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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Kerouac's Blues

Jack Kerouac published his “Mexico City Blues” fifty years ago, in 1959.

The poems never really worked for me, on the page. Out loud, or with a jazz accompaniment, some of the 242 choruses really hit the mark, but "non stop ad libbing" can become tiresome and then "the gig is shot".

I much preferred his prose works, like “On the Road” and “Lonesome Traveller”.

In his introductory note to “Mexico City Blues”, Jack wrote, “I want to be considered a jazz poet, blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam session on Sunday.”

In truth, I preferred Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “A Coney Island of the Mind” (Hutchinson, London, 1959) and Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, but I still dig the last line of the 231st Chorus. It’s stuck with me for fifty years:

“When rock becomes air
I will be there.”

There's something memorable about this line too (104th Chorus):

"I'd rather be thin than famous".


My colleagues presented me with Jack's 3 CD boxed set when I left Sweden. I often play them here in Greece.

It didn't really matter to Jack what people thought of his blues choruses: 


"And if you don't like the tone
       of my poems
You can go jump in the lake."

(From Desolation Blues, 11th Chorus; Book of Blues)

Check out Tom Waits's two interpretations of a Kerouac lyric in the songs "Home I'll never be" and "On the Road".

Kerouac himself attributes the lyrics of these songs (the original blues) to an old blues singer he met in Des Moines:

"His songs were those mysterious rumbling, rambling blues that you hear with low-register guitar and unknown words rising out of the Deep South night like a groan, like a fire beyond the trees" ("The Rumbling, Rambling Blues", Playboy, January, 1958).

Kerouac "Home I'll Never Be" and YouTube version

And remember Jack's words:

“Take a chorus, it’s free! Blow one for me!"

Tom Waits talks about Kerouac, and sings

Kerouac, On the Road to Desolation

Bellou, Vamvakaris, Tsitsanis... and Tsipouro

A most enjoyable evening was spent last week up in the Zagori, in the company of new friends from Thessaloniki, Kostas and Brigitte, who are restoring an amazing old house in the Upper Village.

We drank local tsipouro, cracked open some walnuts from the tree in the garden, and listened to old 78rpm and 45rpm records on the gramophone. Luckily we all shared the same taste in Greek music: Sotiria Bellou, Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsanis, Grigoris Bithikotsis.

There’s nothing like the sound and the feel of old 78s, of classic rebetika and laika songs like “Trexe, manga, na rotiseis (“I Derbederissa”), “Apopse kaneis bam!” or even 45s like “San pethano sto karavi”or “Stou Belami to ouzeri”. Gail Holst wrote, in “Road to Rebetika”, of Bellou’s version of “If I die on the boat” that “it makes my hair stand on end, although I must have listened to it a thousand times.”

You can keep your CDs and I-Pods! Give me a scratchy old 78, any time. It’s the same with the blues. Unless you’re heard Blind Willie Johnson or Howlin’ Wolf on the original 78s, you’ve never really heard them as they were heard by their original listeners.

It’s convenient to have them on I-Pod too, I admit, although they’re not the ideal lullabies!

Zagori Villages, Deutsche Welle Report

Before I set out on my travels, here's an item I enjoyed that was broadcast on Deutsche Welle on 19 January 2009.

Scroll down to listen to the radio report on the Zagori villages, with comments from Jo and Vassilis Mouchas:

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3951925,00.html

A Corfiot view of the English

Nicander Nucius (Nikandros Noukios), the Corfiot traveller, visited England in 1545 and 1546.

I don't know if his views were (are?) representative of what Corfiots think of the English:

“The race of men indeed is fair, inclining to a light colour; in their persons they are tall and erect; the hair of their beard and head is of a golden hue; their eyes blue, for the most part, and their cheeks are ruddy; they are martial and valorous, and generally tall; flesh-eaters, and insatiable of animal food; sottish and unrestrained in their appetites; full of suspicion.”

Saturday, 26 September 2009

How many British residents speak Greek?

