I. MEDITERRANEAN PERIPLUS
Archipelago. BEFORE SAILING OFF
Mediterranean Periplus – voyages in time and space, around and beyond
the sea of civilizations: we follow the movements of peoples, goods, ideas
and cultural patterns in our historical space, underlying that exchange was
the determining factor in the development of civilizations; therefore,
the latter constitute a common heritage of the Mediterranean peoples.
(Description of the program in the media)
THE RADIO PROGRAM MEDITERRANEAN PERIPLUS had as a starting point a year-long series of articles in the Thessaloniki newspaper (1994-95), before the rather painful (as it turned out) experience of Thessaloniki, European Capital of Culture, in 1997. Its objective was to highlight the need for a Mediterranean Conservatoire in Thessalonica, in parallel with the immediate, realistic goal of organizing a Mediterranean Festival focusing on music, but also encompassing other artistic and literary events, the Halcyon Days – both in connection with that supposedly “feast of culture” in the town.
Finally, no target was reached… No need to say this voyage was anything but cloudless. Apart from the demand itself, supposedly “untimely”, and the various obstacles on the way, I felt uncomfortable as I was obliged to write about – i.e. to describe – Mediterranean civilizations, mainly music cultures, and their mutual exchange and interaction, without having the possibility to refer to actual sound recordings, in order to prove my case.
When, at last, the boat of the Mediterranean Periplus was launched in the radio waves of the Cultural Radio of the Hellenic Radio-Television in Thessalonica (9.58 fm) in 1998, I was delighted: the much-troubled “Cultural Capital” was already a thing of the past and, moreover, I was able to submit to public judgment the music that fascinated me for so long, though I never thought it would attract a wider audience. Fortunately, I was wrong…
THE REMODELING of these voyages in writing is a completely different thing from the actual radio programs because, on the one hand, discussing music is almost always less impressive than listening to music: the description of a miracle, even the most eloquent, bears no comparison to the miracle itself.
On the other hand, however, writing is irreplaceable as a different, but absolutely necessary, form of expression and communication, conveying information and conclusions, where it is overwhelmingly superior to sound. Indeed, how much more essential it seems for this radio “talk on air” to be written down – because, after all, scripta manent, if they deserve it, having previously undergone the test of criticism – when it may eventually become obvious it’s been something more than just… “talk in the air”!
After more than a dozen years of voyages in space and time, around and beyond the sea of civilizations, let me present a selection of texts, revised according to the needs of reading, not listening – an introduction, if you will, to the Mediterranean Periplus, which, I hope, will be interesting enough to both our initiated fellow voyagers and those who will go out to sea with us thanks to these texts.