Viviana Sorrentino & Diego Girotto on 107.7 fm, Zambia

From memory this was the first time we’d entertained Italian guests on The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George ‘Akufela’ Soulchild, so Viviana Sorrentino and Diego Girotto, pictured above, were especially welcome! The Experience is our regular Sunday night radio show airing live from 20.30 to 21.30 hours Zambian time on Zambezi FM radio 107.7, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The programme is also supposed to stream live on the internet but we understand that the connection ‘times out’ at the moment, so there’s work to be done by the station in this regard. Sorry to anyone trying, but failing, to hear us last week.

Diego is a doctor, a general practitioner in Turin and Viviana’s just completed her Phd in Natural Sciences. They met 9 years ago in the library of the University of Turin in Italy. “Married”? Asked Milli Jam. “No”! Replied Diego. “Not yet”! answered Vivi! We laughed and speculated that Dr Diego might have a problem on the horizon! When asked if they’d travelled much in Africa Vivi told listeners she’d spent a long time in Madagascar studying lemurs. During their present trip this vivacious (geddit?), entertaining couple told us they’d spent time in Malawi and then in the South Luangwa National Park staying at Flatdogs – they’d absolutely loved the lodge, the park and the masses of game they’d seen!

From Flatdogs Vivi and Diego had moved on to the Lower Zambezi where they’d spent 3 days canoeing which they also loved. The day of the show they had just returned from one night in Chobe – they’d been disappointed that on seeing lion during this trip, one fellow traveller had become scared and they’d had to drive away prematurely.

The music on the show was super as usual. We played the UK top 2 at the start of the show ‘How We Roll’ by Loick Essien ft Tanya Lacey and ‘Louder’ by DJ Fresh ft Sian Evans. George’s local selection were ‘So Simple’ by Lupo ft T-Boy and ‘Walilowa’ by Naked Face. (‘So sweet’ – we were told this meant). Milimo chose two Nigerian artists Wizkid with ‘Holla At Ya Boy’ and Naeto C with ‘Ten Over Ten’. We introduced a new feature on the show ‘oldie of the week’ – this week ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’ by Chris de Burgh. ‘All About Tonight’ by Pixie Lott and ‘Cherry Bomb’ by Justin Kramer wound up the show.

Diego told listeners that although he lived in Turin he supported Inter Milan and not Juventus and that his favourite band was U2 while Viviana liked REM, also recommending an Italian group called Negrita. Milli Jam asked them how they’d come to choose Chanters Lodge and they explained they’d met a Dutch couple in South Luangwa (Rein and Jeanetta Coppens) who’d told them if they were going to Livingstone they must stay at Chanters Lodge. I loved it!

We gave away the usual dinner for 2 to the first listener to text telling us where Vivi and Diego were from and there was a great response. We greeted Guests and staff at the lodge. Our lovely Italian couple told listeners that 10 years from now they hoped to be owning and running a guest lodge in Tuscany! They would ask for my help! I think I’ll hold them to that!