Un caffè con Gnar Lee (A regular Jo-vanotti)



La prima volta che ho visto Gnar Lee era in coda per assistere allo show Late Night with Conan O'Brien. E’ una giovane donna cinese, la cui famiglia è emigrata prima a Cuba e poi negli Stati Uniti. L’11 settembre lavorava per Deutsche Bank, nel palazzo che fu danneggiato nell’attacco alle Torri Gemelle. La banca si trasferì fuori Manhattan e Gnar rinunciò al lavoro anche per problemi di salute. E’ persona colta e curiosa. Forse per questo si è trovata in un’aula della New York University ad ascoltare uno sconosciutonegliUsa Jovanotti. E di lui dice: He’s a regular Joe!

"On February 20th, I entered a small, packed and what soon became standing-room only lecture auditorium at New York University's Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo (the Italian Studies Department at NYU).  The guest was an Italian mega-star Lorenzo Cherubini,  but he is known to his minions by his stage name Jovanotti.  I have been familiar with his name for about 16 years now.  Afua, my afro-italian-american best friend, has loved him since she did a semester in Firenze and she has continued to follow his career.  It is with her and because of her that I wanted to go see this man so many revere worldwide.  In little over two hours, I was charmed and delighted by what this man of the world offered in terms of his views musically, cinematically and politically.  Even though I was not familiar with his work, I knew how fortunate I was to attend this event.  I went in with only a familiarity of only his name but I left a fan. 

I was extremely surprised and even shocked when he entered the room using the same entrance everyone else did.  He was right in my face when he walked by me!  He shook hands with his fans as he walked down the steps toward the stage.  Many fans adoringly touched him on the arm, shoulder and anywhere else they could lay their hands on–no naughty business though–everyone was well behaved.  I was so speechless having him THISCLOSE to me!  I think this may have been the first time I was so starstruck with someone I hardly knew!  Already, I felt that he was a different kind of celebrity.  In America, we call someone with no pretensions and is in touch with the common people, "A Regular Joe".  Someone who is grounded and is at ease with making everyone around them feel at ease and comfortable–just an ordinary person you would pass on the street or go have a drink with.  I would soon learn that he may be that but in addition to that, so much more.  Jovanotti is someone who easily and probably could have shown up surrounded by an entourage.  I almost expected it.  Also, who would even blame him if had a huge ego from being famous and popular for so long but no.  None.  He was approachable and accessible.  Some celebrities here in the States could learn a thing or two about humility from him.  He dressed in typical streetwear–dark pants, a t-shirt layered with a button plaid shirt and a sweater.  His face scruffy but boyish and trusting.  He looked like he could have taken a seat with the audience as opposed to being the guest of honour.  He spoke eloquently and charmingly in English but when he did not know a word, he said it in Italian and the moderators would translate it.  

He discussed his music and his love for NYC hip hop when he was growing up and cites groups such as the Sugar Hill Gang and Public Enemy as part of his musical inspiration.  Since the Italian film department co-sponsored this event, he discussed his favourite films.  How funny it was when they released his first chosen movie clip from the queue.  It was no other than “Saturday Night Fever!”

After more than two hours, I found myself enamored with this charismatic man.  Thankfully, I got to see him at this last event in NY in such a cozy setting where I feel I truly saw him at his most personal".