Reading Charlemagne's notebook blog on the topic of 'The Disaster of Monolingual Britain' (The Economist blog, Saturday, 26 September), I wonder how many British residents of Corfu would claim to speak operational Greek? Have a look at
http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2009/09/the_disaster_of_monolingual_br.cfm
Also worth a look, on the European Day of Languages (26 September) are the following statistics:
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=STAT/09/137&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Viscount Kirkwall was shocked that so few British officials knew Greek, back in the times of the British Protectorate.

It's lucky we don't have to take language examinations in order to live on Corfu . Yet.

Friday, 25 September 2009

CORFU HOSPITAL

Apparently New Democracy has invited the citizens of Corfu to the official opening of the new hospital at Kontokali, at 11am on Sunday 27 September, just a week before the general election.

Bravo! I'm glad to know it's finally open! Work started in 1996. The current website of Corfu Hospital (www.corfuhospital.gr/index.htm) has this to say (click on Union Jack for English version) :

"In the future it is programmed to relocate the Hospital in a new building installation in the region Kontokali in Corfu, which will contribute in the confrontation of increased needs and new challenges".

Looking for news on the web about the official opening celebration of the new hospital, all I could find was an item on YouTube from March 2009. One doesn't know whom to believe or trust.

In the end one can only believe the evidence of one's own eyes.

Like everyone else in Corfu, I hope a fully-equipped and properly staffed new hospital will open its doors to patients soon. The Corfiots have been waiting a very long time. They deserve it. It's a long way to Ioannina or Athens when you're seriously ill.

Watching the local TV channel on Friday night, one might be forgiven for thinking that this official "opening" of the new hospital is largely a matter of unpacking boxes of equipment before packing them up again- until such a time as the hospital is really in a proper state to start functioning.

UPDATE DECEMBER 31st 2010. I am receiving some positive reports from friends in Corfu that the new hospital is up and running and very impressive. Bravo! Happy New Year!

This is very encouraging

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

John Campbell, Obituary

Richard Clogg's obituary of John Campbell was published in The Guardian on 21 September, 2009:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/sep/21/john-campbell-obituary

The Daily Telegraph also carried an obituary:
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/6220080/John-Campbell.html

J. K. Campbell was the author of "Honour, Family and Patronage, A Study of Institutions and Moral Values in a Greek Mountain Community" (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1964).

He is still fondly remembered by Sarakatsan families in this area of the Zagori, although he was living amongst them as long ago as 1954 and 1955, and even though the anthropological information he published about their customs and strict moral values and codes may not always have been welcome.

In "The Sarakatsani: A People in Transition" (The Anglo-Hellenic Review, No. 6, Autumn 1992), he writes:

"Inevitably, since 1954 when we first joined them, the impact of social and economic change on the Sarakatsan shepherd communities has been profound. Few now live in traditional huts. In mountain villages, stone houses abandoned by villagers migrating to the towns have been bought by shepherds...Flocks have been reduced in size and many Sarakatsani no longer make seasonal journeys alternately to the mountains and the plains...In the 1950s one could still occasionally find an old Saraktsan shepherd playing a flute while he watched his sheep. But the significance of other aspects of his heritage was certainly neither Arcadian nor romantic."

Socio-economic change has moved on apace since 1992. Some former shepherds have settled down in the villages, in Igoumenitsa or Ioannina; others have sold their stone houses to newcomers who've restored them with the the assistance of EU grants, to make them into second homes, small hotels or guest-houses. Others have been left as abandoned ruins. Every year one hears fewer sheep-bells. I miss the sound.

John Campbell's book reminds us what life was like in the Zagori little more than fifty years ago.

See also, The Sarakatsani and the Klephtic Tradition in Minorities in Greece: Aspects of a Plural Society, edited by Richard Clogg


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Epirus, Threshing Floor





ALONI

As hard as marble, copper, iron.
The threshing floor
Where Charon waits.



(Haiku and photograph exhibited in Vitsa, August 2009).

