “Matteo”. The programs showcase the Italian pop music that I have grown to love over the years, and also feature stories about Italy and some simple lessons on the Italian language by Dominican foreign language instructor Kate “Katerina” Rider. In some of the later episodes, some of my friends from Italy appear in promos for the show or to help Kate with a language lesson. All 10 installments of Strada Facendo are housed on the Dominican University of California’s Penguin Radio webpage and can be accessed here: Take me to Strada Facendo!
Anyone considering a visit to Italy or who is trying to study the Italian language might want to give these programs a listen. I have found that by regularly listening to Italian music I’ve been able to expand my vocabulary and improve my comprehension of the Italian. And there is some excellent music coming from this dynamic country! Enjoy!
In my experience, life in general has many funny little ironies, and travel is one area of life where fate loves to have the last laugh. I had just arrived in Helsinki, Finland for a first visit to this Scandinavian capital and then planned to fly 500 miles north to Ivalo in Lapland, a region north of the Arctic Circle that covers parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. There I would be staying on a Husky Farm… not a refuge for overweight people, but a place where they raise and train huskies for dog-sledding. Visions of being pulled on a sled through forests covered in snow by six loyal pooches danced through my head – until I got the e-mail from the folks at the husky farm. “We have no snow here yet. There will be no opportunity for any dog-sled trips.”