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StroncaTour – Italy, March 2018

Delta Moon ate so much stroncatura pasta in Calabria the first two weeks of March that the Italian leg of our trip became called the StroncaTour. Stroncatura is a coarse, dark pasta originally made from the floor sweepings of the pasta factories and sold as food for animals. Human consumption was forbidden. But poor people ate stroncatura anyway, buying it cheaply under the counter and flavoring it with strong spices and anchovies. Once the upper classes caught on, stroncatura became popular and the factories cleaned up the ingredients. It’s a lot like the story of blues, jazz and rock-and-roll.

Without our agent and road manager in Calabria, Vincenzo Tropepe, the StroncaTour would not have been possible. With him it was pretty incredible. Enzo has friends everywhere in southern Italy, and now many of them have become our friends too. On past tours we’ve called such-and-such a dinner “the meal of the trip,” but this time we enjoyed so many wonderful meals served by so many wonderful people that the concept became meaningless. One Italian friend said, “I’ve been seeing more pictures of you on Facebook with food and wine than with musical instruments.”

Here’s a quick video of a rural traffic jam we encountered in an olive grove on our way to a memorable lunch prepared by the 80-year-old father of our friend Daniele Errico.

Of course we did play some shows — several in fact. Here is Enzo Tropepe’s account of the tour, translated (however poorly) from Italian:

The tour of the Delta Moon, now very well known in these parts, has been completed. This was perhaps the fifth time to see them around Calabria and, despite everything, the public loves them in visceral ways. These are the dates they played in Puglia and Calabria. The first date was at La Pecora Nera (Cassano Del Murge) with the legendary Pino Simone who arranged everything to perfection, as he usually does. The second at the Go West Saloon in Roccaforzata (TA), where our dearest Fabio welcomed us in a big way. The third date, returning to Calabria, we stopped in the wonderful Tropea. Even though our dear Bertè sang, “The winter sea is like a black and white movie seen on TV,” we can’t say that. Tropea is colorful in both summer and winter. On stage then at Albin’s Pub, a wonderful place managed by our fearless Albino Lorenzo.

Three days of rest were not bad at all, considering the fatigue accumulated even from the previous tour in Spain and then resting until Wednesday. The fourth gig saw them busy playing at the New Boston in Davoli Marina, where our bastion of music organized an almost-last-minute concert and therefore, thank you very much to Gray Renda with the great Bruno Delfino, Andrea Sabato and all the staff. Friday at La Sosta where the legendary Mimmo delighted us with his unmistakable sound on sax. Thanks to all the staff de La Sosta.

At the end, as they say, final with bang!!! The tour ended in a place where no definition could be the right one, a place where positive energy cuts with a knife and where all and I say everyone, they feel at home. At Il Frantoio delle Idee the band performed the last concert. What to say? I have no words!!! An infinite thank you to my dearest friend Alberto Conia who truly always keeps the flag flying high, together with the amazing Marina Rizzo… I love you. For me the most emotion was when, after inviting me to jam on stage, at some point Tom Gray passed me his wonderful Italia Modena guitar. At first I thought I had to play it, since it was in standard tuning, but instead, last but not least, Tom gave it to me, in front of everyone on stage. I’ll never find the right words to thank him, to him and to the rest of the band. What else to add? Nothing! I can’t wait to get them back. God bless you all guys!!! Miss you: Tom Gray, Mark Johnson, Franher Joseph, Paolo Xeres.

Thank you very much to those who allowed all this and who supported us with their presence, their love and their passion.

Delta Moon seconds those thanks. And, Enzo, we already miss you, too.

Delta Moon over Italy

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Our Italian tour got off to a good start in Mantua (Mantova) in a courtyard around the corner from a theater where Mozart once performed.

Marlon could not join us for this trip, so we’ve hired in an Italian drummer named Paolo Xeres. We met Paolo and his brother Marco when their band played a festival with us here in February, and we all went out to a memorable dinner together after that show. Paolo had studied the recordings well and fit right in with us.

The next day we flew south to Palermo in Sicily, where after dinner we wandered into a tenement district street festival. Bands were playing. Teenagers gunned scooters at full speed through the crowd. Little boys lit firecrackers. The night was loud, bright and crazy, and we couldn’t look around without grinning.

The next morning our friend Enzo Tropepe took this tour to a new level when he showed up in a 1973 fastback Chevy Impala. As he drove us on the highway west to Alcamo drivers of Fiats and Smart Cars honked, waved and gave us thumbs up. Our hotel was on a narrow medieval street, but we had no problem finding parking. The hotel people insisted that Enzo park the big machine directly in front with “spazio riservato” signs by either bumper.

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In Alcamo we played in a plaza to an audience, the promoter estimated, of about 2,500. It was the first time I’d seen crowd surfing at a Delta Moon show. Afterwards we went to a club on the beach and jammed with the band there. We finally got to sleep about four in the morning, worn out but happy.

Sunday we rode in the Impala to a beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea beach town called Capo d’Orlando, where we played among the trees at a hillside villa. The promoter insisted that Enzo park the Impala by the stage, where it gathered some messages written in dust on the fastback. Behind the stage a lit arbor path led to a dog cemetery.

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The scenery in Italy is gorgeous, and the food is delicious. But more than anything else, Delta Moon is in love with the Italian people. It’s hard times here. We have had one festival cancelled at the last minute because there was no money. There is talk that the schools in some cities may not reopen. But the people have big hearts and ready smiles. Delta Moon likes to make friends, and we feel we have many friends in Italy.

I’ll close with this photo of our friend Enzo Tropepe on the beach.

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