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Bass therapy gets Romans dancing and laughing in face of lockdown

Electric violonist Andrea Casta (center) performs in the courtyard of a popular apartment building for the show Sotto lo Stesso Cielo tour (Under the same sky tour) in San Basilio suburbs of Rome. – AFP photo

Laughing in the face of the coronavirus lockdown gripping Italy a troupe of performers complete with DJ and thumping-bass sound system is bringing dance fever and comedy to Rome’s densely-packed working class neighborhoods. Residents of all ages in the Italian capital’s San Basilio district threw open their windows to take in the “Under the same sky” show being performed in their very own pine-filled courtyard. “It’s a very popular show. We have a DJ, I play songs to get them dancing, even at their windows,” the group’s star, electric violinist Andrea Casta, told AFPTV.

“We alternate with the cabaret and a comedian. We also invited a singer from the neighborhood. It’s an open space and we’ll continue to go to the suburbs of Rome and to other cities.” The performers also dropped by The Corviale, a vast housing development on the outskirts of the city, to the delight of residents happy to escape for an hour while respecting social distancing rules. “Having ordinary people on the balcony is better than seeing the rich on the balconies at theatres, who have the possibility of living this situation more easily,” explained well-known comedian Antonio Giuliani. “Besides, we don’t go to their areas, we only go to working-class neighborhoods.”

Bringing the show home
In the courtyard, a few people dance and clap their hands, their smiles hidden behind face masks. But the real show is up above, at each window, where residents sing, laugh at off-colour jokes, and wave their lit-up mobile phones as if at a rock concert, calling out for more. “The children can’t leave the house. Sometimes we make them go down a bit with masks. But this is a beautiful moment, a moment for all, everyone has fun,” said Adriano Sindaco, enjoying the show with his daughter Giada. “These circumstances unite us, they don’t divide. Often there is isolation but here, we can meet,” added Anarita Napoli, her mouth covered with a mask.

“In normal times, everyone wants to go out to go to the theatre, to the pub, to listen to an artist. At the moment, they can’t go out, so we bring the show to their homes,” said guitarist Casta. Fellow entertainer Antonio Sindaco hopes he will not have to run “Under the same sky” in too many neighborhoods. “It will mean that we are cured, that there is no longer this virus and that we can return to normal life,” he said. “Otherwise we will continue, but with people this time one or two meters apart and outside. Always for free and for the poorer districts of Rome.” – AFP

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