Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino | Navy Pier Crystal Gardens | International | Chicago Reader

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino Member Picks Free All Ages Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sun., Feb. 17, 12 p.m. 2013

This ensemble from Salento—the southeastern extremity of the Puglia region, or the “heel” of Italy’s boot—was formed in 1975 to preserve the folkloric music of the pizzica tarantata, a local dance thought to heal the bite of the tarantula. Since 2007, when leadership of Canzionere Greciano Salentino fell to fiddler Mauro Durante, its sound has included a relatively electric feel and a tasteful global reach—guest musicians have included Italian pop singers such as Carmen Consoli and Vinnie Caposella and Malian kora master Ballake Sissoko. On the new Pizzica Indiavolata (Ponderosa), the manic dance rhythms—driven by the traditional tambourinelike tamburello as well as other percussion—buoy a surging mix of high-octane fiddling, churning accordion, piercing bagpipe, sprightly recorder, and piquant bouzouki and guitar. Occasionally the band cools off for a rustic-sounding ballad, but even on those songs the throaty, ebullient singing gives the music an irresistible momentum. —Peter Margasak