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Salento Altra Musica

Avleddha is a group of young musicians performing their own songs based on the important musical tradition of the Grico community. This is a linguistic minority of people of Greek descent, in Puglia (in the South of Italy), that is indebted to both cultures.

The instrumentation of acoustic guitar, bass, percussion and harmonica provides a tight, festive sound reminiscent of the musical tradition of Napoli. Almost all of the songs are in the local idiom, except from the final track, that is in Italian. The liner notes are bilingual (in Griko and Italian). The care that went into the packaging is also worth noting.

"O cerō ipāi"
The lyrics cover themes of a simple rural life ("Sperinō" - Vespers), daydreaming ("Ėtela" - How I Wish), love ("Na su cletso ti cardėa" - To Steal Your Heart) and slightly comedic anger ("Iche na to'chi" - It Had to Be). "O cerō ipāi" is a song about the passage of time, while "Ória s' afėno" addresses the still-important issue of emmigration. With " Mara cce mena mara cce ma" they offer a new tarantella pizzica (the traditional therapautic dance of the region) and a piece about a relationship between a woman who is interested in the deeper meaning of life and a man who takes life as it comes ("Agapi iatė e' plonni?"); the song's ever more rapid rhythm is a simple but masterful musical idea. The enjoyment of the beautiful and simple things is the theme of "Calinėtta" (Good Night). The recording closes with "Otranto," a song that describes the reality of living on the dividing line between East and West.

"Mara cce mena..."
The most striking thing about this album, the group's first, is the consistency of the group's performance skills and the basic, rural sensibility of the lyrics, delivered with the potency of true vernacular wisdom. This is due to the long history of the musicians working together as a group (more than ten years) before this release and in the long tradition of exquisite lyrics in the region's traditional music. This is music that breathes the air of tradition while living comfortably in the 21st Century, eternal even as it shows the whimsicality of pop music.

Although a knowledge of the idiom (or at least Greek) adds extra layers of surprise and shows the close links between the two languages, this is music whose joie de vivre and distance from living in the fast lane will appeal to everyone. - Nondas Kitsos

Avleddha Web Site

Otranto available by special order from cdRoots

Audio: © Avleddha 2000, used by permission

Read Nondas Kitsos' article on Grico and Grecanico music

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