Like Perugia and like Spoleto and like probably many other small towns throughout Italy, Lucca hosts a summer music festival complete with big name artists. This summer, some of the names that Lucca is or has already hosted includes Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Arcade Fire, Ben Harper, and James Blunt. Timing worked out that we are able to watch J. Blunt. The concert was fun, the music singable, and the crowd energized, but equally impressive to all of that is the setting. Located in the heart of the old town in Piazza Napoleone, this festival transforms a piazza in a town that used to be a Roman colony in 180 BC into a modern theater. Blunt’s song “You’re Beautiful” should be directed at the town, at the piazza, and at the entire surreal setting.
Days four and five along the trek easily presented the greatest challenge, and luckily, Subash had indicated as such from the beginning. Because of the forewarning, I told my traveling musicians to wait back control-wheel until they were called forward. Day four began with a steady downhill, but after reaching the valley’s river, the climbing began and it was time for some of my favorite artists to make their headphone-jack call. One by one, after receiving their signal, the tunes began playing from headphone left and headphone right. The awards for most motivational, energizing and inspirational probably belong to Michael Jackson and Mika, but Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Cee-lo Green, Chris Brown, Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas, Fatboy Slim, George Michael, and Journey also deserve praise. They all started playing on day four, but were kind enough to save some energy for their encore performances the following day.
Instead of focusing on the websites I couldn’t reach while in China, such as Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes even Gmail, I will write about the Chinese site Top100.cn, which is strongly affiliated with Google. Searching for music on Google China or through Top100.cn allows users to download almost any song. In a country that clearly has the capability to regulate the Internet, it is equally interesting to consider the sites and online industries without regulation. And even more so is how Google endorses them. That said, it does make sense for Google to do so in order to compete with its Chinese online search competitors like Baidu. Google, then, justifies its actions by explaining that the Chinese will download their music free of charge regardless if they can find links through Google Search; therefore, Google tries to place advertisements around those links so that the music industry can at least profit some from the high music downloading rates in China.
Throughout my life, I have always connected certain songs and specific artists to certain life events. This is partly because when I find a song I like, I have a tendency to listen to it over and over, but it might also go beyond that. I remember receiving my first CD player and listening to Matchbox 20 while writing my Bar Mitzvah thank you cards. I remember listening to Dave Matthews while driving to high school. Beginning of my high school senior year is marked by R. Kelly’s hit “Remix to Ignition.” My year living in Casa Italiana while at college makes me think of upbeat artist Mika. While riding my bicycle, my water-bottle shaped speaker would almost always blare 80’s tunes. And of course, anytime I’m on a family road trip, I look forward to Neil Diamond joining us. In other words, I feel that there is a rough soundtrack to my life, and I wanted to continue this as I traveled.
I filled an mp3 player full of songs before leaving, but after finding easy access to Chinese and Southeast Asia popular music through Top100.cn, I added many new hits to my playlist. Now, as I continue to travel, hopefully, I will start to connect these popular Asian tunes to my new adventures.