Miroloi and Skaros: Epirot Blues

I’ve just bought an interesting book called Moiroloi kai Skaros, by Kostas Loli (Ioannina, 2003). It’s a bilingual book (in Greek and Albanian), so I don’t imagine that many of you will be rushing out to order it, unless you play the folk-clarinet and want to learn to improvise in the Epirot and Southern Albanian style. It contains a wealth of musical examples and transcriptions of this very bluesy kind of music, the moiroloi (a slow, melancholic lament or dirge), and the skaros, the shepherds’ improvisation on flute or clarinet traditionally played as they gather (skarizoun) the flocks, to settle them down for the night.

I've also been listening to an old vinyl LP ("Songs of Epirus", 1975) which contains excellent examples of the Miroloi (with Vasilis Batzis on clarinet) and the Skaros, or Shepherd's Tune (with Michael Panousakos on clarinet). It's probably still available as a CD, recorded with a Ford Foundation grant by the Society for the Dissemination of National Music. I also have an old French EP record, with Vassilis Batzis performing a Miroloi (paraponiariko) and a Skaros, recorded in 1956 by Louis Berthe, of the Musee de l'Homme.

There are several CDs containing historical recordings, such as "Epirotika, 1926 to 1950", with a miroloi (recorded in New York) from 1926, and a skaros from 1929, and "The Greek Archives, Music of Epirus Vol. 1, 1925-1940" (FM Records) which contains a miroloi from 1926 (no details) and a skaros from 1926 (clarinet, Christos Harisiadis)

I once wrote an article on Epirot Music (The Anglo-Hellenic Review, Spring 2006; reprinted in Corfu Blues, Ars Interpres, 2006), calling this music “deeper than the deepest blues”. The article finished with these words: “So play me a moiroloi (lament) of exile and infinite sadness, of that deep lonely yearning for a distant home and much-missed loved ones. Let the sound of the clarinet rise and fall as the player improvises a taximi-theme like a shepherd playing to settle his flocks- and his own soul- as night falls on the mountains!”

This kind of music isn’t very popular in Corfu, it has to be said, where the most mournful and funereal music is played by the wind-bands when they process slowly through the town on Good Friday. It’s a completely different musical tradition. The slow, improvised, Epirot instrumental moiroloi isn't associated only with funerals, it's also played at panigyria.

Patrick Leigh Fermor has a poetic description of a skaros as played on a long bone flute by Yorgo, a Saraktsani (a semi-nomadic shepherd), in his book "Roumeli, Travels in Northern Greece"(1966), page 54:

"The music that began to hover through the hut was moving and breathless. It started with long and deep notes separated by pauses; then it shot aloft in patterns of great complexity. Repeated and accelerating trills led to sustained high notes which left the tune quivering in mid-air before plummeting an octave to those low and long-drawn initial semibreves. Notes of an icy clarity alternated with with notes of a stirring, reedy, and at moments almost rasping hoarseness. After a long breath, they sailed again into limpid and piercing airs of a most touching softness; the same minor phrase recurred again and again with diminishing volume, until the final high flourishes presaged the protracted bass notes once more, each of them preceded and followed by a lengthening hiatus of silence. One can think of no apter or more accurate reflection in sound of the mountains and woods and flocks and the nomads' life."

See also Tammer on the Saraktasani, in which he quotes Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Now I have the book by Kostas Loli, but no flute, no clarinet and no teacher. I’d better stick to the blues guitar. I could do with a few lessons on that instrument, too! Maybe I'll take up the didgeridoo.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Oi Xenitemenoi





In this part of the Pindus mountains, most of the swallows seem to have left, and the Diochnes are beginning to bloom. The beautiful wild yellow or mauve crocus is telling the menfolk to leave. "Mas diochnoun", say the Zagori villagers, "they're sending us away". The flowers herald the time of the year when the men of the Zagorohoria had to up-sticks, leave their wives, children, mountain villages and stone mansions to return to their occupations as expatriates in far-away lands.

