Booklet contains short programme notes plus original songtexts.
Mesmerising and exciting performances of medieval music - Joglaresa are leaders in the improvisational and cross-cultural fields of their repertoire. The artists in this unique ensemble are some of the most outstanding performers in the improvisational spheres of world music, jazz and classical music.
Their infectious enthusiasm, combined with peerless skill, musicianship and extensive scholarly and field research, produces concerts that are lively, expressive, full of Mediterranean passion and colour - poignant, genuinely spontaneous and highly improvisational. Joglaresa's performances capture the audiences' imagination and draw them into a glorious, living world of medieval music. At the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music this extremely popular ensemble 'brought in one of the largest audiences at the festival'.
“Joglaresa are at the forefront of singers and instrumentalists whose study of improvisation and ethnomusicology informs and shapes their imaginative re-creation of medieval music-making.”
“St. John’s Smith Square was packed with punters for Belinda Sykes’s spirited medieval ensemble”
“Joglaresa kick medieval music out of the cloister and into the marketplace ... performances full of personality. Sykes’ voice has great emotional range, luxuriating in Arab eroticism, next hollering the Bulgarian style and tumbling into a jacuzzi of yodelling.”
“Sykes’ study of voice and improvisation in North Africa, Spain and the Middle East was thrillingly evident “
“A felicitous exchange of ideas between Christian Europe and the Middle East”
“A superior collection of first-rate musicians.”
“irresistibly catchy tunes … Joglaresa's imaginative use of improvisation creates an exciting air of authenticity … compulsive rhythmic energy … luxuriantly ornamental solos”
Celebratory Italian Medieval Songs for the Virgin Mary
Belinda Sykes - voice, cornamusa, director
Catia Gianessi - voice, tamborello
Jennie Cassidy - voice
Pierino Rabanser - voice, cornamusa, tamborello
Riccardo Delfino - harp, ghironda
Ben Davis - fidel
Paul Clarvis - tamborello, darabuka, segat, bendir
Using traditional vocal techniques of the Mediterranean accompanied by medieval fidel, harp, hurdy-gurdy and tamborello - an Italian frame-drum played since the Middle Ages Joglaresa perform the songs of the laudesi - Italian brotherhoods meeting to sing and worship.
Laude spirituali (literally “spiritual praises”) form the main part of Italy’s medieval secular monophony. Although these songs are religious in nature, they do not form part of the liturgy and are written in the vernacular (Italian), rather than Latin. Until the flowering of troubadour song in Southern France medieval music had customarily been composed in Latin. Then, during the 12th and 13th centuries, vernacular song spread throughout Europe and included well-known repertoires such as the Cantigas de Santa Maria, Laude spirituali, Trouvère song and Minnesang.
Singing laude was one of the ‘people’s’ way of expressing religious faith outside the liturgy and, in this manner, the tradition of singing laude bears a striking resemblance to the Sufi tradition which was flowering at the same time within Islam. Laude were performed by Laudesi - lay fraternities which sprang up throughout northern Italy from about 1260. They composed of middle-class citizens who gathered together to perform various charitable works, and to sing and pray.
Many of the songs here come from two large collections: the Laudario di Cortona and the Laudario di Firenze. The Cortona Laudario is the older of the two and was probably compiled in the late 13th century - it contains songs of a simple and folklike character that lend themselves, for example, to processionals or large group participation. The songs are strophic and always have refrains. However they rarely conform to the usual ABA pattern (refrain, new melody for half of the verse, refrain melody for second half of the verse) of the Cantigas de Santa Maria which they otherwise resemble, but instead frequently use original and highly varied musical material in the verses. This manuscript is plain and simple in presentation but is, nevertheless, of great value to us today as the oldest extant corpus of Italian songs with melodies.
The Florence Laudario probably dates from the early 14th century and is both visually and musically more ornate than the Cortona Laudario. It contains beautiful miniatures and illuminations, and the songs exhibit the beginning of the more complex musical style just starting to develop in Italy - the Ars Nova.