On Thursday 23 February, we left Loppiano to arrive at a special place: the prison in Perugia. On arrival, after the usual checks, the gates, the high walls and barbed wire, we could see the windows of the cells from where we could hear some whistles, shouts, as well as greetings to Father Francesco, the friar who accompanied us. He goes there every day and accompanies the prisoners and was one of the organisers of this meeting.
First impressions are not easily forgotten. There were those who entered without hiding their curiosity, those who feigned disinterest, and others still who looked defiant… but the main reason why it is difficult to forget them is precisely because of the transformation we saw at the end of the meeting.
During the meeting, there was ‘pivotal’ moment, which marked a clear ‘before’ and ‘after’. This happened when Colomba (singer and musician from Korea) told her story. The silence was profound. Those who were making noise stopped, there were even those who hid a few tears… and then, the song ‘I’ve got hope‘, in which there was a sacred atmosphere. Perhaps because all of us who were there felt the words of the song resonate within us: ‘every seed has the power within to make it grow, in every death there’s a promise of new life’.
The next day, Father Francesco wrote to us: “Today in prison – for the first time in five years – the trending words were: ‘thank you’, ‘yesterday was beautiful’, ‘they were great’, ‘they were beautiful’. Everyone was saying this, the staff and the inmates! Today in every angle of the prison people were talking about the joy you brought! And those who were not able to attend, asked that you come back soon!”. And we look forward to that.
After this unforgettable moment, we left for Assisi, where we were expected by the Franciscan Family of Assisi, the Frate Indovino editorial team and the Assisi Missio Foundation, promoters of the concert ‘Fratelli Tutti – Musica per la pace‘ (All Brothers and Sisters – Music for Peace), one year after the start of the war in Ukraine. So, on Friday 24 February, we played in a sold-out “Lyrick Theatre”, in front of more than a thousand people from all over Umbria who welcomed us with such joy and enthusiasm.
One person in the audience described the songs and the message of the concert as something that put a patch on the anxieties that we live with today: war, forgiveness, caring for the environment, self-acceptance, peace, youth discomfort. They added that the instrumental track (Ed. ‘East West’), was so sublime that everyone found personal emotions in it.
Among the civil and religious authorities, were Bishop Sorrentino (Assisi), Bishop Maffeis (Perugia) and Br Marek Miszczyński, provincial of the Capuchins in Cracow, Poland. The donations collected during the concert will be used to support the solidarity initiatives of the “Padre Pio House” in Kyiv, which tries to give material, psychological and spiritual relief to mothers and children who have suffered loss and material damage because of the war.
“For us these were two amazing days, full of fire, where we also felt a special atmosphere. It may be because we were in the land of the patron saint of Gen Verde, St Francis, but it really was a boost of energy for us to return to this city, which has peace in its very core. These days give us the determination to continue to live for peace, to do it every day among ourselves and with those in front of us, to carry this message wherever we go”, says Adriana Martins (singer, Brazil).
On Saturday 4 March we will be in Cossato (Biella, Piedmont), where we will play “Gen Verde Acoustic” in the Municipal Theatre at 9.00 p.m. for the opening of the Week of Peace organised by Catholic Action and the Parish of Santa Maria Assunta in Cossato. Free entrance (subject to availability) and free offer to collaborate with the activities of the Parish and the Youth Club.