I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: A Song In Sienna Shows The Irresistible Spirit Of The Italian People

As many of you know, I adore Italy (the land of my roots) and I have specifically written about my love for Sienna. This videotape of people spontaneously singing in Sienna is really quite moving. Asked to stay indoor due to the raging virus, the beauty of this culture seems irrepressible. There is a Pagliacci feel to this sorrowful but strong song that spontaneously broke out in the deserted streets of Sienna.

Between Caruso and Corona, I would bet on Caruso even under the lock down conditions of Italy.

It reminds me of Caged Bird by Maya Angelou:

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

Here is the video:

49 thoughts on “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings: A Song In Sienna Shows The Irresistible Spirit Of The Italian People”

  1. Looks like all the comments regarding Chelsea Manning were censored. Including mine.

    — David B Benson

  2. COVID-19 isn’t the only problem

    Not long ago, religious groups were refusing to have their children vaccinated. Then Measles outbreak hot spots were reported in the U.S.. The childhood diseases are back.

    Romaine Lettuce recalls with the outbreak strain E. coli

    Meat recalls with the outbreak strain Salmonella

    Summer is coming & so are the mosquitoes:

    Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever and Zika.

    1. Worse are the fear mongering trolls

      do the world a favor: self-immolate and rid the globe of pestilence.

  3. I have not been tested for Covid-19, but I have put this on here and I will put it again out there.

    In Nov 2019, I became very sick, I had two battles with what appeared to be just the “flu, ” but it felt way worse. The first was a temp of 102 and a round of Z-pack from the urgent care doctor. I felt little better, and started getting back to normal life, then was hit with a brick wall of illness, spiking to 103.5. I went back to the same urgent care doctor, (he was Chinese-American Dr., oddly enough). He seemed surprised to see me, and surprised I was so sick again. I had a round of Doxycycline this time, but a steroid shot in office, plus an Albuterol inhaler, but Benzonatate coughing pills. And a 20 min breathing machine, bc I told him I could barely breathe. I lost my voice from the cough, for at least 2 weeks, writing things out to my roommates.

    Both of them were A-okay. One had a dry cough, and mild sniffles. The other one.was fine.

    In the meantime, I’m over in the corner feeling like I’m about to die, humidifying the room, with steam.

    Of course, I say well, November, was close to December, so maybe it was covid-19, but of course, I have not been tested for it, and with some many limited testing, maybe I won’t be.

    Then again, maybe it wasn’t covid-19, all I know is it was bad.

    It’s March 2020, still using the Benzonatate, and still using the Albuterol, and I’m still coughing, it’s just a dry cough now, with a clear fluid. Annoying, yes, but doesn’t seem dangerous. Wonder if it might be mild lung damage, bc I can’t exercise very well without being winded easily. I’ve stopped exercising all together.

    You should see the way folks look at me when I dry cough next to them in the grocery store or wherever…I can’t control it, trying to avoid places, for myself, and I don’t want to scare anyone.

    Just putting some of what I experienced in Nov 2019, out there, just in case. The urgent care doctor left room and came back with a mask on, and the nurse who hooked me up to breathing machine, she had mask on too…but I assume they would do that for any sick person, not knowing what exactly they were dealing with.

    I forgot too, so I’ll say it here, bc of the high fever, there was some blurred vision, but not severe.

    1. I also wouldn’t go get tested now, bc then I’m taking away a test, with limited amounts, for someone who is very sick right now and fearful of the virus. Better leave tests available for others more in need…

      And if you do test positive, no cure, just self quarantine, and that’s it. Hope you don’t infect anyone else, post-confirmation. But no medication exist. No cure, so to speak, just preventing the spread.

    2. “Just the flu”? Influenza kills millions annually. It’s a serious disease.

      The z-pack and Doxy tell me that your doctors were treating BACTERIAL infections. It is a long time to be sick but I would ask my doctors to do a culture from my sputum and determine what bacterium was causing it and what sensitivity it has.

      The timing indicates that it is not Covid-19 but one never knows. That would be my last guess though. Keep pressing your doctors for answers and get well soon.

      1. Ti317, so, get this. I heeded your advice, and I went in today. And I was told, at urgent care, to go to an ER. They would not even see me. And they assumed it was out of their capacity, and something they could not handle. Like wow. Her last words, it could be walking pneumonia, but it could be Covid-19, either way, we won’t examine you here. 😂

        And when I went in back in Nov 2019, no one did Any cultures or Any Labs or any Xrays, Nada, Zippo.

