Rome bar gives musicians a weekly platform to perform
In addition to being Rome's oldest Irish bar, the Fiddler's Elbow is home to "Knight of the Open Mic", a weekly opportunity for singers and musicians to perform in front of an audience, in a non-competitive environment.
Musicians can play up to three songs each at the event which provides the audience with music from all over the world as well as an insight into the local music scene. The initiative was set up by Irish musician Paul Staunton almost a decade ago, and has since been taken over by fellow musician Salvatore Benintende who says "Everybody is invited to sing, play or even read poetry in front of the audience."
Benintende has breathed new life into the project which attracts a regular and growing crowd and offers an authentic, refreshing alternative to the city's karaoke bars. "I tried to reinvent the concept of the "classical" Open Mic Nights and bring it up to international standards, making it more interactive and enjoyable for everybody", he says.
"Musicians can play covers, but we encourage them to sing songs they've written themselves. We provide two acoustic guitars, a piano, a bass and microphones. We also allow electric guitars, but we try to keep the atmosphere "unplugged".
Benintende says the event offers musicians a way to express themselves and meet other musicians while providing the audience with a diverse and often multicultural musical experience. The Open Mic attracts local musicians and an increasing number of foreigners living in the city, while many tourists make contact before arriving in Rome.
"The stage is really open to everybody — says Benintende — and while we host professional musicians on a regular basis we also have had six-year-old kids playing on stage, as well as musicians aged well over 70. It is not unusual that during a night we have over 20 musicians who cover genres from blues to jazz, from rock to swing to Irish folk!"
The event starts at 21.00 and people can sign up online during the preceding days, as well as on the night.