Folk Fables in Song Is a Timeless Project
Mattie Poels, Music Frames, 03/05/2020
Many countries have their own ethnomusicologists who have sought out local music from their country. In the early 20th century, the composers Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly traveled through Hungary in search of local music. They recorded this with a phonograph, wrote it down and incorporated the melodies in their own compositions. Musicologist Alan Lomax has traveled through the U.S., with a tape recorder, just like Deben Battacharya, who traveled through India recording local music. In the Netherlands it was Ate Doornbosch who was looking for the local melodies which were broadcasted in his radio program Onder de Groene Linden (‘Under the Green Linden’) in the 60s and 70s. Weekly broadcasted between 1976 and 1994.
In Greece it was Domna Samiou (1928/2012) who was in search for authentic Greek music. She became interested in music in her early teens. She was taught Byzantine and folk music and came in contact with the national radio for which she worked in the early 1950s. At that time a lot of music was live recorded and in this way she became familiar with important Greek musicians and various styles. In the early 1970s Samiou started her own music career and released several records. Moreover, she travels through Greece, looking for local music, recorded it on tape and played in the TV program ‘Musiko Odiporiko’.
In 1981, the Domna Samiou Greek Folk Music Association was established to make the Greek cultural musical heritage available for the audience. About 12 CD collections of music, recorded on location, were published, supplemented with edited Greek pieces by Domna Samiou herself.
This also applies to the wonderful editions of Folk Fables in Song from 2008. A double CD which is contained in a 260-page booklet full of information about the songs with the lyrics, background information and beautiful illustrations. Songs from, among others, Crete, Chios, the Black Sea region, Thrace, Cyprus and Epirus, where the beautiful lamentations (miroloi) come from with the characteristic howling clarinet. Some of the songs have been recorded on location and are sung solo, but the vast majority of compositions are played and sung by various musicians, playing the kaval (hoarse flute), ûd (Arabic lute), clarinet, darbouka (drum) and violin.
The pristine voice of Domna, the women’s and men’s choir and the authentic voices on location recordings radiate a great love for Greek music. Domna Samiou remains as close as possible to the original in her adaptations. The melodies are not embellished, but played and sung in the purest form. Folk Fables in Song is a timeless project.
Highly recommended for the Greek music lover who is treated to 34 beautiful songs from one of the most beautiful countries around the Mediterranean.
accessed at 3/5/2020