        Just throwing antibiotics at what looks like Influenza A or Influenza B, pre-Covid-19, like you said, bc November was about 15-30 days too early, which eventually turned into maybe “walking pneumonia.”. No Xrays to be had. I guess you have to press for it, or labs/cultures for that matter.

        Good healthcare system there. /sarc

        1. And just so you know, the reason they wouldn’t see me…is bc it goes back to November. The urgent care felt like they didn’t have the capacity to treat someone who has had an ongoing lung problem from Nov. 2019.

          They quickly took my temperature in the waiting room/hallway area, mild temp 99.8, and a dry cough from November, with no other symptoms.

          No listening to my lungs, just said, your voice still sounds funny, and go to ER.

          But why would I, go to an ER? I’m not on my death bed, it’s not an emergency. Now, I’m clogging up the ER, with a remnants health issue.

          What if I get exposed to something worse, now I have walking pneumonia, plus something else….

          They need more drive-thru and tent city out here in Los Angeles.

          I would go through a drive-thru, you couldn’t pay me to go to ER. And this isn’t China, so no one is throwing me in a govt truck for walking pneumonia. No way. I’m like 90 % better from whatever I had middle of November. Will not go to ER. I told Doctor who wouldn’t see me same thing. Said I’m going home, bc some else needs to Emergency Room more than me, made for Emergencies….not mild symptom panicked ppl

  4. Italian people as a generality are good, nice folks. I saw this too, thought it was awesome. You can find nice people in every culture, and not so nice people as well.

    I find the Italians have a passion and love of life, another general statement. Zero Italian here, mostly French/German/Irish/Welsh/Scandinavian, a blend, but Italians…good people.

      1. Hi Cindy,

        Woot-woot, to the Welsh. I had no idea they like to sing. Learn something new.

        I don’t know much about Wales, but I put it on the list of must-visit at some point down the road.

        Have you been?

  5. Just listened to Vespers by early Baroque composer Claudio Monteverdi.

  6. From Paul, a fan of Jonathan’s in Australia: so we hear the communal power of a song of one of the 17 contradas of Sienna, most beautiful city in Italy and the most Medieval city in Europe.

  7. There is another video with people in apartment building on their balconies making music together. Community festivals done another way.

  8. Birds of a feather flock together. Some Italians in St. Louis live “on the Hill”. They are northerners. They look down on Sicilians who live elsewhere in town. Having travelled the world myself, I admire areas of Italy and put the nation high on my list. Milano, Firienze, Roma, Venice, Palermo.

  9. I found exclusive footage of those folks in the future, after they’ve been cooped up for three weeks:

  10. Come on, that’s praising the fish for swimming. They’re Italian. They know how to live and that all you need to love is to take out the “i” for the former.

      1. Cindy:
        We want to try for September but the family there says next May!

  11. Professor……thank you for the uplifting post. …

    ” ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words, and never stops–at all.”
    –Emily Dickinson

  12. Went shopping this morning

    The panic buyers were there. Shelves were going empty. Went to the pasta isle. Every type of pasta brand was gone. So was the sauce in glass or canned. So much for a taste of Italy. While waiting at the check out, those shopping carts were going through with charges between $200-$500 dollars/per cart.

    1. The dog-bark chorus was a nice counterpoint, too. (Can you translate that from the Dog-Italian?)

      1. Hi from Italy. I want to say to you that this moment is really dramatic for us. We underestimated the problem and now..we don’t have enough beds in the hospitals. We are locked in our homes and we suffer of course. We are scared because we understood that this is not a”normal” flu. You can die even if you are young or you did a healthy life.
        BUT, every evening at 6 pm, in the Italian cities and villages, there are concerts from the balconies, and the rule is starting with the Italian hymn. Then, on Instagram we decide the second song..People are locked in their homes and share the frustration and encourage each other singing and playing on the balconies. We need love.

        1. Mariateresa – Sending love from Washington DC! This too shall pass…

          Here is video of Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini serenading Florence during lockdown…

        2. Mariateresa……thank you for your comment, informing us about your life right now.
          Prayers and warm thoughts for you and your country!

        3. These videos are so wonderful. 🙏🙏🙏 and blessing to all in 🇮🇹 Italy.

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