It's a common theme of Epirot folk-songs, the experience of xeniteia. I know how they felt and how they feel. But like the swallows, they always return.

Friday, 18 September 2009

The British Invade the Ionian Islands!

Did you know that the British invaded the southern Ionian Islands (Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Ithaca and Kythira) two hundred years ago, in 1809, defeating the French fleet in Zakynthos on October 2, 1809?

The British captured Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Ithaca and Kythira between 2 and 9 October 1809.

The Diary of John Cam Hobhouse


The signature of Nicholas Strani (Strane), English Consul at Patras.


Follow in the footsteps of Lord Byron through the diary of John Cam Hobhouse, assembled by Peter Cochran:

http://www.hobby-o.com/

They set sail from Malta to Greece on September 19, 1809, on the brig, The Spider, in the company of Nicholas Strani, the English Consul at Patras, and others. Byron records in a letter to his mother from Prevesa that he left Malta on 21st September and arrived in Prevesa eight days later.

Fascinating reading!

Konstantinos Theotokis: Honour and Money

"Happiness and joys cost money; however economical a person may be, in Mandouki just like anywhere else in the world, they involve expense, isn't that so?" asks an unsympathetic character in Konstantinos Theotokis' novella, "I timi kai to chrima" ("Honour and Money"), written before the Balkan Wars, published in book-form in 1914.

"Oi chares theloune exoda". I've just finished reading this powerful short novel in Greek. It's set in Mandouki (Corfu).

"Anathema ta ta talara!" shouts Rini to Andreas at the end, as she goes her own way.

Even if prospective husbands no longer demand dowries, it's still very relevant.

Lord Byron: Two Hundred Years Ago Today

Posted 18 September 2009, Greek time.

Lord Byron might have been killed in a duel on Malta before he ever set eyes on Greece.

On September 18, 1809, he wrote a letter to Captain Cary, Aide-de-camp to the military commander in Malta, challenging him to a duel at 6am the following morning. Byron felt insulted by Cary's intolerable insolence. "As the vessel in which I am to embark must sail the first change of wind, the sooner our business is arranged the better".

In another letter (May 3, 1810) he explains: "At Malta I fell in love with a married woman and challenged an aid du camp of Genl.Oakes (a rude fellow who grinned at something, I never rightly knew what,) but he explained and apologised, and the lady embarked for Cadiz, & so I escaped murder and adultery."

One suspects that it would have been Byron who would have been killed. Instead, he set sail for these shores, and he lived to see another day. The rest is history.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Anglo-Hellenic Review

One of the best (and most attractively designed) magazines about Greece (Ancient, Byzantine and Modern) is The Anglo-Hellenic Review, edited by Paul Watkins, published twice a year (Spring and Autumn) by the Anglo-Hellenic League in London. The latest issue, no. 40, Autumn 2009, carries an excellent article on the writer Alexandros Papadiamandis ("The Boundless Garden, The Art of Alexandros Papadiamandis"), who is associated with the lovely island of Skiathos. The author of the article is Richard Pine, founder of the Durrell School of Corfu. It's both an essay and a book review, as Richard reviews the first volume of a new translation of Papadiamandis's wonderful short stories, published by Denise Harvey ("The Boundless Garden: Selected Short Stories volume 1").

Everyone hopes that funding will be found for the next two volumes. I would also love to see a translation of the stories and novels of Konstantinos Theotokis, the Corfiot writer.

Overseas subscriptions to the Anglo-Hellenic Review are only £7.50.

If you are interested in joining the League, see http://www.anglohellenicleague.org/
email info@anglohellenicleague.org

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Theodorakis, Angelopoulos, DVDs in Greek newspapers


It's hard to keep up with all the CDs and DVDs which are 'given away' (almost) with Greek newspapers every Saturday and Sunday. When I go to the periptero (kiosk) I don't look at the newspaper or the headlines, I look at the CD or DVD included.

