Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The music lives on… just about


A discussion on Dalaras on this thread prompted me to check out on youtube clips from the film Ta Tragoudia tis Fotias, which is footage from a concert held just after the fall of the junta in 1974 and contains the best examples and exponents of so-called έντεχνο λαϊκό music, Theodorakis, Loizos, Markopoulos, Xylouris, Dalaras and so on. The music is a reminder of how brilliant and unique Greek culture can be, and makes you wonder where it all went wrong, how it was possible for it all to have gone so στραβά given that even in 1974 Greek culture was still capable of such highs. Maybe, the way to look at the concert and the art it captures is as representing an end point for a certain period of Greek history, politics and culture, and that despite the youth and optimism of the musicians, audience, film and concert, in fact they weren’t heralding a new chapter in Greek culture – as they must have thought – but closing an old one.

The clip above is of a couple of Yiannis Markopoulos’ songs, the first – Πόσα χρόνια δίσεκτα – sung by Nikos Xylouris and the second is Μαλαματένια λόγια, sung by Lakis Halkias, Haralambos Garganourakis and Lizetta Nikolaou. It really is difficult to understand how the generation which was stirred by this music could then have gone on to wreck Greece in the way it has. I hope this generation, which has a lot to apologise for, doesn’t feel a need to reject and apologise for this music.


hotcargirl said...

(I apologize in advance for such a "looong" comment. But, I guess this validates that good music, inspires contemplative discussion.)

Thank you for posting the above clip. I appreciate real music from genuine musicians no matter the language or "genre." For me--music from the heart of the people transcends "genre" and category. It belongs in the realm of authentic art where it emerges as another form of expression relaying the story of a particular experience.

You also make an excellent point about society and music and how things can go so wrong so fast. As I stated in a post before, I am not Hellenic. However--I do appreciate the Hellenic civilization and history (both ancient and modern). Plus should add: am currently enrolled in grad. school where Mythological studies is one part of my focus. Yet--with that aside--I really wanted to comment after watching the above clip.

It reminds me of a time when musicians, vocalists and artists listened more to their heart and soul as opposed to a monetary check offered by a music executive. Here in Southern California--it is tragic the number of sincere artists who are snubbed for more "commercially" appeasing fare. The performers generally promoted in the mainstream are second and third rate sycophants bent more on pleasing their "handlers" than honing a skill and respecting the creative field their "talent" represents (whether it be music, film, writing or artwork). Inspiring, enlightening or entertaining the public is the last thing on the minds of these individuals.

Actually--this sordid picture is found throughout the world. It as if all cultures are being slowly gutted in stealth fashion.

hotcargirl said...


People seem to care less about their history, style or even dignity these days. My observation is applied to the "mass" not individuals (since there are always exceptions). It is as if everything has become corporatized in some sick way. Few understand: respect and loyalty. It is an extremely superficial existence for most (and they do not seem to realize it). This is why when one may briefly look at Greece today and see the corrupt politicians and the fleecing of its citizens, they are merely looking at what is occurring in their own nation: uber-theft is the modus operandi of most governments currently.

The citizenry are left high and dry with no positive, cohesive substance to bind them together except intense anger at being financially squeezed and an emptiness which somehow cultivates either an insatiable frustration or lingering depression. To make matters worse: very few avenues of employment are being created. All roads lead to hopelessness for most--especially the youth. This is the time where music such as that provided in the video clip is most needed to inspire and remind people where they come from and what they are about.

The "leaders" of the world have somehow convinced themselves that nation-states and the uniqueness of people are a thing of the antiquated past: only money or wealth matters. The irony? Paper money solely possesses "perceived" value (as does precious metals to a lesser extent). Yet, many refuse to acknowledge this. What has value and worth is being rendered worthless and useless or at least that is the current undertaking by the "powers that be."

hotcargirl said...


I really hope Greece is able to find it's footing somehow. It certainly has enough culture and experience when it comes to overcoming hideous societal burdens.

Yet, even with this mind, I cringe when I hear non-Greek politicians of the EU cavalierly state that Greece should sell it's land or whatnot in order to satisfy it's debt. If I feel disgusted and offended by remarks such as those--can only imagine how a Hellene feels. Most people don't know their own history--let alone that of another people. The four hundred years of horror and strife suffered from the Ottoman Empire has yet to be addressed as far as I can see. I will stop here. For that is another subject matter entirely. And, with Cyprus still being occupied by Turkey...

When you stated, "...they weren't heralding a new chapter in Greek culture-as they must have thought-but closing an old one," as a woman of color, here in the U.S., this is highly analogous to American jazz of the 40s, 50s & 60s in comparison to the despicable rap music of today. Talk about something going from class to super crass and debased state our music has fallen to in such a short period of time. Often, I wonder how Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Charles Mingus even Stan Getz et al would react to the wholly unsophisticated and misogynistic form of rap and hip hop music. As a woman of color it's embarrassing yet--far too many in the U.S. (and in some parts of the world) willingly embrace this coarse form of expression. I find it alarming how many in my age range on down are clueless about how destructive some "music" can be. Most older people don't like it but then again, they are from a time where there was still dignity in music. Okay, I will end here. Xylouris Nikos clip must have hit a nerve:)

Will close by thanking you once again for the clip. I love it when someone passes on good music.

The Antidalarus said...

Superb music indeed - great stuff. Thanks.

John Akritas said...

It is good music, though I wonder if anyone in Greece listens to it now. As for your Dalaras question, maybe he is a little unfashionable but that shouldn't detract from the lots of excellent and classic recordings he's made with some of the best composers and, ultimately, this is what his reputation – which is still considerable – rests on. Personally, I think he can be a first-class interpreter of Theodorakis, Loizos and so on; but a lot of his more recent stuff is middle of the road, appeals to middle aged women and he's not such a great singer of rembetika – though I like his album Rembetika tis Katohis, (Rembetika of the Occupation).