Fri | Jun 5, 2020

‘Power of reggae keeps many Italians going’ - Music practitioners speak about COVID-19 crisis in their country

Published:Monday | April 6, 2020 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Staff Reporter
Italian reggae musician Pablo Morelove
Italian tour manager/promoter Eugenia Conti
Italian tour manager/promoter Eugenia Conti and dancehall artiste Masicka.
Italian tour manager/promoter Eugenia Conti and reggae sensation, Koffee.
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PABLO MORELOVE and Eugenia Conti are music practitioners in Italy. Morelove is a reggae/dancehall artiste and Conti is a tour manager/promoter. In an interview with The Gleaner, the pair painted a picture of the crisis their country is facing at the hands of the deadly COVID-19 virus. With close to 129,000 people having contracted the virus and approximately 16,000 deaths, ‘devastating’ was the only word Morelove and Conti could find to adequately describe what the country has been going through. Still, while an air of doom and gloom continues to blanket the nation, music has been offering Italians a lifeline. And, according to Morelove and Conti, reggae and dancehall have been critical in helping to pull people out of darkness, giving them hope for a better tomorrow.

“In Italy, everybody is scared because thousands of people have died and the fear is moving over all of us. The economy is broke and all the persons that had a project have to restart everything from zero.

A lot of people are without a work now, and so it’s sad and hard for someone to think positive,” Morelove said. “The last news is that we have to stay at home for a long time. And when this is all finished, it will be hard to restart social life. The attitude now is ‘physical distance’, and I think the people will still be scared about touch and getting close to others. I wish the contrary, but that’s what I see happening now.”

“The power of reggae music has been the thing that’s keeping many Italians right now. Reggae have good vibes that can make the people happy in this crisis time and help them to think positive. The situation here in Italy is very bad, but people are meeting each other online and dem a play reggae music pon di radio and on the Web, and so people are keeping positive through the music,” Morelove continued.

STAYING CONNECTED

The artiste, who is currently promoting his single, Girl from Riverton, says he has been using social media to stay connected with his people and many have been reaching out to tell him how uplifting his music has been. “Every day we stay online with Instagram or Facebook direct message and everybody say thank you for the reggae-dancehall music that you made and play. They say it’s hard to stay months at home and don’t see nobody personally, but my music helps them through,” he said.

“I’m in Torino (Turin), in the north part of Italy, and I’m so lucky that I can work at home and I have the Morelove Studio so I can produce new songs and new music and release some tracks on the digital platforms.

I knew the power of music before, but this crisis made it so much bigger. And reggae music is leading because it has always been so positive, and positive is what we need now.”

Conti, who is also a journalist and spearheads Gege Vibes Magazine in Italy, said it should come as no surprise how much reggae music is lifting the nation of Italy at this time.

She said the people of Italy have an undying love for Jamaican music. “Rototom Sunsplash, the main European reggae festival, was born in Italy, so that should speak volumes. The whole Europe people are in love with reggae. In these hard times everything could stop but music.

They could never stop music, especially reggae. Reggae is message music and when people listen, even if it’s just for a moment, they will be uplifted,” she said. “I do my dancehall/reggae chart every week and I have my streaming show, so I’m keeping people connected with the music they love.

We are thinking of linking with the Jamaican artistes going forward to join in on our online shows so people can keep in tune with the positive vibes.

Hopefully, the situation will be better soon, but right now we can’t go out and so we are doing our part in keeping people occupied with good music.”

With first-hand experience of the devastation triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak, both Morelove and Conti encouraged Jamaicans to adhere to the rules being implemented by the Government. They shared that with the thousands already dead from the virus, it is no joke, and it will take every individual playing their part to help combat it and help restore normality to the world.

shereita.grizzle@gleanerjm.com