Kostas Theodorou | Rousilvo

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Rousilvo

by Kostas Theodorou

A contemporary Balkan Jazz Folk Opera with a septet plus seven female voices interpolated with original documentary recordings as a tribute to an abandoned village on the border between Greece and the F. Y. Republic of Macedonia.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Narrative
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3:16 album only
2. Penelopes of Xanthogeia
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5:05 album only
3. Oblivion
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3:14 album only
4. Mirka
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7:30 album only
5. Natsko
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1:14 album only
6. Requiem
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6:33 album only
7. Ajde sl'ntse zajdi (feat. Slava Popva Evdoxia Georgiou)
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1:10 album only
8. Apatris
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4:57 album only
9. Kaimaktsalan
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5:01 album only
10. Implacable grief
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2:02 album only
11. Song of the unquietness
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6:50 album only
12. As a story
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5:00 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The chorus arrives, here, the entrance to the village,
susurration, elm leaves, stillness, a summons,
Beside the big stone, water
babble of voices, waiting ones,
Penelopes of Xanthogeia,
Rousilvo, living, dead,
Oblivion willed on the unwillingly.
Mirka the teacher breathes yet
and you Natsko never old enough to love
death
mourning, prescribed in silence
homecoming to unbelonging.
In the sequestered minds of the man of substance, ashes and blood,
and looming, there in the snow, Kaimaktsalan, custodian of bones.
Implacable grief, oxygen cannot be bartered.
And now, what lips are left to mouth the song of freedom?

Only lingering echoes of the melody of the forbidden language
and undaunted dancing to songs without words.
Sometimes, once in a while,
comfort to our ears, the stealthy significance of the unwritten,
like some secret, dignified in silence
liquid lamentations over the graves of our forbears
where we mutes have just bid farewell,
and the villages, where behind us we left
bewildered windows and doors gaping in the wind
without crier or priest, or a pitcher for the spring.

Kostas Theodorou
Rousilvo, February 2002

(translated from Greek by Jonathan Smith)







Reviews


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Kostas Theodorou

Critic notes in magazines and newspapers about the release of album "Rousilvo"
"...Ten compositions, alternating with location recordings of the surviving elderly residents of the village (at times singing, at times narrating their stories) salvaging and transforming a treasure trove, an elegy, of a disappearing poetry. A summation of some of the most creative musicians of the land who accompany Theodorou, revealing an exquisite richness that would normally struggle to find expression through the channels of mainstream, alternative or independent local discography."
Giorgos Hristodoulopoulos, Eleftherotypia on Sunday newspaper
Athens, September 5, 2010

"...Having obviously grown up in a land of cultural mosaics, Theodorou, himself “crowned” by a hundred years of propaganda that sought, and continues to seeks to demean and obliterate the existence of Greece’s slavophone citizens, succeeds in creating a luminous jewel in the rather overdone, from an aesthetic point of view, genre of Balkan Jazz. What is the key to Theodorou’s success? In his compositions of course, but also, perhaps mainly, in his life enhancing concept of enriching his creation with female voices of haunting quality. From there on the compositions, even when not explicitly intended to, assume the character of a requiem, vibrant with the sensitive playing of good musicians[…] but mainly with Theodorou’s own determination to reclaim the dignity of his native land, at the same time interweaving into his compositions the authentic sounds of people and nature. Excellent album."

Fondas Troussas, Jazz & Jazz magazine
Athens, Augoust 2010

"...Starting with a shamanistic reveille of voices with a variety of instruments, from trombone, oud, and tabla to drums flute and double bass, the composer undertakes the evocation of ghostly protagonists within a framework of Balkan sounds with Jazz overtones. At times the music gradually fades away, so you become aware of the distant escape of an approaching sound, the melancholic sound of piano keys, female voices, all arranged in an excellently produced piece of work that eschews the sleepy melancholy of a historical documentary or the intrusive stridency of political didacticism. Even handed, devoid of ethnic bias, a recall of personal recollection of memories and the language of western Macedonia, accompanied by expertly accomplished musicians whose musical insight silently turns mere notes into objects: “I knew so many songs, but I forgot them” says one of the “Penelopes of Xanthogeia” Slava Popva-Evdoxia Georgiou exorcising historical amnesia, confronting today’s world without a trace of anachronistic bitterness. Listening to “Rousilvo” provides the liberating concentration of reading a good book. The pictures are summoned from your own mind."
Kostas Venizelos, Difono magazine
Athens, July 2010

"...A devotee of essential and “substractively” necessary music, Theodorou, driven by stories of the place where he was born and raised, unites sounds, melodies, music and words, creating a very special and novel integrated musical scenery that is deeply moving; creating pictures, smells and sentiments, revealing a side of our Balkan identity, until now, unknown to most of us."
Christos Michaleris, City magazine
Thessaloniki, June 2010
[Translated by Nikos Hadzimimas] [and Jonathan Smith