Museu de la Mediterrània (Museum of the Mediterranean) is located at the coastal town of Torroella de Montgrí, in Costa Brava, Catalonia. It is a small Museum with a large mission: to introduce visitors to the culture, nature and history of the Mediterranean, including its sounds and music. Its collection includes audio recordings and musical instruments from all around the Mediterranean.
The Museum also organizes an annual festival, each year focusing on a different region of the Mediterranean and its music. This year, after 8 years, the invitation was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean. And specifically, Crete.
Giorgos Xylouris (aka Psarogiorgis) taught Cretan song seminars and Foteini Trigonaki introduced Cretan dances to the Catalan participants. The initiative was welcomed with more enthusiasm than expected and for the first time the applications submitted were almost double than the available positions (24 for singing classes and 30 for dance classes). Those who managed to get a place had the rare chance (even for Cretans) to learn Cretan dances and songs with the company of Psarogiorgi’s famous lute. Students were not necessarily experienced in singing or dance. But still, they successfully presented three Cretan songs and three Cretan dances, as well as a combination of both, by the end of the seminar.
The festival concluded with a concert with Psarogiorgis (lute), Yianni Papatzanis (percussion, vocals), Charis Panagiotakis (Lyra), Shelagh Hannan (flute) and Foteini Trigonaki (dance).
The best part, however, must have been the jam night in a Torroella de Montgrí cafe, where Catalan and Cretan musicians met and improvised, experimenting with new sounds and melodies.
We can only wish that this Mediterranean 'musical experiment' will be repeated in the future (which is quite possible, judging from the great enthusiasm!)
*Cretazine was not lucky enough to travel to Catalonia. We owe this story and videos to Foteini Trigonaki and Jordi Alsina Iglesias, who accompanied the Cretan mission as an interpreter between the Catalans and Psarogiorgis, in the festival, Catalan tv and radio stations. Here you can listen to the interview of Psarogiorgis in the Spanish state radio station.