Last Saturday Ta Nea had the first of three classic movies by Angelopoulos (O Thiasos, Travelling Players). Next Saturday it's 'Days of 36', and the following Saturday it's Anaparastasis (Reconstruction) filmed in black and white in 1969-1970, largely in the village of Vitsa, Zagori. How those villages have changed, thanks to the support of the EU and the availability of skilled Albanian stone-masons, who have saved the day.These films are not easy to find elsewhere, but the Greek ones don't have English subtitles.

On Sunday another newspaper had the first of 5 DVDs about the life and music of Theodorakis, a cinematic autobiography.

I've also collected a stack of Westerns and thrillers in English. I hope I find time to view them.
I really wonder how the economics of all this works. So many extras every Sunday, magazines, books, films....and then a lot of unwanted paper for recycling (ie the landfill).

Monday, 14 September 2009

Ritsos, Centenary of Birth


Yannis Ritsos was born in 1909. He died, aged 81, in November 1990. The Ministry of Culture declared 2009 as "The Year of Yannis Ritsos".
I've read a lot of his work over the years. It's not difficult to read or to understand, even in Greek. I met him in 1984. He had wonderful handwriting too (see above) and he was a talented painter. This summer there was an exhibition of his paintings in Monemvasia. If you don't like reading poetry, you can always listen to it (eg Romiosyni, Epitaphios) set to music by Mikis Theodorakis.
Much of his work has been translated into English. I recently found "Late into the night: The Last Poems of Yannis Ritsos", translated by Martin McKinsey, in a Corfu bookshop. It's a powerful collection. He didn't win the Nobel Prize, like Seferis and Elytis, but he should have done.
Times and tastes may have changed, but we shouldn't forget the centenary of his birth.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Agiot Music Festival, Agios Ioannis, Corfu, 12 Sept.

Glad I made it to this well-organised festival; there was some great music.

Highlights for me were guitarist Paul Stenton, from local band Omega 5 (and Steve Dell, the lead vocalist, could really rock the blues) and The Dylan Project, with Steve Gibbons sounding uncannily like Bob at times; many of the arrangements were original and innovative (they featured some less well-known, older songs with a new cutting-edge), and their interpretations did full justice to the lyrics .

All wonderful musicians (line-up is on www.agiotfest.co.uk/lineup.html). There was also an impressive debut by young Jemma Bartlett, singing with The Good Old Boys.

Luckily the rain kept off. Congratulations and thank you to the organisers, technicians and musicians.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Mandouki, Odysseus and Nausicaa



Odysseus came ashore at Mandouki.
Nausicaa was washing clothes in the Potamos River.
That's what the Swiss traveller, Albert Mousson, believed (Zurich, 1859).
I'm sure he was right!

"And here’s Nausicaa from Corfu,
All covered with soapy lather.
She had three murderous brothers
Down in Mandouki, and in the Spianadha."

(from Nikos Kavadias, “Paideia”, Collected Poems)

Odysseus and Nausicaa, F. Preller

Ulysses and Nausicaa, Alessandro Allori

Odysseas and Nausicaa, William McGregor Paxton



Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Mules or sheep?




Bouzouki in Church?


Any Byzantine mural experts out there? Is that a bouzouki being played in church?
I guess it's a type of tampoura. But the buzuk has been played in church:
watch Ayman Fanous (solo) on www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSaQxGe8zAs

Monday, 7 September 2009

"High Altitude, Cool Attitude"













In mid-August, Vitsa is definitely much cooler than Corfu.


See you there next year, 14-16 August, under the giant platanos tree in the mesochori, 1000 metres above sea-level. Put it in your diaries now.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Missing Sweden






"Swedish Reflections, from Beowulf to Bergman" was published in 2003, when I was living in Stockholm. I was browsing through it again just now, and came across a poem of Eva Strom which I translated for the anthology. It's called "The Outer Hebrides". It struck a chord then and it still does. Why is it we always long to be somewhere else- in Sweden or the Outer Hebrides if in Corfu; in Corfu if we're in the Outer Hebrides; in Sydney if we're in London? Here's an excerpt:

"If it's the case that you long for the Outer Hebrides

Or somewhere else where you have the sea in front of you

And Europe behind you...

if it's the case that you sense inside you the end is coming

like a crack, or an idea emerging

if it's the case that you long to be changed

while you travel

just as unripe fruit is changed as it travels

in the cargo-hold, over the ocean, beneath the Southern Cross,

a hull's-width away from the water...

if that's the case and there's no other option-

if that's how it is-

you've already turned off the lights in the house:

you're on your way."



