In 2012 Sébastien Benoit a historical pipes specialist and Christophe Tellart hurdy-gurdy player founded with Spyros Halaris the Phemios Ensemble.
During a residency in Patrimonio (Corsica) in “festivale d’autunnu di a ruralità” they meet Doc Rossi, one of the most renowned cittern specialists. A year later the trio expands to include him, and collaborates with the famous Corsican singer Mighela Cesari.
The fruit of their collaboration was recorded in 2018 with the support of Mighele Raffaelli and Christodoulos Halaris.
Here is an excerpt of what the Corsican ethnomusicologist Damien Delgrossi wrote on the album, released in May 2019:
“We’ve shared the sea” is the title of Mighela Cesari’s last album, released in 2006. It is always a question of travel with Mighela Cesari, always. Even in the deepest traditions of her region, Pieve of Tàlavu, where she collected, sang, and interpreted revived gems, travel has always been present. Internal wandering, introspection, the Other taking root in the Self to discover, to know, and therefore to accept each other better. More than ten years later, it is through the fruit of collective work, performed by Phemios Ensemble around her voice and texts, that Mighela Cesari returns with the evocatively titled A brama ghjirandulona – vagabond desire, the spirit of adventure. This spirit has helped them to create a collection of pieces ranging from Greece to Corsica, from Corsica to medieval Italy, to the green hills of Ireland, returning always to our island, the nourishing land. This is the daring gamble that Mighela Cesari and Phemios have taken up: Greece sung in Corsican; Corsican verse caressing Ottoman Tarab; Corsican laments becoming Athenian rebetiko.
Their gamble is here, successful, triumphant.
The wandering, adventurous spirit is found even in Phemios’s instrumentation… Their encounter with a Corsican voice that evokes the granite valley of Tàlavu could only perfect this marriage of multiple musical essences.
If Byzantine Corsica is a part of the unknown history of our island, Phemios Ensemble fills this
gap to the benefit of a constantly regenerating artistic creation, showing us that Greece is never far from our shores. Mighela, with her unique voice, her unmistakable timbre, her free soul, becomes the architect of a bridge linking Constantinople to Aiacciu, Saloniki to Cuzza, Piraeus to Bastia, a bridge that could be called Rebeticorsu. A style is born.
Let yourself be transported by the rivers of notes, the waves of rhymes, and A brama ghjirandulona will never leave you ….
Damien Delgrossi Corte, 12/01/2018
You can listen to their album on:
or download it on:
Mighela Cesari vocals
Spyros Halaris kanun, lavta, dumbek, bendir, vocals
Doc Rossi cetera, citterns
Christophe Tellart hurdy-gurdy
Sébastien Benoit pivana,low whistle, whistles,wooden flute, shawn, bagpipes, clarinet, quijada
Recording & Mixing: Spyros Halaris & Doc Rossi at Mylos Studio
Mastering: Anestis Psaradakos, Athens Mastering
Cover Art: The boat of Cretan fisherman Giorgios Koghilakis, Giorgios Koghilakis Creative Dialogue
Other photos: Patricia Antona
Translations: Phemios Ensemble
Special Thanks to: Ian Dean, MBE