South Florida got a taste of Italian style on Saturday night, or as they might say, un assaggio di stile italiano
, at an all Italian musical showcase in Hollywood. Dubbed Hit Week
, the traveling fest brings top contemporary Italian acts to major cities in the U.S. and around the world. The goal is to show us stereotyping Westerners that Italian music doesn't necessarily mean a chubby, mustachioed mandolin player crooning "O Sole Mio
" while weaving through Venice canals on an ornate paddleboat.
Hit Week's Broward edition brought Alessandro Mannarino, Negrita, and Subsonica to the Arts Park
Amphitheater in downtown Hollywood for a full evening of free music. That's right, it was completely free. And
you could bring your own booze.
All major players in the contemporary Italian rock scene, each group served up their own unique flavor to the mixed bag of attendees, ranging from Italian-born aficionados to curious families looking for someplace to get the kids outside on a Saturday night.
Miami-based Rhythm Foundation
, whose central goal is to book big time, quality musical acts in our area produced Hollywood's Hit Week show. Including putting on a huge Manu Chao concert
in Miami last year
, the foundation constantly contributes to the vibrancy of the music scene in our corner of the continent.
"This concert is 100% Italian all the way, and not just for the performers. So many people here to watch are Italian or have roots in the country," said Adam Ganuza of Rhythm Foundation when we stopped by their booth for a chat. We did discover his observation to be quite true in the pit closest to the stage, where at least 100 people within the crowd were enthusiastically singing along to every song in perfect Italian.
The show was free due to the efforts of Rhythm Foundation and sponsorship offerings from the City of Hollywood and Ferrari, among others, explained Ganuza. Hit Week shows in New York and Washington D.C. cost $45, so us South Floridians definitely got a cheapskate break.
Alessandro Mannarino got the night going at 7 p.m. with his delightful blend of folky, danceable storytelling. Now, if only we could have understood the storytelling. At one point, Alessandro attempted to introduce a tune in broken English, explaining, "This is about a man who cuts himself..." only to trail off, thinking it better to leave the subject matter to the imagination. We agree. Either way, the music was impressive. He was packin' a full ensemble of guitar, upright bass, trombone, accordion, and keyboard, to awesome effect.