Buck Curran, a musician with Lewiston-Auburn roots, said living under the coronavirus lockdown in Bergamo, Italy, the region hit second hardest by the coronavirus, said it’s been a shock but has given him a new appreciation for his life and the people around him.

Buck Curran, formally of Auburn, is living in Bergamo, Italy under a weekslong coronavirus lockdown. He is pictured in a still from a video call with the Sun Journal. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

He spoke to the Sun Journal recently in a video call.

When he was living in Lewiston-Auburn nearly two decades ago, he worked at Carroll’s Music, Thomas Moser and Dana Bourgeois Guitars, as he pursued his music dreams and desire to build guitars.

He and his now ex-wife, Shanti Deschaine, later formed the band Arborea, released an album and began touring the United States and Europe.

Ten years later, Curran had been enjoying a solo career, when he met and married an Italian musician, Adele, in Bergamo and started a second family.

Recently, that couple was enjoying a long dinner with friends in a large country house bordering a parkin the next town over. The two couples had been joking they could move in together to ride out the quarantine. But a few days later, the borders between the two towns were closed.

“It’s a shock to be so close, to not be able to drive in the villages that are just next to us,” Curran said.

The town enacted an ordinance that forbids people from leaving their homes, except to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. Bergamo residents are required to certify in writing what their destination is before leaving their homes.

Panic buying is not a problem in Bergamo, according to Curran.

“There was a first initial panic, but after a couple days people realize, ‘Oh, the grocery store’s open and people stopped buying in bulk,’” he said.

In addition to large grocery stores, there are mom and pop stores, giving them plenty of options for places to get food.

“There’s a guy from Naples, Napoli (that has) a little shop just outside of our apartment,” Curran said. “There’s also a fruit stand up the road, and then a smaller grocery store in the plaza.”

Curran said home confinement is strictly enforced.

“The couple of times that Adele and I have been out, there was nobody on the streets,” he said. “You could be fined up to 206 euro if they stop you.”

Since he has been earning a living as a full-time touring musician, Curran said he is struggling to make a living.

“It’s always hard coming out of winter,” he said. “I did my last big tours in October and November.”

He teaches guitar and has tried to move his lessons online, but is not finding much success there.

Curran worries about his friends and family in Lewiston: “This virus spreads like wildfire,” he said. “If it hits Maine, it’s going to be a huge problem. I know a lot of people in Maine who have various health problems. People really need to not be standing near each other.”

Curran has two friends in Bergamo whose fathers have died from the virus.

“We have personal relationships, as well, with these people,” he said. “They’re sweetheart people, but they were taken two days ago.”

Curran said he misses his family and friends in Maine.

“With luck, if things go back to normal,” he said he is planning a trip to Maine in the fall and will perform at Bear Bones Brewery in Lewiston.

“That’s kind of my second home out there,” he said.

For Americans whose lives are just now beginning to be affected by the pandemic, Curran has some words of advice: “Don’t panic. Be gracious to your neighbor. Let them share the toilet paper.”

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