Music in Greek Calabria

Descrizione

Musica 1 - Gallicianò 1 (Med Media)

Pios tragudài to calocèri to chimòna chorègui.

Choever sings in summer willa dance in winter.

Music is the life companion of human beings. It is their soundtrack. In the Greek-Calabrian mountains, too, there is always some good reason for playing, singing and dancing, during the entire yearly work cycle and moments of leisure, on the occasion of religious festivals and strictly secular or family celebrations.

Once, a long day’s herding or hours spent working hard in the fields were alleviated by the sound of bagpipes filling the silent Greek-Aspromonte valleys, sometimes accompanied by singing. Playing and singing have been, from the earliest forms of social life on, the best antidotes by which to combat and relieve the fatigue and loneliness of farm labour, especially shepherding.

“Plen glicìo tu cruma tu nerù condà tu pigadìu ene to dicòssu, cerameddhàro, ti scorpìszise ston àero musica palèa ce asciunnàse ste spichè ghiomàte iplo, ciòmeni nostalgìa …”

Your sound, oh bagpipes, is sweeter than that of the water near the font, dispersing antique music in the air, reawakening souls dulled by the sleep of burning nostalgia.

Mùsica palèa Musica antica from Chimàrri by Salvino Nucera.

Today, music and dance continue to represent a precious resource for the inhabitants of Greek Calabria. The songs, sounds and dance are handed down, taught to young people (family members and others) who wish to learn how to sing, if they have a good voice, and to play, beginning with the flutes that pave the way for the zampogna [Italian bagpipes]. A great effort is being made to conserve the traditional sounds and songs, in an increasingly globalised world. The passionate enthusiasm of some young people, backed by the patience of the older generation, is keeping the tradition alive.

SINGING

“Begin beloved Muses, begin your pastoral song. This is Tirsi from Etna and the sound of Tirsi’s voice is sweet”.

First Idyll from “Tirsi or singing” by Theocritus.

It is necessary to mention the Idylls and Bucolics by Theocritus of Syracuse, where he tells of a song contest between a goatherd and a shepherd with a woodcutter adjudicator, to understand the historical importance of a musical and poetic custom which continued until not too long ago in the Greek-Aspromonte area.

 Season’s greetings were exchanged and the company asked in, as a mark of goodwill and for good luck, with a cordial calopòdi [greeting] and some welcome Christmas fare, by the light of a lumère lichinària [ a lamp].

The art of poesijiare (poetic improvisation) also described by Theocritus, was a singing contest, in which master poesijiaturi took part at home , at the bar or in the square accompanied by the ciarameddhe [shawms] or arganettu [button accordion]. At the beginning the contestants would be numerous, but very few reached the finish line, when only one would be declared the winner. The most gifted, the most creative, the person best able to invent and intone rhymed verses, improvising, sustained by a few glasses of good red wine.

The art of poetic improvisation existed among women too who often sang in chorus while reaping, harvesting grapes and olives, sometimes accompanied by cerameddhe [bagpipes]. The song was begun by the women with the strongest, shrillest voices and by those with the ability to put traditional verses together and compose impromptu lines. Their voices acted as the lead for the other women who responded. Their creativity might be shown also during engagement feasts or weddings. On public occasions only men were allowed to sing.

As in most other communities, in the Greek-Aspromonte area too, singing was used for serenades, love songs, work songs, songs of scorn and of farewell; on festive and religious occasions. Both men and women performed, either as soloists or in chorus.

The songs with bagpipe accompaniment are very particular, including

Oli mu lego (Audio Link).

Oli mu lego

Oli mu legu: traguda, traguda!

Ce emmèna em mu vjènni asce cardia.

Na tragudiu ta calà garzugna,

Cini ti vjennu a spasso ti vradia.

Olo mu legu: Mavri micceddhugna!

Emìse, èhome, emi i ponocardia.

Another traditional love song is Ela, elamu condà (Audio Link), lyrics by Mastr’Angelo Maesano from Roghudi , music by Fausto Petronio from Bova Marina. This song is considered by many the anthem of Bovesia.

Ela, elamu condà

Esù miccèddha ti isso àndin oscìa

C’egò pedì ti immo àndon jalò

Arte ti ejenàstisse megàli

Egò thelo na se prandefthò.

Ela, elamu condà

Ti egò imme manachò.

O potamò èrchete àndin oscìa

Ce catevènni catu ston jalò

Ciòla t’aspària ti ene dispamèna

Èrchondo ce pìnnu to glicìo nerò.

San èrchete o mina tu majìu

Olos o cosmo fènete chlorò

Ce tragudùsi ola ta puddhìa

Jatì amènu ton calòn kerò.

San i szoì dikìma ene palèa

Paracalùme panda ton Christò;

den thelo de na fao ce den na pio

na ciumithò methèsu manachò.

Translation

You , a girl come from the mountains

And I, a boy from the sea

Now that you’ve grown up

I want (would like) to marry you.

Come, come close to me

Because I am feeling lonely.

The river stems from the mountains

And flows down to the sea

Even fish who are thirsty

Come to drink fresh water.

When the month of May comes round

The whole world turns green

And all the birds sing

Because they are awaiting good weather.

When our lives draw to a close

Let us always pray the Lord;

I do not want to eat or drink

but only lie by your side.

The third piece is Oh ìgghio cheràmeno (Audio Link), a tarantella tune composed by Calabrian songwriter and singer, Francesca Prestia, for lines written by the Calabrian-Greek poet Salvino Nucera.

Oh ìgghio cheràmeno

Oh, ìgghio cheràmeno

Me ta sìnnofa sto vradi.

Oh, ìgghio cheràmeno

Me ta sìnnofa sto vradi.

Pèszise na ta vàfise

Mavra, cìtrina, rusa.

Pèszise na ta vàfise

Mavra, cìtrina, rusa.

Catu, i thàlassa

canunài anàscila.

Catu, i thàlassa

canunài… to chorìomu!

Sta pòdia tu Asprumunti

to chorìomu, chorìomu.

Sta pòdia tu Asprumunti

to chorìomu, chorìomu.

Spitàcia catharà,

dromùcia stenà.

Mavri àthropi.

Mavri àthropi.

Me megàle cardìe!

Me megàle cardìe!

Translation

Oh, sun, happy

with the clouds of the evening

Oh, sun, happy

with the clouds of the evening

You play at colouring them

black, yellow, red.

You play at colouring them

black, yellow, red.

Below, the sea

looks on, lying on his back.

Below, the sea

looks … at my village.

At the foot of the Aspromonte,

my village, my village!

At the foot of the Aspromonte,

my village, my village!

Neat little houses.

Narrow little streets.

Humble people.

Humble people.

With big hearts.

With big hearts!

Fonte

Collana Editoriale del Parco Culturale della Greek Calabria Booklet – Music and dance section.  By Domenico Morello, Salvino Nucera, Francesca Prestia.

BROWSE THROUGHT THE BOOK “MUSICA DALLA MONTAGNA DEI GRECI DI CALABRIA” 

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LocalitaBorgo di Galliciano’
Tipo RisorsaMusica e Danza