In the ancient beliefs of Southern Italy the term majara referred to an old woman, to whom magical and supernatural powers were attributed. Though she draws her strength from the knowledge of nature and from her closeness with some “mystical animals” such as black cats, toads and pixies, the majara is not to be intended as a proper witch. Most of all, she was a good psychologist who knew how to infuse her patients with her own will power as well as healing ailments through the use of creativity together with ancestral “folk wisdom”.
Just like the majara, the Lucanian double bassist’s quartet filters their Mediterranean resonances to taint them with classical western music and some good contemporary jazz, diluting everything down with their own compositional creativity.
The folk vibes of pandeiro, mandola and guitar match with the classical style of clarinet and double bass to enrich themselves even more thanks to the sounds of different cultures: from the mediterranean to Brazil, along with melodies of Arab-Andalusian inspiration and odd rhythms from Persia, all blended together in an avant-jazz atmosphere.
In their first self-titled album Majara,the pieces – all of them original – aremeant to take the listener on atimeless journey, free from labels ofgenre but greedy of references tocultured folk music. The tracks draw their strength fromprimordial timbres and instrumentalacoustics together with the musicians’energy and sensitivity. The quartet’s first work manifestoproves to be the encounter and themingling of very different musicalcultures (jazz, Mediterranean and folkmusic), in an attempt to overcome thetraditional definitions and categorisations of style and genre.
The eight tacks in the album (as suggested by the cover image) are each stages of an imaginary route which recalls real sceneries. The voyage begins in Lucania – as explicitly reminded by pieces like Camarda and Grancìa – to then embrace an ideal Mediterranean area that gets wider and wider through Arroz, Tarassaco and Quasimodo. There’s no lack of sound intimacy, like in Agavé and Fenestrelle, in which the dynamics, regulated by guitar, double-bass, clarinet and pandeiro, take the voyager to a deeper and attentive level, to finally reach the peak of their tonal contrast in Natiwa.