Tag Archives: hurdy-gurdy


The Hurdy Gurdy (la ghironda):  a brief history of a wandering instrument

Presentation with traditional tunes played by Alexander Andrew Parise

Tuesday 9 July, 6.30pm.

Museo Italiano, CoAsIt, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, Victoria.

RSVPihs@coasit.com.au; (03)93499021.

This presentation takes the audience on a journey through time from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Our vessel will be a strange and exotic-looking instrument, the hurdy-gurdy, played and showcased by Alexander Andrew Parise.

This strange device, conceived in the French Midi a thousand years ago, will allow the audience to listen to tunes and sounds coming from many different areas and many different periods. But just as important as the music are the many stories in which the hurdy-gurdy is undoubtedly a main character. It  has witnessed all layers of human experience, from the echoing naves of the Mediaeval cathedrals to the colourful courts of European royalty; but it has also scrounged a living down in the streets, faithful companion of beggars and prostitutes, often a means of sustenance for poor migrant and seasonal workers.

The presenter

Alexander Andrew Parise has a BA in Romantic Philology and in Mediaeval Archaeology earned at the University of Torino. He was first introduced to the hurdy-gurdy in 1997 and by 2000 he had had one manufactured for him and has been playing continuously ever since, both with bands and solo, mainly in Italy and in France.