Guest musician #6: Giulio Bianco (Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino)

By August 1, 2016 Recording sessions

Giulio is another one of the talented musicians from Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino. He’s a multi-instrumentalist and I’ve lost count all the instruments he knows how to play. Mauro Durante tells me that Giulio has an unnerving ability to pick up any instrument and play it well in an incredibly very short space of time and that’s a talent I wouldn’t mind having!

His speciality is the zampogna which is the Italian version of the bagpipes but he also plays the flutes. Although the inspiration for I Dreamed An Island started with me discovering the golden age of C12th Sicily, it inspired me to write a collection of songs that belong in their instrumentation, with a few exceptions, more to the 20th or 21st centuries than medieval times. However there are certain instruments and colours to the album that I wanted to use a way of bridging modern and ancient instrumentation. Flutes and bagpipes are probably the instruments that have least changed since the days of C12th Sicily and I can’t think of anyone better to perform that task than Giulio.

Switching effortlessly between flute, penny whistle and zampogna and with his fantastic playing, the songs immediately found their true colours and that inimitable southern Italian feel that I wanted certain songs to have.

Here’s a video of Giulio filmed in an olive grove in Puglia, playing a traditional Sicilian Tarantella:

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