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Friday, 10 February 2017

Unearthly Laments: Christopher King on Blind Willie Johnson and Alexis Zoumbas

From Oxford American - an important article, now online. 

Listen, read and compare:

Blind Willie Johnson, Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground.

Alexis Zoumbas, Epirotiko Mirologi.

Music doesn't get much more intense or profound. Beethoven's last string quartets?

The essay is adapted from Chris King's eagerly-awaited book, Lament from Epirus, forthcoming from W.W. Norton.

LAMENT FROM EPIRUS, Christopher King

In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines or Isabel Fonseca’s Bury Me Standing, Grammy-winning producer and one of the world’s leading collectors of 78 RPM records, Christopher King, mixes philosophical inquiry, anthropological investigation, and travel narrative, to explore the ancient musical traditions of Epirus, a region on the border of Greece and Albania with continuous history stretching into the pre-Homeric era. His narrative introduces fascinating musicians—ancient to contemporary—whose playing reveals something revelatory and challenging about the original purpose of music, and who we are as humans.

Forthcoming from W. W. Norton & Company

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