Karin Strom: Video - Darling

Hon som lskade dig

Shakespeare's Sonnets, 400th Anniversary of First Publication

Shakespeare hasn't been much on my mind this summer. I don't take his Collected Works to the beach.

I have just received an invitation to an event in London, to mark the 400th anniversary of the First Quarto edition of Shakespeare's sonnets. There is to be a musical rendering of the sonnets, as translated into Czech, performed by an old friend from Prague, a former professor of English at Charles University.

I would love to go, but one misses a lot of cultural events, living on Corfu.

Still, 400 years is a long time, and the sonnets are still as fresh as ever. Why not take them to the beach, and then tell me which your favourite sonnet is? Or I could make 154 separate posts....

Try sonnets 18, 116 and 129 for starters.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Lockerbie and Devolution

Watching the news just now, Gordon Brown was talking about the "quasi-judicial" decision made by the Scottish Executive to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds.

I'm not sure how many people in the UK understand the significance of the word "quasi", or the basic principles of devolution.

The devolved Scottish parliament may have the legal competence to make decisions concerning its own legal system, but it does not (yet) have the devolved competence to make decisions concerning foreign affairs and defence.

Surely this was a decision relating to UK Foreign Affairs? Or was it Quasi-Foreign-Affairs?

On this topic, see also

www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/5289358/libyagate-has-its-roots-in-labours-devolution.html

Lord Byron on Lord Elgin: Costa-Gavras Parthenon film

What do you think of the short Costa-Gavras film about the history of the Parthenon?

He quotes from Lord Byron's "The Curse of Minerva" and the satirical lines about Lord Elgin.
Byron had never intended this poem for publication and wanted it suppressed. Read it on http://readytogoebooks.com/CM13.htm

This version of the Costa-Gavras film seems to be lacking the controversial scene of early Christians (priests?) vandalising the temple. I understood that it had been restored, on the insistence of the director.

I haven't had a chance to visit the New Acropolis Museum. I hardly ever go to Athens, and the recent fires have provided another powerful disincentive.

The animated film is worth a look, whatever you feel about this cause, and the arguments for and against the return of the Parthenon marbles from the British Museum:

http://media.causes.com/523562?p_id=33961105&ref=mf

and see also http://blog.taragana.com/n/scene-of-christians-damaging-parthenon-deleted-from-athens-museum-film-after-church-objects-120739/


The First Line, trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTaVShdDS2U

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

LORD BYRON IN ALBANIA

“Lord Byron and the Balkans"

