The Greek Musical Tradition in South Italy
Part 3: Instruments | Recordings | Sources
Many of the recordings mentioned in this article are availble from cdRoots
The musical instruments
Zampogna a paro and
- Voice plays an important role in the musical tradition of the regions. Both men and women sing, but often not the same songs. For example, only women perform the moroloja.
- The organetto (diatonic accordion) is an instrument widely used for both secular and religious music.
- The guitar is used for some of the songs.
- From the indigenous musical instruments, worth noting is the cupa-cupa, (tambour à friction) that produces a characteristic sound through the friction of a long reed on a membrane positioned on top of a terracota or tin pot.
- The tamborello (tambourine) is another percussive instrument used widely.
- Other instruments commonly used are harmonicas (chromatic accordions), ducted flutes and triangle.
- All over southern Italy, the zampogna is used, a type of bagpipe with five pipes of uneven length and a double reed.
Listen to a short sample of the music from the Lomax/Carpitella recordings Calabria: The Italian Treasury (Rounder).
Available at cdRoots.
There are many recordings of very high quality from the region.
Recordings of traditional players are more rare, but the following ones are worth checking out:
- The Hellenic Musical Tradition in South Italy from the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation is quite difficult to come across at the moment but it's probably the best source for the music. Including music from Grecìa Salentina, Calabria and the Greek-Albanians of Sicily, it is a field recording made in 1980 and 1981. The tradition was very much alive at that time, although the region was very isolated. It includes extensive liner notes in Greek and English, photographs, information on the songs and the lyrics and singers both old and young. The definitive starting point for anyone interested in the music of the region, it has been the source of much of the information presented here.
Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation
9 Constantinoupoleos str., Gr 211 00 Nafplion, Tel. +30 752 28 947 - Fax: +30 752 27 960, e-mail:email@example.com
- Canto D' Amore: Voci, Suoni, Ritmi della Grecìa Salentina is an equally well-researched edition with extensive liner notes (a book of 179 pages) in Italian and English, photographs and field recordings from 1975 to 1985. It also includes musical transcriptions of the songs and instrumentals. Published by Aramirè.
I Passiuna tu Christù is also available from Aramirè.
Some Contemporary recordings
- Grecìa Salentina: Canti e musiche popolari is the latest recording by the best interpreters of the Grico tradition, Ghetonìa. A recording of both Griko and a few Romance songs, with bilingual liner notes in Greek and Italian, and the lyrics to the songs as well as musical transcriptions. The ensemble plays saxophones, guitar, clarinet, flute, bass, tambourine and percussion, creating a sound that is magically balanced between traditional music and jazz.
Worth noting is the fact that songs from the Romance tradition are also interpreted, which helps to place this musical tradition in its wider context. Roberto Licci, the group's leader is also featured in the The Hellenic Musical Tradition In South Italy record.
Available from Ghetonìa's website and from Roberto Licci - via A. Cimabue,13 - 73021 Calimera (Lecce) Tel. 0832/873930 - Mobile. 0368/7528581 - Fax 0832/873299
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Per Incantamento is the previous recording from Ghetonìa.
It was available as a special free issue with the Greek Magazine Metro (issue 33) (http://www.metromag.gr) as well as from the band themselves.
- Otranto is the first recording by the group Avleddha. The most important fact about it is that it is the first recording of completely new material in the Grico tradition. Highly enjoyable music, touching upon all the important issues discussed in the vernacular songs, it comes highly recommended.
Available from Gruppo "Avleddha"
Via Case Sparse s.n., 73010 Sternatia (Le), tel. 0836/666951 – mobile: 347/2798435 and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Available in the US from cdRoots
from Arakne Mediterranea includes two songs from the Grico tradition. It's worth acquiring if only for one of the few recordings of Andramu paei, a contemporary song about immigration that was the first Grico song to make an impact in Greece in the early 1970s.
Published by CNI
Available at cdRoots
General useful links
In case you are interested in more information about this fascinating culture, the following websites and groups come highly recommended:
Part 1: The region
Part 2: The Instruments and Recordings
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