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People traditions of Greece: Domna Samiou


Zooming out from rebetika, Greek conventional music is a assorted repository of regional cultures. [1]

Foremost amongst collectors was Domna Samiou (1928–2012) (web site; wiki). On her high quality web site, notice the biography and her personal memoirs

Her mother and father have been a part of the huge wave of Greeks expelled from Asia Minor within the inhabitants exchanges of 1922–23. Residing in a shanty city on the sting of Athens, with out water or electrical energy, she grew up in poverty. However on the age of 13, whereas attending evening faculty, her life was reworked when she was skilled by the musicologist and tune collector Simon Karas (1905–99) (web site, with some tasks; wiki)—whose largely prescriptive work set forth from the research of Byzantine modes.

Samiou 1960s

Having endured German occupation and civil conflict, Samiou started working for the state-run radio station in 1954. Mass migration made Athens a handy base to gather songs from throughout mainland Greece and its islands. By 1963 she was travelling broadly on recording journeys. In 1971, with Greece nonetheless below the junta, she left the radio and began singing in public, opening the ears of youthful generations to people music. Inevitably, protecting such a large space, her forays typically remind me of the “gazing at flowers from horseback” fashion of lesser Chinese language fieldworkers, with specifically staged performances—however given her personal background as a people singer, the comparability could be fairly unfair. Her surveys recommend the wealthy regional cultures of tune, dance, and instrumental music—Thrace, Epirus, the Peloponnese, Asia Minor and Pontos, in addition to the islands (Crete, Karpathos, Skyros, Skiathos, Lesbos, and so forth).

From her 1966–67 TV collection A musical travelogue with Domna Samiou (twenty episodes, usefully launched right here), right here’s the programme on musicking in Evros, Thrace:

and on the music of refugees from Cappadoccia relocated to Plati (Macedonia) (1977):

This playlist contains some later movies:

Recording the mandilatos dance tune (2+2+3 beats—Taco taco burrito!):

Karsilimas from Marmara (Halkidiki), 1982:

Lazarines in west Macedonia, 1996:

We are able to discover a wealth of audio playlists right here. Amongst Samiou’s albums of subject recordings are

  • and, notably pricey to her coronary heart, Songs of Asia Minor (playlist):

(don’t miss #18, a beautiful free tempo violin solo by Stathis Koukoularis!)

In her documentary on the music of Asia Minor, Samiou herself sings a tune she realized from her mom, a refugee from rural Smyrna; she is accompanied by violin, kanun zither, and goblet drum:

As society continued to vary, Domna Samiou’s work laid an vital foundation for later, extra detailed ethnographies of regional traditions.

Cf. Italy: people musicking.


[1] Aside from the fabric on this put up, see e.g. this web site; different beginning factors embrace wiki; The Tough Information to world music and Songlines, The New Grove dictionary of music and musicians, The Garland encyclopedia of world music, and so forth.

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