Finding Voice – On the Streets

Part two of my journey to Finding Voice in Italy.

Florence gave me the Gospel
It also gave me the chance to re-find my voice for Jazz and blues.

In-between teaching English to little Italian kids, I used to busk on the streets of Florence,
sing in an international Gospel choir, did a bit of modelling, and played some of the local music bars.

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Baritone Ukulele – my travelling instrument.
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During one of my ‘informal’ English teaching sessions.
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Taught this little Italian beauty how to drink tea, the English way. Pinkies up!
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With friends after my first Italian gig.

One day I cycled down to one of my usual busking spots,
down under one of the medieval gatehouses on the edge of the city,
one of the few spot where the polizia didn’t pass by regularly
(busking in Florence is illegal – unless you have a permit – which I of course didn’t),
and started singing my usual set of songs – a mixture of jazz, soul, swing,
folk and original material.

I was half-way through a new song I’d just written when a lady,
walking by, stopped suddenly to watch.
She watched the whole song, sort of scrutinising, which made me think
she was probably a musician herself checking out the competition.
Especially as she had such long, luscious dreadlocks.

Anyway, next she starts explaining, in Italian, that she owns a bar
– the oldest music venue in the city –
and would I like to play a set??

Would I!

My Italian wasn’t so incredible at the time, but I thought I’d understood correctly.
And that was how I got my first Italian gig…

Here is my debut at Eskimo Club, Florence –

I was asked to sing a quick song, to see how the punters responded.
I sung jazz, of course… What would you do?

J x


Eskimo Club – Via dè Canacci, 12, 50100 Firenze, Italy.
Open 9.00 pm till 3.00 am.

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