Time for a breather and look back on the last few months’ music collecting. We started our journey in Gibralter, and I am pausing here on the doorstep of the Balkan peninsula. I hope you enjoy this music as much as I did. Do watch the videos, too.
Almost the last part of the of the Italian leg (sorry!) of this imaginary Mediterranean journey. Leaving Apulia and moving north, the plan now is to add “all of the rest” of the music that I have left behind so far, or can’t get a fix on exactly where musicians are from. The playlist is varied and draws mainly from the north east of Italy, but a few additions picked up along the way.
To the deep south of Italy to discover some of the most exciting and invigorating music that I have heard for years, all the more enjoyable as I have never heard of Pizzica music, seen such big tambourines or ever considered that at Italy’s heal there was such a concentration of superb musicians.
Finding music and literature from Rome, Naples and Florence on an imaginary journey around the Meditteranean.
It’s always the same. When I get excited about music I want to share it immediately. Even though, on this invented trip around the Med., I still have to pass through Rome and Italy, I’ve already discovered some of the music of Southern Italy. It is the most exciting I have heard on this voyage of the imagination. And I have to share some of it with you now.
Leaving Monaco with an Italian novel in my hand (set in Monaco) heading for North West Italy and music from Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Milan and Bologna.
As I continue my search for the best ethno/world music from the Mediterranean, (without leaving my home) I arrive in Monaco with all its soulless glamour, glitz, aspiration, but not much music to talk about.
My imaginary Mediterranean music tour continues. It was music from this region that twanged my interest in the search-the-Med-for-music trip. I have no idea how or when I came across them. The first is Dupain. who led me to La Mal Coiffée a book called Total Chaos and another band IAM. Here’s the story and the music.
I have tried very hard to trim down the playlists from Mediterranean Spain. I was aiming for 20. The final list has 50 and there were more I wanted to include. It is almost three hours long. I won’t be doing the same on YouTube.
The book for this first section is Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones. Marvellous. A challenging 700+ pages, but a beautiful read.
Catalonia, do you have a lot of music; and even more diversity than I was expecting, and a lot of protest which I suppose I was expecting. And there is Arabic, African, Chanteuse, Jazz (of many types), electro, experimental, early medieval European and some decidedly uncharacteristically odd without category. And a 3 hour playlist.
In my imaginary musical journey I decided to add some books to read along the way. I had already started to blog the journey and was re-reading A Colder War by Charles Cumming set in Istanbul when I had the idea. But where to start? Should the books be read at the time I am listening to the music of each country, or mix them up?
So far the best discovery of all the music in Valencia is the preservation and performance of early Spanish Music. The key figures seem to be based around one band, L’Ham de Foc and one individual in particular, Efrén López, who links to music well beyond Spain, into Persian, Ottoman genres. Also on the early music list are Mara Aranda and Capella de Ministrers.
The next stop on my make-believe music of the Mediterranean tour is Murcia. Aside from one discovery – Cuadrillas – the search is disappointing. But there are a couple of highlights for my rather paltry playlist – video and audio.
The next part of my imaginary journey around the Mediterranean –
music from Andalucía. If, when you think of Spain you see images of flamenco dancers, bull-fights and holidaymakers on packed summer beaches in soaring temperatures, then this is the Spain you are thinking about.
In the last post my imaginary journey was a walk through the border between Gibraltar and Spain. My intention was first to travel east exploring the sounds of Andalusia. And I will. But just as I was leaving the Rock, I read about Gibraltar Productions who run the Gibraltar World Music Festival. One of the artists that they represent is Jose Carlos Gomez. He is from Algeciras 20 kilometers on the other side of the Bay of Gibraltar.
The beginning of the journey and the beginning of the project. The search for interesting and challenging music around the Mediterranean starting in Gibraltar.
This will be a tour I would love to take in real time; I doubt if I ever will. Our starting point and finish line are The Pillars of Hercules. The route is Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. I have all the time in the world.