Release Date: 3 December 2012
Bella Union records is thrilled to announce the release of Road To Palios, an exquisite cycle of instrumental duets for acoustic guitar and violin by Portland-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Francesconi and his partner Mirabai Peart.
Though Francesconi doesn’t limit himself to one sound – he spans Baroque, Americana and jazz improvisation – he admits his (and Peart’s) main obsession is Balkan folk music, mainly from Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. “This colour seems to seep into everything I do. It’s not entirely conscious at this point… It’s my hands. It’s not me.”
The inspiration behind Road To Palios was a trip that the couple made in 2010 to the Greek island of Lesvos. The road is a real road, and Palios is a real village – “it might not be there for much longer, but we found it” – and The Road To Palios feelslike a journey, stretching out over time and distance. Some song titles show the way; “Pontic” is from the Greek “Pontus”, meaning, “sea”. “Kalamatianos” is a traditional Greek dance. “Far from Shore” and “Parallel Flights” speak for themselves.
As you would expect, Joanna Newsom is a fan, to put it mildly. Fransesconi, she says, is, “one of the most awe-inspiring musicians I’ve known. It’s nearly impossible to believe he’s picking those strings with one hand.”
Here we have seven questing tracks; sometimes meditative, other times stirring, but always flowing and compelling. Once embarked upon, it’s a unforgettable journey, into Balkan territory and the heart and soul of two extraordinary musicians.