Spontaneous sounds

Locals getting personal with music

Editorial Staff
April 3, 2008

What better way to enjoy the resonance of live acoustics than in the comfort of your home? Word has quickly spread throughout the city as many Florentines are being introduced to an American and English musical phenomenon: the house concert. Based on the ‘secret gigs' gaining popularity in the US and UK, a house concert is a spontaneous get-together of musicians and music lovers in a private residence or other intimate, informal setting where the audience and performers can interact. The audience, usually about 40 to 50 fans sitting wherever there is room, hears roughly 45 minutes of a live, acoustic performance of pop, folk or rock music. Sometimes the audience knows the artist's identity beforehand, and sometimes it remains a secret until a just few moments before the concert. Spectators eat, drink and mingle before and after the performance.

 

Both musicians and fans alike find the experience more fulfilling than the standard, large-scale concert or impersonal pub.

 

With the Florence launch of Salotto Live in February 2007, the phenomenon has not only spread to Milan and Rome but the musicians are ever more impressive. As Florentines are increasingly opening up their apartments, offices and studios to host live performances, local organizers Claudio Ricoli and Paola Iafelice continue to be faithful to the original philosophy of the house concert: the location of each performance remains a closely guarded secret until just a few hours before the concert begins.

 

Ricoli and Iafelice also follow house concert protocol. Concerts generally run between 8:30pm and 10:30pm, so that neighbours are not disturbed. Although an entrance fee is not obligatory, attendees usually donate about 10 euro to help finance the event. Some also bring a bottle of wine to help wash down the food offered.

 

The performances are organized virtually, from reservations, which are made online, to confirmation, which is sent by text message. The first people to book receive the address of the venue. As Ricoli explained in an interview with DJs from Radio Viva FM, the event is not a party, but a bona fide concert, which is ‘inclusive, not exclusive, mainly because it functions on a first come, first served basis'.

 

In speaking with The Florentine, Iafelice described why they became involved: ‘We do it exclusively for passion, mainly, because it is very time-consuming to organize these itinerant concerts and interest in them keeps growing...all of the donations we receive are used to cover organizational costs so it is difficult to earn anything from the events organized-so yes, we definitely do it due to a passion for music, but also to create a more intimate setting where fans can freely interact with musicians and vice versa'. Boasting more than 40 concerts to date, Salotto Live risks becoming an essential element of Florentine nightlife.

 

Those interested in attending house concerts can reserve a place online at the Salotto Live website: www.salottolive.it

Those interested in hosting a house concert can email [email protected]

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