Farewell to Another Musical Legend: Christine McVie

Just a few months ago the world lost singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, and I took the loss very personally. Her music was an integral part of my teenage years and got me through some difficult times, and I was saddened by the fact that she had lost her decades-long battle with breast cancer. Her loss also made me more aware of my own mortality, since she was only 10 years older than me. Little did I know that I’d soon be saying farewell to another beloved entertainer whose music is so much a part of my identity that when news of her death made headlines this week, I received several messages from friends who were wondering how I was coping with the loss. Yes, this week we lost Christine McVie, keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter for Fleetwood Mac. She was 79 years old, and her death seemed to be sudden and unexpected, reports saying she had passed away after a brief illness.

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Taking the Voyage with ABBA

I just returned from my first trip to Europe in several years. My primary destination was Italy, but given how easy it is to “hop” around Europe fairly cheaply once you’re across the Atlantic, I decided that while I was in “the neighborhood”, I simply had to go to London to see ABBA’s innovative concert/show/spectacle, and so I planned a two night stop-over in London for that purpose.

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I Still Have Faith in ABBA!

Because I turned 18 years old in 1976, my musical tastes have always been firmly grounded in music of the late 1970s. For the majority of my adult life, as I described in a previous post, Fleetwood Mac was by far my favorite band, but two other groups also come to mind when reflecting upon my musical preferences: Blondie and ABBA.

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Strada Facendo: The Best of Italian Music


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”.

Vieni con me… sulla Strada Facendo…”

Listen to the Sounds of the Hawaiian Islands with “Catchin’ a Wave”

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.


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The End of the Road? My Journey with Fleetwood Mac

Warning: Other than the title, this blog post is not about travel. It is about my long term devotion to the group Fleetwood Mac. If you’re a fan, or you want to learn about the band, you may enjoy this. If not, you’ll probably be happier back in the Travel Blogs section!  😊

Fleetwood Mac Rumours Back
John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie   Fleetwood Mac circa 1976

It all started in 1975…

Don’t Forget the Music! Every Trip Needs a Soundtrack

I wish I could remember the exact quote and its source, but I recall reading a passage about someone who saw the Grand Canyon for the very first time and was of course overwhelmed by the sight of it, but couldn’t help but feel that something was missing about the experience. And then they realized that what was lacking was MUSIC. Prior to visiting the actual place, this person had seen many documentaries about the canyon and the images were backed by a swelling soundtrack that was missing at the canyon itself. I have always been amused by that story, because for me, music has always been something that enhances my travel experiences; however, for me it has to be just the RIGHT music for the place.

As soon as I hop in my Fiat 500 rental car and drive off from the airport in Rome or Venice, the only thing that I want to listen to is my favorite Italian music, either on Radio Italia, which plays only Italian music 24/7, or on one of the many CDs I pack in my luggage for such a trip. Music is an important part of any culture and it seems to me that listening to songs being sung in Italian and becoming familiar with some of the artists that are most popular gives me more insight into Italy and its people. Over many visits to Italy I have amassed an impressive collection of music and attended several concerts by Italian artists. So now, whether I’m driving the autostrada at breakneck speeds, fighting traffic on the clogged arteries of Rome or Milan, or ambling through the Tuscan countryside the familiar voices of artists like Eros Ramazzotti, Giorgia, Laura Pausini and Tiziano Ferro make me feel like I have an old friend in the car with me and give me that sense of familiarity and “home.”

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Lo Stadio – An Evening at San Siro with Tiziano Ferro

I’ve been following Italian pop music since my first visit to Italy in 1998, and over the years have discovered a number of amazingly talented singers and songwriters that I now follow regularly. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have the chance to see some of them in concerts both in the U.S. and in Italy. So far I have seen Eros Ramazzotti twice, and both Laura Pausini, and Giorgia once. But another of my favorite artists, Tiziano Ferro has been more elusive…

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