I’ve been a Janis Ian fan since I was a teenager. When she recently put out a request for musicians, professional and amateur, to record her song Better Times Will Come, I thought it was a GREAT idea. I had no idea what it would turn into though. My goal was to make it relevant for Italy, so I asked Janis if I could translate the song into Italian. She graciously agreed.
I had no idea that it would turn into such a project! I originally thought maybe just some guitar accompaniment, which my friend Matt Ray (who has a wonderful blog about Living Large by Living Little) wilingly provided. But then in morphed into something larger, and more family oriented. Go watch the video, and then you can read some background story below if you are interested!
I’ve been singing publicly all my life (although less so in the past couple of decades). I was on an album that my parents produced in the early 1960s. Here’s the album cover. I haven’t done anything really musical for years though, and so this was kind of a fun “stretch” for me.
There are a lot of people to thank. First, some great people at Italy Made Easy helped me make sure the lyrics made sense. Shop owners around BorgoTaro who consented to allowing me to use photos of them in my video (including our mayor), and friends from a Facebook group, who sent me pictures of their lives during and post “lockdown” here in Italy. A list of names will follow.
And of course there is my cousin Dana Paige, who has been learning how to teach martial arts during stay-at-home orders. As it turns out, she’s a natural at just about anything she decides needs to be done! Dana helped with a lot of coordination here for this recording! Next is Dana’s daughter Tabitha Paige, who just graduated high school, and is ready to tackle whatever the world throws at her. Tabitha sang backup vocals! My son James Zanrè, who is a junior at Western Washington University, and is also figuring out how life works holed up at home, added some harmony as well! So, in essence, we’re a “New Burkett Trio”, since we are all descendants of Burketts! Also a huge part of this project was Johnny Luv who provided the piano accompaniment for this piece. Of course, we wouldn’t have even been here without Janis Ian writing this great song as a way to help her friends in music by using her network of fans and her influence to highlight others in the music industry who are having difficulties in not being able to tour and record. I’m just happy to be able to tag along as an amateur musician, interested in sharing this message!
Thanks to friends and acquaintances who sent me photos of “Life in Italy” during this time:
Elizabeth Norma Miller
Emma Kate Malcolm
Sherrie Ann Grieve