Journalists visiting Latvia asked me who is the most influential person in the country. Without much hesitation, I answered them: "Roberto Meloni".
"Who is he?" They said. "EU Ambassador? Policy Adviser? Artist?"
"Everything is named and many more," I replied. "He is also a TV cook, songwriter Dina Marsin, and has been a captain of a pirate ship."
Around this time, reporters usually remembered that they delayed important meetings and left me alone. But that is only half a joke. Roberto Meloni is a real intercultural phenomenon, like a diverse freelance artist, and he is very influential.
Latvian Radio's etherea returned the rubric of "Latvian Colors", loved by audiences and received warmly a year ago – five new stories about colorful phenomena in Latvia in the eyes of strangers. Translation: Lauris Veips.
Roberto has represented Latvia twice at Eurovision-2007. year with a group that tried to produce at the expense of the band Il Divo, and in 2008, with a group that tried to get money at the expense of piracy of the film "Caribbean". He appeared again in 2009, reading the results of a Latvian jury.
He also has the opportunity to dance and often appears in gossip magazines. He can also swim on talk shows and radio or promote his latest Latvian tour on television. I have spoken with people who have hired Robert as a leader in public events, and they have very good reviews about their professionalism.
But the real influence is the TV show cooking show "La Dolce Vita … with Roberto!" (And the same predecessor "Good food for good friends … with Roberto!") Is transmitted every day during the day.
I guarantee that everything he prepares will be given to me by a wife after a few days. He sat on the television with a pen and a piece of paper, wrote Robert's prescription, and I'm sure he wasn't the only one who did it.
Overall, there may be hundreds, maybe even thousands of female mothers, throughout Latvia, who list every suggestion they use for salt and pepper with the fanatical zeal that might be expected from the generals who ran on the rocket base along with Kim Chenun.
I think he has prepared his favorite soup in Latvia for around 60 years. That is good. But this week on the table is a steaming bowl, which tastes a little different.
"Very tasty," I said.
"Yes, this is Roberto's soup!" He said excitedly. "He succeeded on Monday."
The soup is almost the same as the one cooked, but there are also tomatoes. This technique is Roberto's favorite. That is, add tomatoes. He is Italian.
Roberto's appeal is not only about the fact that he adds tomatoes. His appeal was due to the fact that he was a little exotic and at the same time was very understanding Latvian, which he spoke with a unique Italian accent, was very pleasant and exaggerated.
I admire Roberto, and not only because of his language skills. I like people who are versatile, and he is not at all like that. My most brilliant and beloved memory is from the Night Museum a few years ago. I walked through several places and thought of going home when around midnight I fell into the Castle of Riga and walked down the stairs to the cold basement. At that time there were no reproductions of Greek and Roman statues that were too good but full. And there, right between the columns, brooding and the hero of victory, is Roberto Meloni – the glowing sparkle, the excellent butterfly suit, he sings "Volare" with full revenge and a phonogram.
On the one hand, it feels cheap, but now for me it's a strange touch. How many entertainers would be ready to stand in the middle of the night in a sinking palace in the basement to smile at the crowd who accidentally entered it? Maybe Robert was not Latvian, but he was clearly Latvian. What a man!
The series "Latvian Colors" was created by Mike Coler and Lauris Veips, the author of the English version of the Latvian Public Media Portal.