ANASTENARIA – Anastenaria

(Echomusic / Editions_Zero)

Field recording of a ritual plus minimalism, maybe we could describe it as such. Yet another secret from the Greek vaults, a ceremony taped in 1979 at the Agia Eleni village, Serres. The whole revolves around a walk-on-fire performance, of which the CD explores the preparatory atmosphere. Translation: people talking (in the local language, of course – fascinating for those who don’t know it, resulting as just music to my untrained ears) and, especially, a fabulous series of percussion-driven violin ostinatos, a cross of East European dissonance and Steve Reich’s “Violin Phase” in a country-tinged version. Ceaseless rhythmic pulses that go on and on, our mind easily adapting to the semi-regular patterns until we come across short interruptions where someone talks again, then everything starts ex novo with additional figurations and analogous repetitions. It lasts 65 minutes circa, but neither I had a second thought about my liking of it, nor endured an “enough is enough” feel, even in the (possibly) less significant moments. The audio quality is also quite good – that surely helps. Traditions are hard to die, at least in recorded form: that’s fine with me.


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