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.

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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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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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Strada Facendo: The Best of Italian Music

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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!

The Music of Italy: Matteo’s Recommendations

Before I ever visited Italy, the only Italian music I had really ever heard was by Andrea Bocelli or Pavarotti…or was from a commercial for Barilla pasta! And yes, there was an occasional rendition of Santa Lucia, Volare or O Sole Mio.  But the first time I rented a car and turned on the radio and found the station Radio Italia, a whole new and exciting world opened up to me musically. Read more…