Few instruments enjoy a status inversely proportional to the role that they play. The tambourine is in principle one of the least sexy instruments in the world, and yet you will seldom come across a group from southern Europe whose unbridled dance rhythms are not driven by the tambourine in one or other of its various forms.
Radio Cos, one of the most interesting traditional groups from Galicia (north-west Spain), which of course puts the tambourine in the forefront of its performance, will be coming to present its latest CD, Pasatempo. As for the duo Calabro 38, they’ll be taking us into the heart of Calabrian traditions from this region between the Pollino mountains and the peak of the Sila.
Calabro 38 brings together multi-instrumentalists Rocco Adduci et Francesco Rosa in a programme of tarentella and polyphonic singing, with a sophisticated mixture of trance and serenades. If there is a party atmosphere, this is because they present this musical repertoire with wind instruments such as the zampogna (south Italy’s bagpipes), flute and bombard, with percussion provided by the tambourine, as well as the chitarra battente, a distant cousin of the 17th century baroque guitar. And all of this without forgetting the powerful voices singing a gola aperta (with open throat).
Xurxo Fernandes and Quique Peon, Radio Cos’s two main singers, produce their energetic rhythms not only with the pandeireta (a tambourine),but also accompany their songs on metal cans that once contained peppers, square-framed drums, and so on, all of which support the bagpipes, accordion, violin and soprano saxophone. This is a dynamic quintet with two powerful voices, singing material that is sometimes many centuries old. Both singers have carried out lengthy research, and it was just as evident from their first CDs as it is on the latest, Pasatempo, how ancient songs, some of them really archaic, and more recent traditional works influence each other and come together in an infectious mixture. Get ready for joyful dance music which unites the atmosphere of a country festival with a refined musical sensibility.
Nikolay Velikov : violin
Pedro Lamas : sax, bagpipes
Quique Peón : percussion, vocals
Xan Pampín : accordion
Xurxo Fernandes : percussion, vocals
Francesco Rosa: vocals, zampogna, guitare battente, bombard
Rocco Adduci: zampogna, surdulina, harmonic flute, tambourine
In collaboration with Aria Pagana asbl