Le Grechesche

For hundreds of years the Venetian predominance in the Mediterranean was not only political and economic. In fact, the Serenissima’s wise and interested tentacular hand allowed lands, not matter how distant, to enter into contact with each other and exchange cultural influences. They were mainly people who had in common another element, the sea, which was considered a source of wealth, life and artistic inspiration.

The music pieces were composed using as an inspiration the imaginary atmospheres of the ports visited by the galleys, and trying to highlight in each place, metaphorically represented by a piece of music, a common denominator, namely the marine and Mediterranean DNA.

Once again, Khaossia drew from ancient repertoire, by bringing back and reinventing in folk style four “Grechesca” (a kind of “villanella” of burlesque, colourful and heterogeneous character) originally published in 1571 by the Venetian composer Andrea Gabrieli. The texts, respected by Khaossia in the execution, were composed by eclectic Antonio Molino also known as Burchiella – a representative of the stradiostesca literature . They use a sort of linguistic fusion of Venetian, Istrian, Dalmatian and Greek. Molino was a comic actor, a poet, a composer and a professional merchant. The perfect travel companion for Khaossia.

The journey’s destination is the Land of Otranto, where the Venetian community was already present in 836 when they used their warships to help the Longobards and the Byzantines to protect the Adriatic coast from the Saracen pirates. The Venetians settled in Salento between the 15th and 18th century, immediately taking over public roles in order to protect their own commercial interests and secure valuable ports. The signs of this forced “brotherhood” between Venice and the Land of Otranto are still evident today in the Palace of the City Government in Lecce and the chapel of San Marco with its inevitable lion. Among the many Venetian families that settled in Salento, Khaossia have chosen to travel with the Basalù, a restless family , with an intriguing history, who ruled the city of Otranto for years.

The band from Salento brought together for this cd friends of different backgrounds and training, in addition to the core group consisting of Luca Congedo, Fabio Turchetti, who composed and arranged the tracks as usual, and Stefano Torre. The goal was to recreate, even at the time of recording, the atmosphere of random encounters between different musicians, mostly amateurs and merchants, that took place in the Mediterranean ports. Surreal atmospheres recreated by putting together musical instruments, which were distant both in their genre (refined and popular) and in space and time. Renaissance flute, Cretan laouto, violin, tambourine, accordion, guitar blend naturally together in this cd.

 

Tracklist

  1. Cando pinso al turmendo (Grechesca)
  2. Basalù
  3. Mi xe stao in tutte cande (Grechesca)
  4. Aγία Σοφία (Agia Sofia)
  5. Rakalj
  6. Como viver mi’ l posso (Grechesca)
  7. Stato da Mar
  8. Zattere
  9. Terra d’Otranto
  10. E vu, fiume, chie dèu tributo (Grechesca)
  11. Acaya
  12. San Marco

I Khaossia

 

Luca Congedo, traversa rinascimentale, flauto soprano rinascimentale, flauto traverso, Turkish flute, porcelain transverse flute.

Fabio Turchetti, organetto, fisarmonica, chitarra.

Stefano Torre, voce, laouto cretese, tamburo a cornice.

 

Musiche composte e arrangiate da Fabio Turchetti

e con…

Simona Maffini, voce.

Su Qi, violino.

Riccarda Dacquati, clarinetto.

Lorenzo Colace, chitarra.


1) Cando pinso al turmendo

Cando pinso al turmendo

Chie ti me ‘l dastu, amori,

Thòra chie ‘l me xe rotta

Mio lanza, e mio cavallo scamba via,

Chie no ‘l posso far botta

Gnesuna chie bon sia,

Irteme tanda stinza dendro ‘l cori

Chie moro del dolori.

Haimena, se t’havesse

sul man, O chie pulesse

zunzerte Cul spathia

un zurno, mariolletto,

Te ‘l tangiarave ‘l viso al to despetto.

(versi di Antonio Molino)

When I think of the torment

That you give me, love,

Now that my lance is broken

And my horse runs away

So that I cannot deal

any blow that would do any good,

such a sting comes in my heart

that I die of grief.

Alas! If I could lay

Hands on you, or if I could ever

Reach you with my sword, little knave,

I would change your face to your

loathing

 

2) Basalù

The Basalù family was one of the groups of rich merchants who came from Venice to settle in Land of Otranto, buying fiefs and holding important political positions. Historical sources establish that they originally came from Candia, the current Crete. Another theory suggests that the surname Basalù, or Bascià, came from the Turkish “Pasha”.

It is said that during the siege of Florence in the 15th century, a Turk rebelled against the orders of Sultan Akmet Bascià and for this reason, the Sultan sent him a snare, representing a death sentence. The Turk went into hiding near Maglie to escape death, and here he started the Basalù dinasty.

