3

Canzionere Grecanico Salentino: New York, NY February 1, 2013

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Canzionere Grecanico Salentino
Michael Schimmel Center For the Arts at Pace University
New York, NY
February 1, 2013

At the opening performance of its debut US tour, the Southern Italian Canzionere Grecanico Salentino sextet presented a cohesive set of traditional and original songs in an almost all-acoustic setting. The sextet opened by coming onstage, one by one. Accordionist Massimiliano Morabito began alone, and was slowly joined by the other members of the group. The ensemble played an up-tempo tune that got the mostly Italian audience singing or clapping along to the ever-increasing tempo.

Led by Mauro Durante (vocals, violin and frame drum), the group continued with songs that sometimes had a Middle Eastern vibe, while others resembled Celtic music- -especially through their use of the bagpipe-like chiaramella and because most relied on but two or three chords. Some tunes had a more contemporary feel, such as "Nu Te Fermare, "an original song from Pizzica Indiavolata (Puglia Sounds, 2012), which featured multi-instrumentalist Giulio Bianco on electric bass—one of the few numbers to include a non-acoustic instrument.

Durante explained that some lyrics were played in Grecanico—a dialect from his region that, according to his words, is disappearing because it is no longer spoken by younger generations. Dancer Silvia Perrone joined the group for the more up-tempo numbers, enhancing the music by interacting with the musicians and audience members, some of whom were already dancing in the open spaces in the theater. Among the highlights were "Bella Ci Dorme," a slow serenade sung by vocalist/percussionist Maria Mazzotta, whose lyrics told the story of a man singing under his loved one's window as she comfortably sleeps, and "Tambbirriedhu Mia," a percussion-rich tune in which audience members sang along during the chorus.

There were a lot of improvised moments during the show—the musicians often looking at each other as to signal that their solos were ending—and halfway through the show, Durante played a frame drum solo that included various rhythms, including rock and samba. At the end of the set, the group returned to the stage and played some tunes, including a reprise of "Tambbirriedhu Mia," without any microphones.

The concert, which lasted roughly two hours, was a welcome introduction to a genre that is rarely heard Stateside. The band managed to keep the audience engaged throughout, switching instruments and beats as it went along.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Monterey Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Monterey Jazz Festival 2017
by Josef Woodard
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Match&Fuse Dublin 2017 Live Reviews Match&Fuse Dublin 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard Live Reviews Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2017
Read WOMAD 2017 Live Reviews WOMAD 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Punkt Festival 2017 Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium Live Reviews Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "The Power Quintet at Jazz Standard" Live Reviews The Power Quintet at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano" Live Reviews Dawn Clement Trio at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note" Live Reviews Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "bigBANG Jazz Gang" Live Reviews bigBANG Jazz Gang
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Rigas Ritmi 2017" Live Reviews Rigas Ritmi 2017
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia" Live Reviews Dwiki Dharmawan's Pasar Klewer Plays Indonesia
by John Ephland
Published: March 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.