Macedonian composer/multi-instrumentalist Dine Doneff (or Kostas Theodorou, his Greek citizenship name) presents his Balkan-Jazz Folk Opera – Rousilvo. Heavily influenced by the culture of his homeland, Doneff, creates a musical fabric through open dialogue among the members of a septet. A polyphony of seven women’s voices, interspersed with extracts from numerous authentic field recordings, complete a narration of expanding rhythmic and melodic forms.
Rousilvo is the old, Slavic name of the village of Xanthogeia, in north-western Greece. The village’s name, and its Slav-Macedonian speaking community, fell victim to the policy of the Greek state to forcibly “Hellenize” the land and its people. At the end of the Greek Civil War (1946-49) most of the women in the village were left alone for the rest of their lives; their husbands either killed or exiled. Since 1986 the village has been uninhabitated as a result of long-lasting social marginalization.
Ten compositions, alternating with location recordings of the surviving elderly residents of the village (sometimes singing, at times narrating their stories) salvaging and transforming a treasure trove, an elegy, of a vanishing poetry.
"The chorus arrives, here, the entrance to the village,
susurration, elm leaves, stillness, a summons,
Beside the big stone, water
babble of voices, waiting ones,
Penelopes of Xanthogeia,
Rousilvo, living, dead,
Oblivion willed on the unwillingly.
Mirka the teacher breathes yet
and you Natsko never old enough to love
mourning, prescribed in silence
homecoming to unbelonging.
In the sequestered minds of the men of substance, ashes and blood,
and looming, there in the snow, Kaimaktsalan, custodian of bones.
Implacable grief, oxygen cannot be bartered
And now, what lips are left to mouth the song of freedom?
Only ligering echoes of the melody of the forbidden language
and undaunted dancing to songs without words.
Sometimes, once in a while
comfort to our ears, the stealthy significance of the unwritten,
like some secret, dignified in silence
liquid lamentations over the graves of our forbears
where we mutes have just bid farewell,
and the villages, where behind us we left
bewildered windows and doors gaping in the wind
without crier or priest, or a pitcher for the spring."