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Italy’s fascinating dichotomy of tradition and modernity come together in the music of Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (CGS). The seven-piece band and solo dancer are the leading exponents of a new wave of young performers reinventing southern Italy’s pizzica musical and dance traditions for today’s global audience.
Formed by writer Rina Durante in 1975, CGS is regarded as Italy’s foremost and longest-standing traditional music ensemble, hailing from the Salento peninsula (located on the “heel of the Italian boot”) in the Puglia region.
The tens of thousands who often congregate for this Lecce-based band’s concerts in Italy know that bandleader, fiddler, and drummer Mauro Durante and company can make an audience shimmy with the energy of the ancient ritual of pizzica tarantata, said to cure the tarantula’s bite with its frenzied trance dances. CGS shows are a life explosion; full of energy, passion, rhythm, and mystery, they bring the audience from the past into modernity, and back.
Leadership of the ensemble was handed down to Durante in 2007 by his father, Daniele, also an acclaimed musician. CGS has revitalized both the rousing and the introspective sides of southern Italian song and dance. Durante continues to innovate and energize, bringing decades of experience playing with global artists (Ballake Sissoko, Ibrahim Maalouf, Piers Faccini), contemporary classical composers (Ludovico Einaudi), and pop mavericks (Stewart Copeland of the Police).
Critically acclaimed with nineteen albums and countless live performances throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, CGS was awarded “Best Italian World Music Group” in 2010 at Italy’s meeting of independent record labels, later known as Independent Labels Meeting or MEI.
Lineup: Mauro Durante (vocals, frame drums, violin); Alessia Tondo (vocals, percussion); Giulio Bianco (Italian bagpipes, harmonica, recorder); Massimiliano Morabito (diatonic accordion); Emanuele Licci (vocals, guitar, bouzouki); Giancarlo Paglialunga (vocals, tamburrieddhu); and Silvia Perrone (dance).
Do they live up to all the hype they’ve received? Hell, yes! Are they one of the best bands in the world at the moment? Without a shred of doubt.
Thrill with the explosive excitement of one of Italy’s hottest bands. This multi-generational group brings alive the music of Italy’s Puglia region—through atmospheric concerts ranging from tender love songs to pagan rites marked by frenzied dance and pizzica tarantata played on guitar, drums, accordion, and bagpipes.