An exciting new project from Anakronos

Citadel of Song: Plague-proof ballate from Bocaccio’s Decameron – features songs and dances from Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece. Caitríona O’Leary has set Boccaccio’s lyrics from The Decameron to Italian music of the period (14th century) as a starting place in order to create a stunning new musical experience.

The Decameron is a masterpiece of Western literature written during & relating to quarantine in a time of a pandemic; in this case the Black Death which ravaged the world between 1347 and 1351. The narrative takes place during the height of the plague; 7 young women & 3 young men depart Florence & repair to the safety of an isolated villa in the hills outside the city. Over 14 days they build a protective fortress of words and music, taking turns telling stories and singing songs to entertain themselves and each other.

The Black Death in The Decameron has an uncanny similarity to the Covid-19 pandemic affecting Ireland and the world today. While the theme of the songs in The Decameron centre on the joyful, hopeful, fraught and painful aspects of romantic love, the cataclysm of the plague always remains suspended in the background. Anakronos have used Boccaccio’s conceit, adapting it to modern times in order to create a performance that is artistically original, accessible, and emotionally poignant.

Anakronos is comprised of some of the most celebrated and adventurous virtuoso musicians from the worlds of classical music, early music, jazz and traditional music. They are:
Caitríona O’Leary – Voice and Music Director
Nick Roth – Saxophones, Percussion
Deirdre O’Leary – Clarinets
Barry O’Halpin – Electric Guitar
Andrea Piccioni – Frame Drums

Citadel of Song takes to the stage in The Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray on Sat 30 October at 8pm (booking at and The Hugh Lane Gallery on 31 October at noon (more information at