Music from the island of Karpathos

Musique de l'île de Karpathos
Recordings by Giuliano d’Angiolini, 1994-1995


01. Sousta
Nikos Nikolaou-lyra
Andreas Fasakis - laouto
02. Skopi tis nichtas, Pano Choros and Sousta
Andonis Zografidis- tsambouna,
Michalis Zografidis- song and lyra
Yiannis Prearis, Yiorghos Zografidis- laouto
03. Pathos
Michalis Zografidis- song and lyra
Yiannis Prearis- laouto
04. Syrmatikos and ''Sta marmara tou Galata"
Andonis Zografidis- tsambouna,
Michalis Zografidis- song and lyra
Yiannis Prearis- laouto
05. Mandinadha
Michalis Zografidis- song and lyra,
Yiannis Prearis,Yiorghos Zografidis - laouto
06. Mandinadha
Michalis Zografidis- lyra,
Yiorghos Protopapas- laouto
07. Pano Choros
Andreas Fasakis- lyra
Nikos Nikolaou- laouto

"And this is how our life goes by at the edge of the world. One day with laughter and joy, and the next day with tears". One more remarkable edition with field recordings of Greek folk music, which comes from France and which this time it takes us to a tour to the local repertoire of Olympos, a mountain village in the northern part of Karpathos. Olympos is one of the few places in Greece that preserves to a great extend up until the present day its largely traditional rural and pastoral social character. This is contributed to the isolation (the road and the electricity of the village is an event of recent years ...) and the persistence of traditional social structures and values. There would be no exaggeration to say that, until recently, Olympos was still a "living museum" where in spite of the passage of time, it kept ancient elements of speech, social organization and music. For this reason the village has many times been the object of study for sociologists, social anthropologists, musicologists and other scholars and has much to reveal to researchers ... This music edition thus seeks to give us an acquaintance with the music and dances of Olympos. A "dialogue" with mandinadhes (on the spot improvisation of rhymed distichs of 15 syllables), which took place in a coffee shop and transferred unchanged to the disc, gives us the stigma of this attempt for acquaintance. It could be an everyday dialogue in prose, but the music brings it out by serving it, distracts it from everyday life and projects it to a different-ritual level. Besides the music upon which the mandinadhes are matched, we have the opportunity to hear two very interesting "paraloges" (long narrative songs) that have survived in the music tradition of the island. The first is told on the "syrmatikos" music type, with which many old songs (Acritic and ballads) are rendered. It begins slowly to gradually accelerate and reach (after the end of the lyrics) to the lively "Pano Choros". "Last night I fell asleep in the arms of a young girl, in a powerful embrace I covered her with kisses..." The "syrmatikos" is followed by the Byzantine narrative ballad "The marbles of Galatas". This song is an example of very ancient Greek folk songs that have survived until today in conservative and isolated societies, such as Olympos. This is a direct connection to the distant past, which shows how the collective memory is preserved and disseminated through song and ritual. The old repertoire was accompanied by the "lyrotsambouna" a most unusual ensemble, which includes a lyra, a bagpipe and a lute and which today survives only in Olymbos. The disc also includes representitive dances of Karpathos such as "Pano Choros" and "Sousta". The first moves entirely within the capabilities of the tsambouna, while the second uses more melodic scale, thus exploiting the technical possibilities of the Dodecanese lyra. The publication is accompanied by a bilingual (French and English) insert booklet that includes a brief but very informative text about the music of Karpathos, the mandinadhes and folk musical instruments. It also contains the lyrics in Greek, English and French. It is worth noting that the writing of the verses in Greek is made with special care, something not always common in corresponding Greek editions. The articles are signed by Giuliano d 'Angiolini, who made the recordings in 1994 and 1995 and edited the recording.
Reviewed by: Charis Sarris. Translated from Greek by NOCTOC
thanks for the music, the words and the hint :)  
thank you manelaki for the photos


About the Music of Olymbos and the Region

1). The music of Karpathos


    Karpathos, as well as nearby Kassos form a unit that is extremely aligned in all forms of life including geography, culture, and music. Karpathos and Kassos are the southernmost islands of the Dodecanese and the closest to Crete.

Exploring the music of Karpathos, one has to only experience the music from the village of Olymbos which is located in the northern part of the island. The village, until recently somewhat isolated, remains highly important for the wealth of its cultural traditions and contains a mountain community still preserving the characteristics of an agro-pastoral economy.

Nonetheless, the reality of emigration has caused-and is still causing-substantial modifications in the social balance of the community life which affects the area of music as well.

II). Music and Musicians

    Musicians in Olymbos play a major role in the musical life of the village, and are the leaders in the island’s cultural life including those who live on the neighboring island of Rhodes. There is a great cultural continuity and integration between them, especially when time comes for all of them to perform together. This can be explained by the geographical proximity but also because the vast majority of the immigrants of Olymbos retain and exercise their traditions and cultural affairs anywhere they might live, and they return to the village for the holidays and the summer months.

Musicians have a status  which could be defined as "semi-professional"; recognized for their musical talents, they are called upon to play in other villages on the island. This activity can be a source of considerable income in addition to what they earn from their everyday professions.

    There are a number of players of the lyra, laouto, and tsambouna, the three main instruments of Karpathos, constructed by local craftsmen, most of the times the musicians themselves. The players span across all ages including young musicians which maintain a high level of interpretation and performance skills. From all the musicians, the tsambouna players, often specialized in the technique of this difficult instrument, are more rare, but still well represented. The kafeneio7, often constitutes the natural surroundings for the commencing of  festive occasions and popular musical and cultural events. When in the kafeneio, the musicians will start playing in the early afternoon, and from there the singers, most of the times being very good composers of mantinades6 will start gathering and at the end, they will form a diversified group of meraklides, able of arousing the whole village into a celebration which will last until the next morning.

    The content and form of mantinades is not specified in advance. Therefore, mantinades do not constitute a repertoire, but on the contrary, they vary and are generally conceived within the framework of a dialogue between several participants in certain tunes, or skopous, in clearly defined social functions and situations. In other words, the context of mantinades is generated by the situation at the moment and is incorporated within the music.
...read the whole thing here :)


kokolo said...

So nice to have you back!
And the music...

Miguel said...

Thank you kokolo!


kokolo said...

Pleasure to read, pleasure to watch pleasure to listen, wander what's the food like?

Miguel said...

food can only be good ;)

let's have a look in the kitchen...


smells good...

looks good...


gypsykat said...

The download link gives an HTTP404 error: web page cannot be found.

Please fix?

Looking forward to hearing this title.

Miguel said...


how did this happen...

never mind...

lucky gypsykat :)

gypsykat said...

Gracias, Miguel!