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From Italy with love and music

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

From Italy with love and music

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They say that you can find a Barbadian in just about every corner of the globe. Italy is no different. For Patricia Lowe, Italy has been her home for the last 20 years.     
“I moved here when I was 19 because I wanted to learn the language and spend a year here,” Patricia recalled. “I ended up spending 20 because I met somebody and ended up getting married and have my two boys, Christopher and Michael Serazzi. By now I am a pro at the Italian language and the cuisine.”
Travelling was always important to Patricia, who was born in Britain. The idea of experiencing different places and cultures was something she started since the age of 16 by going to the United States, Australia and Hungary.
“I like exploring. I like change,” she said. “I am the person that every five years once you get the learning curve down, it’s like what do I do next.”
But somehow Italy held Patricia’s interest and her love. It gave her an opportunity to put down roots. It was also where she discovered her passion — music.
 “My interest in music came about a year after moving to Italy,” Patricia said. “My husband who is a musician discovered me one day singing under the shower. It was said we could do something with this voice.”
And do something they did. From there Patricia’s singing career was launched.
“My husband is more into rock and pop music,” she said.
In fact Patricia’s first album Finally features songs written by herself and her husband as well as an impressive rendition of Prince’s When Doves Cry plus a tribute to her mother called When You Dance.
Though she was happy to be singing and performing pop, which she did all over Italy and in parts of Europe, she eventually veered off into the world of jazz.
“I found myself more in touch with the music,” Patricia said. “An uncle of my mother was a jazz musician, and my mum always took me to see him perform in London. But a certain point I realized it was more than me.”
That pull towards the jazz music scene caused Patricia to really launch out on her own and create jazz music for her first solo album Smiling Inside.
She juggled producing this album with raising her two sons and caring for her family, which meant she often had to be creative with her time.
“It meant I was going to the studio late at night, recording and talking to the musicians,” Patricia said.
This was unchartered territory for her (dealing with musicians) because in the past it was her husband who handled those issues, but here she was doing it on her own.
The album which is afro-jazz contains songs that are very personal to Patricia, who says she has a deep connection with each one. The album opens with a poem called Sun Song written by one of Patricia’s favourite authors, Langston Hughes.
Perhaps in many ways this album has seen Patricia come into her own as a solo artist, exploring a genre of music that is dear to her heart.
“The album was produced in London and when the first CD came across I was very excited about it,” Patricia said. “I did it all on my own and I was really happy about it.
“It felt like I was giving birth to another child because the whole project took nine months. But it felt like I had achieved something great. That’s why I called it Smiling Inside, because I was smiling when I did it.”
Patricia wasn’t the only one smiling. Though it was a departure from working with her husband, he was especially proud of his wife.
“He is proud to see that I can get it done on my own,” Patricia added.
For the first time, Patricia will be appearing before a Barbadian audience for this month’s Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari, something she is eagerly looking forward to.
“This is my first time performing in Barbados, so I’m excited and worried,” Patricia said. “I’m kicking off the festival ahead of T.S. Monk, so it’s something I’m looking forward to.”