TIRANA, ALBANIA

14-18 September 2009

The Albanian Byron Society, supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and
Sports, and U.F.O. University, are going to commemorate Byron’s visit to Albania in
1809. It is a combination of academic and cultural programme and tourism.
This International Event is going to take place following the Conference in Athens, 14-
18 September 2009. Those participants there, who want to come, will fly to Tirana. It
is just one hour flight. Senior personalities of state, distinguished personalities of culture
and art, academicians, writers and scholars, Albanian Byronists from Kosova, Arbëreshi
(Italy) and other countries are going to participate.
This Event will take five days, according to this programme:
14.09.2009 – Arrival: - Those who will come in groups of 5-8 or more will be picked
up at “Mother Teresa” airport, Tirana. You may come directly from London, Rome,
Milan, Athens, Vienna, Munich, etc. Individuals should inform us in advance where they
will come from. All will be received at the airport. You will be accommodated at Tirana
International Hotel (four star hotels) right in the center of Tirana. It has very good
meeting halls, etc. – You will have a welcome dinner there.
15.09.2009: - The Symposium: “Lord Byron and the Balkans”. This is a call for
papers and this theme invites you to write about the influence Byron had in this region
and the influence the Balkans had on him; about his friendly relations with Ali Pashë
Tepelena, etc. – Cultural activities in Tirana – Concert. We wish to organize an
international one with groups from Portugal, Spain, Malta, Greece and perhaps from
Turkey. The second part: Albanian groups.
16.09.2009: - Leaving for Saranda, the main tourist center of the south. The trip will
be along the Albanian Riviera. – Lunch at Llogora, a tourist center in the mountains; - A
short visit to the fortress of Ali Pasha in Porto Palermo; - Dinner in a characteristic
restaurant in Saranda.
17.09.2009: - On the way to Tirana, a short visit to Gjirokastra, a very characteristic
city. Visit to Tepelena and a commemorative activity there - Lunch. - Back to
Tirana. – The promotion of the book “ Guests to Ali Pasha” by Tessa de Loo
(Famous Dutch writer). – A gala dinner – A documentary film about Lord Byron.
18.09.2009 – Departure!
All the participants, scholars, admirers and friends of Lord Byron will
have special hospitality and special treatment:
Notes:
Those who are going to read their papers will be our guests. Their stay:
accommodation; meals and traveling in Albania will be free. The other
participants will have to pay a symbolic fee of 200 Euro!
All those who want to participate in this Event have to confirm by sending:
his/her title, full name, position(s), mail address (because we shall send formal
invitations) and a very brief CV. Deadline: June 30, 2009.
Lecturers, after their confirmation, have to send their abstracts. Deadline June
30, 2009 and their papers (about 15 minutes). Deadline July 30, 2009.
For more details you may have direct contact with Professor Afrim Karagjozi
either by mail: Rr. e Durresit, P.11, Sh.6, Ap.45, Tirana, Albania; or by e-mail:
afrim_karagjozi@yahoo.com. These are the two convenient addresses you
may communicate with the Albanian Byron Society

NEUROMANTICS, CD, RAUL SCACCHI


"NEUROMANTICS" CD, 2009

Music by Raul Scacchi



Songs: "EVE", "EURYDICE", "NARCISSUS", "LYSISTRATA", "TERESA", "Mme MARCHADIER", "ELVIRA", "MAN FRIDAY", "MARIA"



INTRODUCTION BY JIM POTTS AND RAUL SCACCHI:

“Neuromantics” (or “neuro-mantics”) is an exploration of love in all its diversity and contradictions: devotion, ecstasy, rapture, friendship, desire, blind love, vanity, narcissism, erotic and neurotic obsession, addictions.

These were some of the words, feelings and ideas we played with while we were focusing on characters, some historical or mythological, who would represent different aspects of love.

It was a philosophical and psychological investigation about people's basic needs, their dreams of escape, of excitement and romance, but also about the love of nature, the love of country, the spiritual love of God, the love of a mother for a child, self-love, even murderous love.

Technically, the collaboration was challenging. An Italian composer, an English lyricist, a Greek singer: we all had very different backgrounds and musical tastes, but Corfu provided us with the opportunity to get together and to create a work which we hope is new and original, and more romantic than neurotic. That is for the listener to judge.


Eurydice:

I like the way that you smile
When you smile at me
But it's going to be
A long long time
Far away from each other.

You look at me- it makes me die.
Could it mean good-bye?
What can I do, I'm not the strong kind.
I can wait for you all my life
And I will think of you all the time
Just to see you through.....


The Ionian Islands and Epirus: perfect Easter gift

"The Ionian Islands and Epirus, A Cultural History" is now due for publication on 1st March 2010. It's an ideal present for those who love this part of Greece.
See the publisher's online catalogue announcement, and Amazon.co.uk

http://www.signalbooks.co.uk/book.php?a=1904955657