##The Valencian Borja Catanesi is named “The Best Street Musician In The World.” Borja Catanesi, a former resident of Ruzafa, has performed in main squares and street music festivals around the world.

The Valencian Borja Catanesi obtained recognition as the best street musician at the ‘Roma International Buskers Festival’, which took place from 18th to 20th September, organised by Gruppo Matches.

– Massimo Di Stefano, founder of the Valencian agency Esound Music & Arts, was the artistic director of the festival, which also included the participation of the Uruguayan violinist Federico Nathan and the Italian guitarist Jacopo Mezzanotti, who both live in the city of Valencia.

-This is the first edition of a meeting, in which more than one hundred musicians participated and which aims to recognize the work of street artists. It is run by Massimo Di Stefano, artistic director of the festival and Andrea Cicini, director of Gruppo Matches, organiser of the Roma International Buskers Festival.

According to Massimo Di Stefano, artistic director of the festival, Catanesi has received this distinction for his career as one of the most renowned artists in the world of street art, due to his talent and his presence in the most important and emblematic festivals and plazas in the world.

Catanesi said that this appointment encourages him to continue with his work and he accepts it as a support for his career, mainly because it recognizes the place that street artists have in the culture of cities, despite the fact that in recent years regulations have made their work difficult in his home country.

“Spain has an important tradition of street music; without going any further, in Valencia there are a large number of bands and orchestras that perform at the many festivals that take place in our Community. From the time of the minstrels until today, there have been many manifestations of art in the street; however, today, perhaps it is not the best time for this activity. The rules for its development have become very strict and have meant that few artists remain in this profession in Spain. Other countries, such as Holland, Italy, Germany… are more flexible and considerate towards this activity which, in my opinion, makes a significant contribution to the cultural and social life of cities”, Catanesi emphasised.

Federico Nathan is a professor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music Valencia, and first violin of the Metropole Orkest, a group that has won several Grammy awards and is based in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Mezzanotti has an extensive career that includes his work as Artistic Director and composer of “Las Noches de L’Oceanogràfic”, which was held in 2016, and the compositions for the symphonic jazz concert organised by the Music for Autism Association, which was held at the Palau de la Música in 2018.

The Roma International Buskers Festival was held at the location of the final scene of the emblematic film “8 ½” by Federico Fellini, shot in the tourist port of the Italian capital, as a tribute to the film and a boost to street art, which due to its particularities manages to reach a heterogeneous public and which seeks to be repeated on an annual basis.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic, more than 100 musicians from places such as Spain, Uruguay, North Africa and Romania participated in the festival.

“Some artists were unable to attend due to restrictions. The bureaucracy has been complex and it has been difficult to obtain the authorizations; but in the end, thanks to the help of the public who have been very respectful of the distances and precautions, we have managed to make it a success. I believe that culture and art in general are facing up to Covid with organisation, professionalism and respect for the new regulations,”…explained Di Stefano

The artistic director of the Roman festival added that they are already working on the next edition to continue consolidating this event, which aims to be a reference point for street music, and that due to the pandemic, this year faced problems for its realization, including the impossibility of some artists to travel, an obstacle they are hoping to overcome in 2021.

“It is a difficult time for this activity and for society in general. It is delicate to gather groups of people and be in contact with each other, without infringing health regulations. Even so, we are all getting used to living with the limitations imposed by the extraordinary circumstances. Let’s hope that it will soon change for the better and we can return to normality”, concludes Catanesi.

Report by 24/7 Valencia team

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