Yes it certainly does rock! Ok, you may think of our nice little mountain towns as the ideal places to relax, far away from the city stress and traffic, good, fresh air and restful nights – you would be spot on, because we definitely have all of the above. But it would be an error to believe that we are only about peaceful country walks or dancing to waltzes and polkas – the young (and not so young!) people around here are every bit as lively as the rest of them, and amongst the many attractions to be found during the summer months, you can come across some very exciting concerts.
One such event took place in August in Borgotaro, a neighbouring town. A group of “youngsters” in their forties, who have been playing together since they were schoolboys, made a very special occasion out of a warm summer evening. They set up their band named “Espressione Libera” (Free Expression) many years ago and have been whopping it out ever since, but there was something they wanted to share with their fans; the concert was a celebration of their 25 years of musical activity, during which they all greatly matured as singers, musicians and composers.
Chris Arpino, a great singer and guitarist, was born in England – a big advantage when tackling anything in English!; Emanuele Curà plays the keyboards, sings and brilliantly composes many of their original songs; Andrea Boscarelli, the mad hatter of the group (there is always one, but in this case the other three come in close behind!), sings and majestically plays the bass guitar or whatever may be on hand, be it a bongo drum or a drainpipe. And last but not least, Paolo Murena – probably the more serious of the foursome, but nonetheless, equally as brilliant – at the drums and vocals.
So what is their style? They range from covers of the Police hits (Roxanne, So lonely and Walking on the Moon) to Bonjovi (Living on a Prayer), U2 (One), and David Guetta’s Titanium. They willingly make the local audience happy by including some very popular Italian contemporary classics such as Lucio Battisti, Alex Britti, Jovanotti and Vasco Rossi, but the most unusual choice for a rock group was a worthy rendition of “Meraviglioso”, written and made world-famous by one of Italy’s most well-known crooners – Domenico Modugno. This got the more elderly amongst the spectators a little glossy-eyed, if not teary, but this particular version had a modern touch to it, which appealed to both young and old.
The square was full to the brim, all their fans showed up to celebrate the “boys”, who thoroughly entertained the crowd not only with their great music, but also by telling funny anecdotes in between, pulling each other’s legs and joking amongst themselves. There were moments when everyone was singing along and others of almost religious silence, and when the concert sadly came to an end, there were thunderous applauses and cries of “bis, bis”! Of course, just like any self-respecting group, they already had something up their sleeve, and they gave it as good as they had! At that point the show was over, but the “Espressione Libera” were extremely proud and satisfied with how their special evening had turned out, and promised that they would be back very soon! We’ll look forward to that…..oh yes folks – THE SUMMER ROCKS!