Seeking melancholy across the Balkans and the Mediterranean region: 10 countries, 92 days, and 11,927 kilometers. Last summer, violinist and composer Wouter Vandenabeele embarked on a journey to the Balkans, Greece, Southern Italy, Catalonia, Andalusia, and Galicia in search of the melancholic soul in music. Over three months, bonds were forged with local musicians.
Melancholy connects people across centuries and cultures. It is ambivalent: sadness accompanied by comfort or hope, pain accompanied by beauty or joy. With Hiraeth, the musicians meander through the tonal colors of melancholy that are especially present in Southern European music cultures (saudade, flamenco blues, Balkan music, etc.). A bittersweet, hopeful longing for what is absent and can never be fully present.