On the occasion of the 22nd Week of Italian Language in the World, which this year has the theme ‘Italian and youth’, the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco hosted an intimate concert by Italian singer-songwriter Diodato. The artist performed for the first time in San Francisco at the new headquarters of INNOVIT – the centre of Italian culture and innovation in the world – on whose façade the logo of the nation branding campaign, ‘Italy is simply extraordinary: beIT‘, was projected for the occasion.
Winner of the 70th Sanremo Music Festival, 2020 Eurovision finalist and MTV’s best Italian artist, Diodato (voice and acoustic guitar) sang to the accompaniment of violin virtuoso and acclaimed conductor Rodrigo D’Erasmo. The duo performed unreleased songs with lyrics written specifically for the Week of Italian Language in the World. Diodato arrived in the United States after an 18-date sell-out European tour.
After the moving candlelit performance, we caught up with Diodato, who gave us some brief impressions of the concert and of his experience in America.
How did you find performing in the new INNOVIT headquarters, this Italian centre of innovation and culture, in the week dedicated to the Italian language, of which you have become a global ambassador, along with Italian culture, through your music?
It was truly wonderful. There was a great atmosphere, a very strong energy. So many people who came to listen attentively and ready to express their enthusiasm, to share their feelings. This journey, which has brought me this far, has also made me happy because it gives me the feeling that I am doing something, even something very small, for our culture. Loads of people have told me that they’re learning Italian thanks to my songs and I couldn’t believe it. It’s a great honour.
How was your experience of touring in North America? The reception and public reaction?
I found a really enthusiastic audience, many Italians but really a lot of Americans, people from all cultures and backgrounds and it was fantastic to be part of this wonderful melting pot.
Would you like to tell us something interesting or something that happened on tour that struck you particularly and made you think?
I looked around a lot, I tried to enter, as much as possible, into the everyday life of Americans. It’s wonderful to see such a mix of cultures. There is clearly also a certain social tension and I got the feeling that the gap between rich and poor is widening dramatically. I saw so many people sleeping and living on the street. I also sensed little care for what is happening to the planet. The energy exploitation in a city like New York, for example, is really staggering and vastly overshadows the efforts we are making in Europe. It’s enough just to think of the extreme use of air conditioning and the excessive blinding lights in the various downtown areas.