04 Mavra Mou Chelidonia
46 Greece / Epiros
Scintered by high mountains, on the border to Albania, in north-west Greece, lies Epirus. Here, in this remote region, a musical tradition based on ancient Byzantine musical scales has survived. The main instruments are clarinet, violin, lute and the defi frame-drum. The laments, with their complex ornamentation, and the upbeat wedding dances, are legendary. The Chalkias brothers come from a long line of musicians, and their family has shaped the musical life of the region for centuries. As a young shepherd, Petro-Loukas made his first simple clarinet and performed at weddings. Today, he is regarded as the last living virtuoso in the great clarinet tradition of Epirus. Famed for his incredible improvisational abilities, he has toured worldwide and has been invited to countless festivals. His brother, Achilleas, accompanies him divinely on violin, with a touch as raw as it is sensual. They are joined by Christos Zotos on lute, a musician in great demand as a soloist for his skilful improvisations on the basis of traditional scales. These Network recordings, made in Athens, document a musical dialogue of enormous sensitivity.