Media Ętas di Roberto DeSimone - Li Turchi Viaggiano
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The term 'Turchi' has always symbolised a different nature, an obscure fear of mixed, irregular rhythm, an unfamiliar heart, which is unsettling for the hypocritical certainties of a Euro-centric, or rather, a Western-centric culture. - Roberto DeSimone

cd cover Media Ætas di Roberto DeSimone
Li Turchi Viaggiano
Oriente Musik (www.oriente-express.de)

The Turks are Travelling is the first commercial recording by Roberto DeSimone, the mastermind behind the highly influential Nuova Compagnia di Canto Popolare, in almost twenty years.

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DeSimone has not been silent in the passing time. After giving voice to the multiple currents of the Neapolitan tradition and southern Italy, he emerged as the artistic director of Media Ętas (a name meannig both "The Middle Ages" and "Age of Transition") creating everything from a "Stabat Mater" to a "Requiem" in memory of Pier Paolo Pasolini. In this context he tried to look for the roots of the music and the culture beyond an overbearing Catholicism and a Neapolitan bourgeoisie that took under its wings all those pre-existing cultures, suffocating what is described in the liner notes as "a magical-religious, fantastic and matriarchal universe."

In this recording, however, DeSimone is even more specific: "The term 'Turchi' has always symbolised a different nature, an obscure fear of mixed, irregular rhythm, an unfamiliar heart, which is unsettling for the hypocritical certainties of a Euro-centric, or rather, a Western-centric culture."

This manifesto becomes a recording in which a number of different forms coalesce. Fragments of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, jazz experimentation and traditional music all come together in a unified whole, melded together by the sensitivity of this 21st century septuagenerian composer. The result is a highly satisfying hybrid that will appeal first to classical music cognoscenti, especially those who like French and Italian vocal music of the 16th to 18th centuries. This is no pastiche music. It pollinates its influences with the spirit of our time in the syncopated, jazzy rhythms and the aforementioned manifesto, occasionally resulting in works that echo later-period Philip Glass - "Tarantella di San Michele" is a prime example. This hybrid is also evidenced by the instruments used, including guitars, bass, flute, voices, saxophones, a string quartet, percussions, trombones and mandolin.

Li Turchi Viaggiano is an artistic achievement that reveals a great talent and great control. There are many points in the recording where it could all have gone horribly wrong, resulting in a contrived, bloated, elitist affair, but it never happens. This 74-minute long record flows at an unhurried pace and retains our interest. In these times where travel sometimes feel like a highly suspect affair, this is an eclectic travelling companion to cherish. - Nondas Kitsos

Artist's web site: www.mediaetas.it CD available from cdRoots

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