Que costa é que as ondas contam?
“What coast is this that the waves describe?”
Fernando Pessoa, Calma, in Mensagem
Periplus crews for the concerts vary according to the “harbour where we drop anchor” and the availability of the “sailors”-musicians. However, the crews are always mixed, Luso-Hellenic, capable of sharing Oriental and Occidental ways of making music and creating captivating voyages of around one hour and a half.
Amélia Muge and Michales Loukovikas, singing, and also playing viola braguesa, guitar, accordion and percussions, together with a piano, a violin and a ney, make up the minimum for our voyage. But we can also have more percussion, double bass, folk clarinet, cello, and Portuguese guitar; and, of course, the vocal ensemble “Outra Voz” that accompanied us in our concerts in Culturgest and Centro Cultural Vila Flor.
Musicians that have already shared the stage with us are: Filipe Raposo or Miguel Tapadas (piano), Kyriakos Gouventas or Manuel Maio (violin, mandolin), Harris Lambrakis or Nikos Paraoulakis (ney, recorder), José Salgueiro (percussion), António Quintino (double bass), Manos Achalinotopoulos (folk clarinet), Catarina Anacleto (cello), Ricardo Parreira (Portuguese guitar) and Outra Voz.
Amélia Muge and Michales Loukovikas “met” for the first time in the Internet in 2009 opening a “window” for interaction, a channel of communication, linking Portugal and Greece. The mutual admiration for each other’s work led to expanded exchanges of ideas, poetry and music samples, traditional, contemporary or original. They found common references, common grounds, shared interests, equal ways of expression. They confirmed that the similarities are far more important than the differences, especially in the Mediterranean; because there is a common denominator underlying the history of mare nostrum, this sea of our shared heritage that still astonishes us for the similarities and enchants us for the diversities we bring to light.
This Luso-Hellenic “window”, this “bridge”, remained open all the time and led to extensive mutual influences. Amélia and Michales discovered or invented ways of collaboration in the adaptation of both music and poetry, surpassing another obstacle: that of the distance. It was a matter of time to arrive to the point of composing and arranging music together or adjusting lyrics “on-line”.
Periplus was born like that; spontaneously and intuitively initially, and later out of a desire: to share all those exchanges with the public. The time of reason had come! The two musicians had to choose from that vast material they had amassed the components of a sound narrative, of a musical voyage. Their next step was to release a disc: Periplus / deambulações luso-gregas in February 2012. The concerts followed as a consequence: Culturgest (Lisbon), Centro Cultural Vila Flor (Guimarães), Festival Músicas do Mundo (Sines). Periplus in concert is nothing but the audio-visual presentation of this “give” and “take”, a “live” version of this adventure. Near yet far.
Just like the olive tree or the grapevine that spread all around the Mediterranean, some songs proliferated in lyrics, melodies and rhythms; songs that gained a new light within this Periplus. Others were new-borns, measuring distance and proximity, life and death; new songs on ancient models that endured through the ages, like lullabies or laments.
Some songs described seas, coasts, or islands. Amélia and Michales invited Pessoa and Cavafy, but also Ares Alexandrou, to their table; the former for their symbolism; the latter for his spirit of resistance, his integrity, his humanity.
Following the same routes of all those ancient boats that embarked from the Aegean sailing to Iberia for tin, gold, or silver, the crew of this Luso-Hellenic Periplus invited also to the same table Athenaeus (First Delphic Hymn) and Mesomedes (Hymn to Nemesis), Seikilos (Epitaph) and Simonides (Epigram).
In a way, this musical Periplus is a tribute to the ancient Peripli in the Mediterranean Sea, and also in the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, bringing together the peoples of the ancient world. The exchanges of goods were always accompanied by exchanges of ideas and in this way the civilizations blossomed, together with the arts. The circumstances of these voyages, however, still evade us. The mystery remains exciting our curiosity and imagination...
This Luso-Hellenic Periplus is a voyage from the Orient to the Occident and vice versa with maps that gain new dimensions and outlines – through new melodies, rhythms and lyrics. Each new port is an opportunity for new discoveries in sounds, new experiences in speech. These new languages and dialects in music and in verse are readily adopted by the crew of Periplus, the Portuguese, the Greeks, and the others, as well, who are welcome to join them, composing, versifying, singing and playing. And thus the voyages go on, more Peripli are on the way.
Europe of the peoples is a process that began long ago with confrontations, dominations, chaos and suffering. But also with exchanges, mutual influences, ideas and dialogue, making our common heritage a reality. However, this ideal of a Europe of the peoples is currently under attack. An excellent idea on the way to overcome our crisis is given in practice by the crew of this Luso-Hellenic Periplus of common dreams and endeavours for a better life for all. Let’s listen to them...
As you set out for Ithaca
hope that the voyage is long,
full of adventures, full of discoveries…