Postcards from Prato

Shannon Livewell

The music scene here in Prato, Tuscany is much more prominent than I expected. During our first couple nights here, our director (Kevin Murphy) introduced us to a pub called Keller Platz. The atmosphere is amazing and it might have some of the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.

The following night a Queen tribute was taking place at the pub, so the owner reserved a few tables for us and we piled in to the packed restaurant. It was amazing that the place we ate in a night before was suddenly a live concert venue with one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard. The show was incredible and the party didn’t stop all night. It is hard to do Freddie Mercury justice in a tribute to one of the greatest bands ever formed, but the lead singer definitely did a great job of holding his own.

The guitar solos were incredible and so unexpected by the looks of the timid band when they first stepped on stage. It was so crazy to hear “gracie!” after every song rather than “thank you!” I think that’s when it really clicked that I was in Italy at a local bar watching an Italian band perform a set that is a collection of some of the greatest American pop songs.

Italy has a strong appreciation for American music, and though they have their own music scene, the songs that are big in America find their way across the world fairly quickly. The number one song in Italy right now is “Diamonds” by Rhianna, so that goes to show that they are a little behind when it comes to music releases. It is baffling when you are in a restaurant or a store and all that is on the radio are American songs being sung in English. Most Italians know some English, but even the ones that don’t can sing every word to a popular American song, even if they do not understand a word they are saying. This made me realize how universal music is and how it can touch the souls of so many different people and cultures.

I learned that Keller has live shows like this every weekend, and next week will be a tribute to U2, which is my all-time favorite band! Adjusting to the time change has been the only tough thing about this experience so far. Prato is an absolutely beautiful city alive with culture and a certain energy that can make any tourist never want to leave.

As I get more settled in I can promise I’ll be attending more concerts and having some interviews for you all. For now though, I’d take a trip to Google and check out some of the local bands on Keller Platz’s website. They have a long list of local Italian bands that perform mostly American pop music better than some American bands, and I cannot wait to get more involved in the music scene over here.