C.P . Cavafy

With musician Loek Schrievers PALIO-PARÉA has also a composer within their line-up. From 1997 on, after the release of their first CD “ Greek to Me ” he has enriched the group's repertoire with original compositions that made a significant contribution to the unique PALIO-PARÉA sound.
During their search for inspiring lyrics they soon touched upon the poetry of C.P. Cavafy that immediately made a big impression. A fascination and a challenge, bearing in mind that Cavafy's ‘prosaic' poetry at first sight seems hardly suited for a melodic setting, which is probably one of the reasons why only a few composers tried. Therefore it was very satisfying when the first compositions by Schrievers on Cavafy's poetry received a warm welcome from the Greek press. The title of the 2d album “ Yesterdays ” derives from the feeling that these poems have in common: a sense of melancholy and reminiscence. Although this is the prevailing mood in Fonés , Ya Ná'rthoun and Epéstrefe the memories are without acerbity or bitterness, with the possibility to re-enliven the joyful moments; in Keriá the attention is shifted to the future.
Having passed this proficiency test it became possible for Schrievers to interest lyricists in his work, which resulted in PALIO-PARÉA 's 3rd CD Stin Perron. However Cavafy's collected works were always near at hand and the feeling that the story was unfinished kept grooving; he decided to compose a cycle of songs in honour of such an impressive poet.

Palio-Paréa released the cd Nights in Attarin, a cycle of songs on Cavafy poetry. In Alexandria Cavafy lived near the neighbourhood Attarin. The place with a lively nightlife. The cycle has much character and variation with a leading part for the ûd, the instrument Cavafy must have heard a lot while living in Alexandria and Istanbul. Poems as Voices, Hidden Things, An Old Man, Come Back, Candles, Bacchic, Nichori, Morning Sea, To Call Up The Shades and Ithaka were the sources of inspiration.

C.P. Cavafy found little recognition during his lifetime, but after his death in 1933 he slowly became the internationally best known and most translated poet. This was probably caused by his capability to express universal feelings in his own, clearly recognizable way. He does not use the metaphor; it's all there on paper. Matter-of-fact he notes down the things that impressed him. He observes….with a touch of bitter and a touch of sweet.
Cavafy was born the 29 th of April 1863 in Alexandria. His Greek parents were from Constantinople . He died in 1933 on the same date. Although he lived in Alexandria for the greater part of his life he always felt Greek. He wrote in Greek based on the language spoken in the coffeehouses and the Alexandria stock exchange. The Greek community in Alexandria in its heyday counted 55.000 souls.

For more information on the life and work of C.P. Cavafy: http://cavafis.compupress.gr


You now hear the song
Hidden Things

From all I did and all I said let no one try to find out who I was. An obstacle was there distorting the actions and the manner of my life. An obstacle was often there to stop me when I'd begin to speak. From my most unnoticed actions, my most veiled writing - from these alone will I be understood. But maybe it isn't worth so much concern, so much effort to discover who I really am. Later, in a more perfect society, someone else made just like me is certain to appear and act freely.

poem by C.P. Cavafy
music by L. Schrievers/M. Tans