The importance of being Autentica

Local event planners focus on keeping it real

Michelle Davis
April 4, 2017 - 19:38

Once more, The Florentine digs deep into the budding scene of young event planners. Making a difference in a city that lives off its glorious past can be challenging but Autentica is, as their name clearly states, all about keeping it real. We spoke with founders Davide Calamai, Francesco Profeti and Edoardo Cantarella and they're determined to leave their fingerprint through music, skateboarding, bottom-up networking and just the right amount of spray paint - this is Florence, after all.

 

The founders of Autentica. From the left: Davide calamai - Francesco Profeti - Edoardo Cantarella The founders of Autentica. From the left: Davide calamai - Francesco Profeti - Edoardo Cantarella

 

 

Michelle Davis: Tell us a bit about yourselves and the story of Autentica.

Music is our main “vector” and it has taught us that there is no such thing as boundaries or unsurpassable walls: music is one and it is therefore international and belongs to everyone.

 

Autentica: Autentica was first conceived in 2013 by a group of young, passionate music lovers. Over the years, the project has taken on a more definite shape, involving and showcasing a growing number of Italian and international artists, deejays, producers, collectors, musicians and writers. Every time someone asks us what “Autentica” is we answer that it isn’t anything exclusive nor sensational - it’s a group of people with different ideas and approaches to music and the arts where the only requirements are passion and humility. We are always ready to invest in projects that we consider “authentic”, where fostering and promoting culture are the ultimate goal, especially when it comes to both live and deejay performances rooted in black music, like hip hop, rap and contemporary R&B. We want to give everyone the chance to express themselves and have fun.

 

MD: In a city like Florence, where the word "Authentic" is used to describe and sell about everything, from museum tickets to slices of ham, what do you consider "Authentic" and why did you choose this name?

 

A: It is unfortunately true that in this modern day and age, the word “Authentic” has become overrated… but this is what we’re all about: bringing back the basics. Ever since the very first day we have been striving to shine a light on what usually remains hidden, invading clubs, squares and skateparks with creativity from the underground. We support and respect bottom-up initiatives because we know that it’s all about dedication and being true to one’s self, which is the very essence of authenticity.

 

One of Autentica's amazing - and packed - live events One of Autentica's amazing - and packed - live events

 

MD: Your events take place in squares, venues, skateparks... is this a way to build a connection between people, cities and creatives? Is this also why you created a radio show - to somehow "educate" and divulge on more levels?

 

A: Networking is definitely our driving force. The events that Autentica has organised in Florence and other cities are meant to function as a sort of binding agent, a way to communicate that we’re so much more than just an event planning agency. We like to exchange ideas, meet new people, establish new partnerships - it is thanks to this ever-growing network that we have been able to grow and improve, both professionally and personally. Being “social” beyond the online concept is at the very core of what we do. Last Christmas, for example, we organised a fund-raising event to help some of our friends who were in need after experiencing a tragic loss, because this is also the power of music.

Networking is also one of the reasons that lead us to the creation of Radio Autentica, a FM show that has been airing for the past two years on Novaradio Città Futura. Every week we share our music selections, host special national and international guests, broadcast live gigs ranging from Soul to Funk, Hip Hop, Jazz, Disco and House. Radio is such an important medium for us and it helps us keep our listeners updated on our upcoming projects and events.

 

MD: Would you also like your events to become a catalyst for intercultural relations, bringing together Florence's underground and the international community, two of our city's realities that are often marginalised?

 

A: Bridging this divide isn’t only important - it is crucial. Unity and exchange are the forces we need to move forward, even as a society. Music is our main “vector” and it has taught us that there is no such thing as boundaries or unsurpassable walls: music is one and it is therefore international and belongs to everyone. As event organisers and music lovers, it would be insane on our part to not include all cultures, especially the ones that have played such an important role in creating the sounds that we’ve voted our lives and energies to. Black music is the ever-changing result of a multi-cultural society and we embrace that notion.

 

Now what could be more authentic than a fingerprint? Autentica's logo says it all. Now what could be more authentic than a fingerprint? Autentica's logo says it all.

 

 

MD: Tell us a bit about your artist-in-residence program "Residenze" and Autentica's upcoming events.

 

A: “Residenze” is just one of the ongoing projects created by Autentica, alongside Autentica Unplugged (a format for live bands), the TAIL project (an active showcase for emerging Hip Hop artists) and a number of skateboarding and snowboarding contests. As for our upcoming events, our next guest will be supplying good vibes for sure: on April 7 we will be featuring American deejay and producer DJ Spinna at Florence’s Full Up Club. He is one of the most important and influential figures of the hip hop scene and has been active since the early nineties, collaborating with top-notch artists like Stevie Wonder. This will be his only Italian stop. But we’re also interested in fostering smaller names and that’s why we created “Residenze” to showcase young, local acts, that are often as good as the “big” international celebrities but just lack the necessary space for growth.

 

MD: Would you say that Florence can be considered "street" or "underground"? What would you like to witness in our city's future?

 

A: Florence is tightly hinged to a past that has absolutely nothing to do with being “street” or “underground”. To be worthy of these definitions you have to really know your surroundings, to delve deep into the city’s urban soul. It’s a full-time relationship; it’s more than just hanging out in the centre on Friday and Saturday evenings. Florence has to understand that it doesn’t have the necessary infrastructures and facilities to take on the cultural movements that have made an impact in other cities. Dj Spinna, for example, is from Brooklyn NYC, the birthplace of street culture. Florence isn’t even remotely comparable to this kind of setting - it doesn’t have a skatepark, its walls were not made for graffiti and it lacks adequate live music structures, apart from the few venues that struggle every day to make ends meet. Florence’s limping attempts to detach itself from the “Renaissance marketability” have been in part unsuccessful, but luckily there are many people who keep striving and work hard on building a path towards the present. We have set our hearts on bringing what is lacking, according to our vision, to this city. However, this has nothing to do with creating an “Underground Florence”, for we’re not interested in dividing or giving power to unnecessary labels and stereotypes. All we need is happiness, opportunity, quality, culture, equality and, last but not least, music. We want to be real, we want to be authentic and we want to represent.

 

 

Find out more about Autentica on their website.

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