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"This time there is a sense of lightness to the feeling and energy of the album," says Duni. "Even though we are dealing with tragic themes of exile it is not as dark as Matan Malit.One of the fascinating things about music of the Balkans, in a lot of the folk music, is the idea that the pain has to be sung. And in singing you go beyond it. That's what the blues is about, of course, and you find a similar sensibility in these Albanian songs about exile and lost love. In some Balkan music, you dance away the pain -- and songs that seem at first to be joyful, from the rhythms and the melody, turn out to be not at all joyful when you listen more closely. This is a characteristic quality in music of the region."In its sense of drive, Dallndyshe opens up "a different groove, a different momentum. It's become more rhythmic. Sometimes it's almost a trance-like propulsion." A good instance of the new energy is beautifully expressed in "Syt", written by Isak Muolli and made famous by Albanian diva Nexhmije Pagarusha.Elina performed for Pagarusha in Paris on the occasion of the legendary singer's 80th birthday and was subsequently very encouraged by her enthusiastic response to the Duni Quartet's mining of the repertoire. "I was very pleased to do this piece associated with her, and I like our treatment of it. It's got the desert in there somehow, and this rhythm that Colin sets up, it lifts you into another world."The programme of Dallndyshe also looks to the Albanian diaspora. The last two songs on the album, "Ti ri ti ti klarinat" and the title track are, respectively, from the Arvanitas and Arbresh communities of Greece and Italy. "The Arbresh are Arvanites who went from the North of Greece, the Peloponnese, to Italy in the 15th century, crossing the sea to escape the Ottoman Empire. In Greece they've been assimilated into the Greek population in the last hundred years but in Italy they're still a strong community, speaking a very old Albanian.And the musical differences are very interesting. The Arvanitas music has a pronounced Byzantine influence and the Arbresh music does not, but you find pieces that are close to the Italian tarantella, for instance. You can see what happened to the music after the split."Duni's journey to the emotional centre of Albanian song began a decade ago, when she and Colin Vallon were students at Berne's Hochschule der Knste. Looking at Albanian folk music rather than jazz standards as an improvisational resource led them to a whole range of discoveries. Elina found her own voice in the old songs, and in reclaiming them could also free them: the quartet's experimental yet pure acoustic versions have been received with gratitude in Albania where folk themes were once harnessed for propaganda purposes.In the wider world Elina still finds herself asked frequently to define her music. It has clearly become more than a hybrid of 'jazz' and 'folk'. Indeed, touring in the wake of Matan Malit the group felt they had outgrown the jazz clubs. This story-telling music, with chamber music colours and forms and strong and supple rhythms as well as an improvised component, now calls for a different kind of performance space as well as a differentiated response from its listeners.

The 30 tracks on the 2-CD Periplo deliver not only many Rock Andaluz sounding songs, but also other musical genres.Examples of the variety on CD-1:Old School symphonic rock with hints from Pink Floyd and Camel in the wonderful Obertura Inesperada: first spacey synthesizers flights and moving guitar play, then tender piano, blended with sensitive electric guitar and soaring keyboards. Folk meets Heavy Prog in In La Raiz De Mi Destino: guitar player Juan Delola plays both virtuosic flamenco guitar runs (with handclapping) as a heavy electric guitar solo.Rock Andaluz in Empujado Al Precipicio (with an 'Arabesca' undertone, by Mezquita members), Galopando Por Mis Deseos (delicate sequencing, bombastic keyboards, powerful Fender Jazz bass, a


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