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Meridiana

09/12/2021The European World Music Charts Vote Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino's Latest Album 'Best Of 2021'

"We're All In The Same Dance" was the title to Cazoniere Grecanico Salentino's (CGS) beautiful split-screen dance project launched back in 2020 during the early days of the global lockdown and sending out a much-needed message of unity or as band leader Mauro Durante described, "a hymn to life, an antidote to the privations of the lockdown." The internationally acclaimed group was founded in 1975 by Daniele Durante with the intention of "reviving and celebrating the traditional music and dance of the Salento, a territory of the Puglia region in southern Italy" and Mauro, "a conservatory-trained violinist, percussionist and devoted student of Salentine traditional music," took the reigns from his late father back in 2007. Daniele Durante sadly passed away earlier this year. 

Honouring his memory and honing its "distinctive take on traditional Pizzica Taranta culture and sound," the seven-piece band – including Mauro's bandmates Giulio Bianco, Alessia Tondo, Emanuele Licci, Silvia Perrone, Giancarlo Paglialunga, Massimiliano Morabito and sound engineer Francesco Aiello – went on to release its latest album "Meridiana" in June of 2021. Written and recorded during lockdown, the group adapted to circumstance, creating much of the album remotely: "It wasn’t easy to meet, to make music together, to be a band in the usual way...but somehow we managed," Mauro recalls. "Working with our guests was a new experience; we could only work remotely, but still we created something we’re proud of. This album is proof that the desire to share, to dance together, is irresistible. Music really has no borders."

Co-produced by guitarist and producer Justin Adams (a longstanding collaborator of Robert Plant and producer of iconic world music acts such as Tinariwen and Rachid Taha), said guests include Neapolitan saxophonist, composer and singer-songwriter Enzo Avitabile, pioneering Brooklyn-based bhangra band Red Baraat and electronic producer Giacomo Greco. "Meridiana" translates to 'sundial', "one of the first instruments to measure time, using light and shadow [...]," Mauro explains. "Thinking about time means thinking about our lives and the people who make them worthwhile. And if, as physics scientist Feynman stated, 'time is what happens when nothing else happens,' this last year gave us the chance to feel time a lot."

Indeed, "Meridiana" is a thrilling ride through numerous time zones, blending ancient musical traditions with modern means of production and virtuosic musicianship: 12 opulent tracks for each hour on the dial, juxtaposing past and present, "a [far-reaching] synaesthesia of voices" and styles, drawing from a multitude of inspirations and bursting with energy.  The release website itself was conceived as "an immersive experience with [curated] multidisciplinary content" ranging from music, images, and texts to educational videos and contemporary works akin to the album's abundant symbolism. As such, "Meridiana" is like an open invitation to collaborate, interact, communicate and, most importantly, create. 

Recently, the album was deservedly voted 'best of 2021' out of 796 nominated releases on the World Music Charts Europe and awarded an equally impressive sixth spot on this year's Transglobal World Music Charts. You can stream the full album via the Spotify player below. Well done, Mauro Durante and Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom