With Occhi turchini that inspiring singer, instrumentalist and actor, Pino De Vittorio has returned to the recording studio, fixing his sights on the musical culture of the Italian region of Calabria. For a new recording for Glossa, Franco Pavan and his Laboratorio ’600 have been researching back over the centuries the rich musical texture of the region, known as the “toe” of the Italian “boot”. Most recently, singer and ensemble worked together for the Siciliane recording, also for the Spanish label. This new programme embraces traditional songs, examples of the adulteration of the local language for comic effect in Baroque Neapolitan opera, and even a parody of the text for the Te Deum in the same Calabrian, but also reflections of other – Byzantine, Greek, Albanian and Arabic – cultures which have permeated the region over the centuries. Pino De Vittorio – that versatile powerhouse of mood – is the ideal vocal interpreter for this multi- layered chequerboard of the region’s cultural history, with Pavan and his ensemble imparting colourful accompaniment for De Vittorio or spirited soloistic playing in instrumental works such as the Tarantella ’nfuocata, La calabrisella, and especially the Canzona a morto, played on the harp by Flora Papadopoulos. Pavan, as well as playing theorbo and the Calabrian chitarra batente, also acts – through his booklet essay – as guide across this rugged, isolated, but immensely rich cultural terrain.