 

3) Mi xe stao in tutte cande

Mi xe stao in tutte cande

Catro barte del mundo,

Cercando in tundo in tundo,

E l’ostro e ‘l tramundana,

E ‘l pulende e ‘l levande;

No ‘l visto mai fra tande

Donna chie del vertù sia plio surana.

Unde la benendigo

Mio stella, mio vendura

E mio destin amingo,

Chie me ‘l fado vegniri

Aldir chesta verzinia in mio vecchiezza,

Per far satiar mio cor del so dulcezza.

Cusì pulesse haveri

In mio burchella e barca

El musa del Pedrarca,

Chie ‘l farave sendiri

Chie dendro ‘l so bel viso

Sta tutto canto ‘l ben del parandiso.

(versi di Antonio Molino)

I have been in all four

parts of the world,

looking around and around,

in the south and the north,

in the west and the east;

I have never seen among so many

a woman who is superior in virtue.

Wherefore I bless

my star, my fortune,

and my friendly destiny

that made me come

to listen to this young woman in my old age,

to have my heart satisfied with her sweetness.

So, if I had Petrarch’s muse

In my barge and boat,

I would have her

hear that in her lovely face

is all the goodness of paradise.

 

4) Aγία Σοφία (Agia Sofia)

Saint Sophia is the most representative monument in Constantinople, today’s Istanbul. Initially a Basilica, then a mosque and now a museum, it collects centuries of Mediterranean history: the struggle between the Latin and Orthodox Church, the crusades and the continuous conflicts between Christians and Muslims. On board the galley Khaossia express their tribute and their respect for it surviving the attacks of time, man and nature.

 

5) Rakalj

Also called Castelnuovo D’arda, it was one of the ports the Venetians used in Istria, a place of sailors and musicians.

 

6) Como viver mi’ l posso

Come viver mi ‘l posso,

Chiara zendil signora,

S’a un sguardo sol d’amori

M’havè rubà ‘l mio cori?

(versi di Antonio Molino)

How can I live,

noble gentle lady,

if with a single glance of love

you have stolen my heart?

 

7) Stato da Mar

(Sea State)

The domains of the maritime Republic of Venice were called Sea State, which was administered by a dense network of Venetian officials.

 

8) Zattere

The foundation of the Zattere, one of the oldest areas of Venice, represents the southern limit of the city. It is said that the name derives from its former function of arrival point for the extremely precious cargos of salt.

 

9) Terra d’Otranto

Land of Otranto

The Land of Otranto is the final destination of the galley slaves’ journey. It includes the lands of Southern Puglia, headed by the province of Lecce, surrounded by the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea. It was the residence of the Venetian family of Basalù and is Khaossia’s homeland.

 

10) E vu, fiume, chie dèu tributo

E vu, fiumi, chie dèu tributo al mari,

Piave, Ladese, Po, Sil, Brenta et Ogio,

Vegni cha tutti canti a lagrimari

La morte d’Adrian, del chan me dogio,

Chie no ‘l porà mie versi plio lustrari

Cu ‘l dulce canto chie rumpe ogni scogio.

O megàlos cordogio!

Del mundo tutto, Chy sarà mo chello

Chie in armonia del par vaga cun ello?

(versi di Antonio Molino)

And you, rivers that give tribute to the sea,

Piave, Adige, Po, Sile, Brenta and Oglio,

come hither every one to lament

the death of Adrian, for whom I mourn,

who will nevermore be able to set my verses

to music with the sweet song that shatters every reef.

Oh great sorrow!

In the whole world who will now be

the one who can emulate him in harmony [the art of music]?

 

11) Acaya

As well as generating stories, legends, popular myths that have survived to this day, The fear of the Turks after the terrible plundering of Otranto in 1480 led also to a strengthening of coastal defenses, like the village of Acaya, a few kilometers from Lecce, which was fortified to resist against Turkish incursions. It is considered a jewel of architecture and was the work of Gian Giacomo of Acaya, military engineer for Charles V.

 

12) San Marco

Saint Mark the Evangelist is the patron saint of Venice and, according to an ancient Venetian tradition, an angel in the form of a winged Lion appeared to the Saint, who was shipwrecked in the lagoons, to predict that one day his body would find rest and veneration in those lands.

Saint Mark is not only the patron saint of Venice but he also represents the city’s life in all its different aspects. He is present on the flag, which for centuries has proudly flown on ships and in the cities of the Sea State. Covered in gold and containing precious artefacts and works of art which were sourced lawfully or unlawfully from the colonies and through trade, the Basilica was dedicated to the Evangelist and is proof of prosperity and faith. His Lion, symbol of power and domination, was carved everywhere in the Mediterranean.