Anne's Blog

In Assisi, “Solidarity IS Music”….

Date: October 2, 2016 - categories: , , , - Leave your thoughts

…….….as the black T-shirts of the Florentine jazz musicians, Funk Off, proclaim. And on an early October Sunday, their trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, drums and cymbals blared out the message through Assisi’s medieval alleyways, just In case you’d missed it. The appeal shouted out? To share in three days of music and solidarity sponsored by Umbria Jazz as a benefit for those left homeless in the August 24th earthquake. Over sixty of Italy’s most renowned jazz musicians – often on center stage in Perugia each July during the Umbria Jazz festival – responded immediately to the call to come to Assisi for three days of benefit concerts on September 30, October 1 and October 2. Big names on Italy’s jazz front, all the musicians were listed in yellow lettering on the backs of the T-shirts.

Funk Off blasts out the solidarity message throughout Assisi






American fan, Judy, unites with Funk Off


On the back of the T-shirts, the names of all the musicians

Answering the call to solidarity, wineries, local farmers and grocers provided the foods for a jazz dinner on October 1st (between afternoon and evening shows at Assisi’s theater, Teatro Lyrick) – and for pasta dishes and lentils served on Sunday in Assisi’s main square. All the Umbria specialties of the festival were cooked up and served by volunteers. At the evening jazz concerts, other volunteers sold the black “Musica e e’ Solidarieta’“ T-shirts at the theater entrance. An Assisi hotel, Hotel dei Priori, hosted all the guest musicians. (An astounding show of solidarity as this is “high season” in Assisi; during the week of the Feast of St. Francis, October 4th, hotels are sold out in this town).

At the theater, volunteers serve up dinner between afternoon and evening jazz shows







….and in the Assisi main square, good eating after Funk Off plays:





At the theater, volunteers sell the T-shirts for the earthquake fund



“Why choose Assisi for this Umbria Jazz solidarity event – and not Perugia?” I’d asked the founder of Umbria Jazz Carlo Pagnotta before the Saturday night concert of famed jazz pianist Stefano Bollani. “Because of Assisi’s links to an earthquake: that of September 1997. We sent out a call for solidarity then, too, with musicians playing as a benefit in Foligno.”


With Umbria Jazz founder, Carlo Pagnotta at the Teatro Lyrick, jazz concert venue

Pagnotta in a cheery yellow scarf (black and yellow are signature colors of the Umbria Jazz festival) was in front of the Hotel dei Priori this morning, beaming as the rocking, prancing Funk Off brass band led fans from Piazza Santa Chiara into Assisi’s main square.


Carlo Pagnotta in front of Hotel dei Priori beams as Funk Off arrives…


A Sardinian folk group in colorful traditional costumes joined locals and visitors in clapping to Funk Off’s final number: they’d be performing next (a prelude to the October 4th festivities). Funk Off would be heading on to Norcia to play for those living in tents now following the earthquake.

The Sardinian folk group, too, enjoys Funk Off:





Sardinian folk dancers performed, too, after Funk Off

Funk Off enthused all, of all ages…..





The Funk Off fans lined up in front of our medieval city hall to choose one of three dishes representing areas suffering earthquake damage: pasta all’amatriciana (for Amatrice in Latium, near the epicenter), pasta alla norcina (for Norcia, here in Umbria) or the zuppa di lenticchie, lentil soup of the famed lentils of Castelluccio (here in Umbria, also with quake damage). Smiling volunteers took payments and handed out receipts while others dished up the goodness.

Good foods served by all volunteers in Assisi’s main square:




Musica e solidarieta’. “Music and solidarity.”

Musica e’ solidarieta’. “Music is solidarity.”

Both phrases intertwined in the Umbria Jazz three-day earthquake benefit in Assisi, Musica e e’ solidarieta’.

For three days, memorable jazz and not only: blues, swing, washboard….and tap-dancing, too!















Read more about this solidarity event’s link to Assisi
Read more on Assisi area solidarity
See – and hear – Enrico Rava with Stefano Bollani, two musicians here in Assisi
Feel the emotion of Paolo Fresu’s trumpet, also here for the benefit
See and hear two performers, pianist Danilo Rea playing with Paolo Fresu
Read about – and see!- Funk Off at Umbria Jazz
Click here for more on Funk Off at Umbria Jazz
Read about our amatriciana benefit dinner
Read more about the August 24, 2016 earthquake – and solidarity

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