PERIPLUS: Luso-Hellenic Wanderings
PERIPLUS, meaning “sailing around”, refers to the ancient voyages around the Mediterranean and beyond, in the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. We have chosen this term to signify our own voyage in time and space around the Mediterranean culture and all the others that blossomed coming into contact with this cradle of civilization.
Our focus is the union of music and poetry, especially those of our countries, Portugal and Hellas. That is why most of those aboard Periplus are Portuguese and Greeks, although we are anything but an exclusive club: building bridges, opening windows, is our specialty, working together mainly via the internet.
Our aim is to create new music and poetry, inspired by the great arts of the past, our rich, common heritage, not only erudite but also folk. Thus, except our own original songs, we have gone as far back as the ancient Hellenic music and poetry, adapting according to our sensibilities the First Delphic Hymn, dedicated to Apollo, probably composed by Athenaeos (circa 138-128 BCE), the Epitaph by Seikilos (sometime between 2nd century BCE and 1st century CE), and the Hymn to Nemesis by Mesomedes of Crete (early 2nd century CE).
In the same spirit, we have worked on folk themes, such as the Portuguese Watering Song, the Greek Cretan Syrtos, the equally Cretan Heavy As Iron, the Epirotic My Immigrant Bird, and the Rebetiko The Manges of the Tavern, which we combine with its Portuguese equivalent, the Fado, while from the Cape-Verdian Morna we land to the pentatone of Africa and Epirus. We have also found common grounds and references in lullabies and children’s rhymes of both countries and also in the love song The Foliage of a Rose as sung by Greeks, Portuguese and Galicians with almost identical lyrics.
Some of the poets we have loved are present here: Ares Alexandrou with his Illegal Note, Lullaby, and The Inner Dictates; Fernando Pessoa with his Calm, Constantine Cavafy with his Ithaca; Natália Correia with her Ode to an Emersed Land; and Hélia Correia with her adaptation of the Epitaph by Seikilos, which she sings in the original ancient Greek.
Except Hélia Correia, we have more special guests: the Greek singer Eleni Tsaligopoulou, and also Outra Voz, a choir of Guimarães citizens, created after their city had been designated as a European Capital of Culture. This participation of the civil society is crucial for us in our effort to link the folk with the erudite, the traditional with the innovative, the ancient with the modern, the Graecophone with the Lusophone, the nearby with the distant.
Amélia Muge & Michales Loukovikas