Expressive paraloges on a new double CD by Domna Samiou
Vassilis Angelikopoulos, Newspaper, Kathimerini, 24/05/2008
The paraloges [folk fables] are songs which narrate a story, or a legend. They frequently contain supernatural elements and feature spirits, even though their origins may often lie in age old legends, historical incidents or most commonly, in events of social life, such as love, marriage, infidelity, emigration, death, oaths, the love or hatred among brothers etc. We have all heard of some the traditional paraloges, such as The Bridge of Arta (or of Triha), The mother with the nine sons (also known as The dead brother's), of the monster that lurks in wells (the Krimatismenos) and others.
People used to narrate or sing them in the past, when habits and the pace of life were different. And that is why so many different versions of the paralogessurvive from the different localities of Greek culture and beyond, each with its [regional] specificities of language and music.
So here is another opportunity for those who want to quench the thirst of their parched daily lives with cool water from the past: Domna Samiou (who else?) has brought out a double CD with a booklet in English and Greek, which is a pleasure to behold. In it she offers us a collection of thirty four paraloges from various Greek areas, some still sung and some which have died out.
The renderings are extremely expressive, by Mrs Samiou herself and by other proficient contemporary voices, as well as 'olden people' (as Kontoglou used to say) whom Mrs Samiou met on her forays and whom she recorded singing their 'wealth'.
The Domna Samiou Greek Folk Music Association, following the Songs of Asia Minor, Songs about Greeks far from home, Carnival Songs, Easter Songs, Songs of Dame Sea, Of Nature and of Love, and The Great North wind and other songs for Children and many more [recordings], now offers us, with the support of the Niarhos Foundation, yet another poetic and musical treasure.
Translated by Alexander Seferiades