Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, created Puglia in 1975 by the writer Rina Durante, is the first and most important group to produce popular Salentinian music. The fascinating dichotomy between tradition and modernity characterizes the music of the CGS: the group reinterprets in a modern key the traditions that revolve around the famous pizzica tarantata ritual, which had the power to cure through music, trance, and dance the bite of the fearsome tarantula.
The CGS’s albums and performances are an explosion of energy, passion, rhythm, and magic, which captivate the audience and, through the beat of the tambourine, engage the public in a journey that goes from the past to the present of the culture of Salento.
The formation of CGS is composed by Mauro Durante (vocals, percussions, violin), Alessia Tondo (vocals), Silvia Perrone (dance), Giulio Bianco (bagpipe, harmonica, flutes, bass), Massimiliano Morabito (organ), Emanuele Licci (vocals, guitar, bouzouki), Giancarlo Paglialunga (vocals, tamburieddhu) and continues to innovate and represent Italian traditional music all around the world.
CGS lists a great number of collaborations with renowned musicians such as Ludovico Einaudi, Piers Faccini, Ballake Sissoko, Ibrahim Maalouf, Fanfara Tirana, Stewart Copeland from Police, without never losing its identity which is always proudly present.
With 20 studio albums and numerous live performances in Italy – important is their participation in three editions of the Notte della Taranta in Melpignano (2010,2013,2015)– in Europe, in the Middle East, and in the USA, the CGS is acclaimed by the public and the critic because of its ability to convey this ancient tradition and show it worldwide.
In 2010 the CGS received by MEI the prize as Best Italian Popular Music Group and in 2012 they participated in globalFEST in New York, during which the CGS was defined by The New York Times: «a whirlwind». That same year, CGS was the only Italian group at WOMEX Festival, the most important world music (contamination genre between popular music and traditional music) fair in the world.
In 2014, their song “Sola Andata” – based on a text by Italian writer Erri De Luca – received the Arte e Diritti Umani Prize by Amnesty International. In 2018 the CGS received an extremely important prize for the world music panorama: the Songlines Music Award, assigned for the first time to an Italian group.