Aristidis Vassilaris
Greek Musical Instruments, Vol. 3



01 - Skáros [3:53]
02 - Zonarádikos [3:59]
03 - To kláma tis flogéras (The floghera lament) [5:21]
04 - ''Th' anastenákso mána'', kléftiko (Oh how I will sigh!) [3:51]
05 - ''Sti kendisméni su podiá'' (On your embroidered apron) [3:03]
06 - Mirolói moraïtiko (Miroloi -lament- from the Moreas) [3:42]
07 - ''To Lagiarní'' - ''Ta pírane ta próvata'' (The black sheep - They took the sheep) [5:18]
08 - Karsilamás Makedonías (Karsilamas from Macedonia) [2:50]
09 - Mandilátos [3:17]
10 - Beráti Thessalías (Berati from Thessaly) [4:00]
11 - ''Mílo mu kókkino'' (My red apple) [5:23]
12 - Mirolói ipirótiko (Miroloi from Epirus) [3:53]
13 - Tsámiko ipirótiko (Tsamikos from Epirus) [4:14]
14 - Sérvikos (Servikos) [3:32]
15 - Nyxteriní flogera (Night time floghera) [4:07]

Aristidis Vassilaris, floghera
Spyros Vassilaris, daouli
Vangelis Karipis, toumbeleki
Stelios Kastianis, laouto
I was born in 1932, in Riolo, Achaia, a province in Greece's western Peloponnese. My name was actually Basilaris, but I changed it to Vasilaris. My father, who was from Riolo, played the zourna, or "pipiza" (a type of clarinet), the floghera, the daouli (tabor), and was also a singer. He played at weddings, village festivals, baptisms, engagements and other celebrations. That was how he made his living.

When I turned seven, I decided that I also wanted to play an instrument, so my father gave me a floghera, which had six holes, not eight, as do the ones I play today. I began playing it, but I felt something was missing; there weren't enough finger holes. I told my father, who said, "Nothing's missing, that's how flogheras are".

"Well, I can't play it like that", I said, and he replied: "Do whatever you like then". So I found a nail and opened two more holes, one at each end, and that way I had the full scale of eight notes. I played the floghera until the age of twelve. Then I started to play the zourna, because my father started to take me to festivals and weddings and so on. I knew all the songs and sang as well. Often my father got me to play "klephtika" songs on the pipiza.

But the people wanted to hear the clarinet, so I got rid of the other instruments and went and got myself a clarinet.

After I came up to Athens, I continued playing the clarinet and then had my first trip abroad, around 1966, to Rome. On the train journey home, I leaned against a door and fell out and was badly injured. It took me five years to recover; I had lost my memory and had a very difficult time as I was very very poor.

Then someone took me to the radio station. Simon Karras was there and told me to play the floghera. So I gradually began to take it up again and was was able to earn my living. Then I began recording and eventually arrived where I am today.

What is the floghera made of?

It's made of reed, and rarely of wood. The best reed is to be found in do in dry river beds, and should be shiny, like glass. You have to cut it when the moon is full. That's what the old folk used to say, otherwise the sound is not good. It also must not be thickly knotted, because a floghera of 25-30 cm long should have only one knot, low down.

How do you perforate the reed?

You cut the reed the length you want and then start to make the finger holes. First you place your fingers on it in the playing position and that way you work out where the holes should go. You make them starting form the bottom, toning each one as you go, by ear. My own flogheras, the small ones, go as high as one and a half octaves. If I want two octaves the floghera must be 35-40 cm long.

What singers have you worked with during your career?

Before I started recording, mainly with folk singers I have played with Fotis Halkias, in Agrinio with Karnavas, with someone called Tsotsomitsos, another called Baykantis, in Athens I was in time to work with Papasideris, with Roukounas and with Rosa. I played on six songs she recorded for Columbia. I also played with Zachos for many years, with Christos Panousos, Manolis Papageorgiou, Tassia Vera, Sophia Kollitiri and particularly with Eleni Konomodi from Feneo in Corinth.

Do you remember any musicians in particular that you have worked with?

Yes, I played with old Mallios from Patras, with old Livaditis on tsimballo and violins with Koros, old Arapakis, the father of Alecos, with Telemachos, with Kallintiris in Patras, in Agrinio with Nioniakos, in Preveza with Tzemos, and many others. I have also worked with composers such as Yannis Markopoulos and Vangelis Papathanasiou.

Were the flogheras accompanied by other instruments?

Not here in Greece. Only when we went round singing the kalanda (Christmas carols) we also had a little daouli with us. Only the shepherds played the instrument. I was the only one who started playing with other instruments, in a group.

Bone flute found at Dispilio (Greece) dated at 7000 B.C.
The floghera - a cylinder open at both ends - is usually encountered in mainland Greece. Apart from the nation-wide use of the word "floghera" for this instrument, Greeks have many other names for it:

floera, foughiera, flouera, flora (Greeks form the region of Kavalki, northern Thrace),
flioros (Nikisiani Pangaiou, in the region of Kavala);
flaouro (Mt. Pelion);
makrofloghera (Cassandra, Halkidiki region);
kalami, tzourlas, tsourlas, zourlas, sourlas (Peloponnese);
tzamara, tzouras, tzourai, tziradi (usually in Epirus);
varvanga (Karditsa and Trikala);
kavali, kavala (Thrace, Macedonia);
ghaval (Pontic Greeks);
paghiavli (Lesbos, Chios);
tsafari, tsafiar (northern Greece, Peloponnese);
nai or nei (no longer used);
darvira, dilivira (Roumeli, Peloponnese, Evia);
vivrira, svirka and pistoulka (Serres);
doudouka, toutoukin (Komotini);
soupelka (Ardea region in Pelli);
violi (Dorio Trifillias, in Messinia);
lavouto (Amorgos).


kokolo said...

Thank you Miguel for the whole windy series! Thank you very much.

Miguel said...

he he :)

it was you after all who started it...

so thanks to YOU too :)

kokolo said...

Who sayes is is not ok to provoke the bull, my list of debt to you is a long one, thanks is a drop of whater in a waterfall.

There is a song by Dobriša Cesarić, Croatian poet


Teče i teče, teče jedan slap;
Što u njem znači moja mala kap?

Gle, jedna duga u vodi se stvara,
I sja i dršće u hiljadu šara.

Taj san u slapu da bi mogo sjati,
I moja kaplja pomaže ga tkati.

in translation


It flows and flows, and flows a waterfall;
Of what meaning is my little drop?

Look, a rainbow in the water,
And it shines and trembles in thousand colors.

And my drop helps him weave,
So that dream in the waterfall can shine.

Miguel said...

oh oh :)

what a nice waterfall...

and two drops...


but wait for my next post...

I'll make the donkey dance :D