Musical Travelogue with Domna Samiou - Arcadia
“Musical Travelogue with Domna Samiou” (“Musiko Odiporiko me ti Domna Samiou”) was a television series researched and presented by Domna Samiou and broadcast by the Greek National Television during the 1976-1977 season. Each episode was dedicated to the mu
Music program, Television, ERT, 1977
This travelogue explores the musical tradition of the Gortynia mountainous area of the Arcadia district. We visit the the village of Lagadia, home of the famous Deliyannis family, Valtesiniko and Lefkochori. Here we have a collaboration of professional musicians and locals who present songs with historical themes, laments, and love songs. The documentary was filmed in March 1977 and was aired the same year.
Yannis Polyderas aka Brookloyianis, a famous clarinettist of Arcadia, comes from the village Amygdalia. His father was nicknamed "Brooklys" in the US where he lived as an immigrant and the nickname passed on to his son Yannis. Yannis has visited the US and Canada many times in the '70s and played there for the Greek diaspora.
The episode starts with a solo clarinet by Brookloyiannis in the village of Lagadia.
The historical song of Deliyannis refers to the decapitation of the master of the area during the Ottoman rule, Yannis Deliyannis , in his house, in Lagadia, on February 1816 ordered by a sultan's firman (order). Yannis Kouris sings accompanied by an orchestra.
In Lala* sheep are slaughtered, in Bastira*, rams
And in Lagadia* they massacre poor Deliyannis
*villages of the area
Since 1973 and every year, the Pan-Peloponnesian Folk Song, Music, and Costume Competition is held in Lagadia and was initiated by Nikitas Stratolatis.
In the 1976 competition, 11-year-old student Stathis Palivas was awarded. Listen to him in three songs and notice how he imitates the sound of the clarinet with his hands. As he revealed to Domna Samiou, he learned the songs from his mother. He saved the prize money (2,000 drachmas) in the bank planning to buy a car when he grows up.
Mitsos Lalos, 62, a shepherd by profession, also participated in the same competition. He sings three songs; two of them recount the deeds of heroes and one is a love song.
In Arcadia, laments (miroloia) do not refer exclusively to the dead or to Charon (the personification of Death). Some refer to exile or even war. Elders Panagoula Stamatopoulou and Maria Rigopoulou recite two laments from the area sitting in the pews of the village church.
In the village of Valtesiniko, old Barba-Michalis and young Fotis Katsiyannis sing two songs. They are accompanied on the flute by Foti’s 15-year-old brother Christos Katsiyannis . The first song is a local variation of the song Who Was the One Who Sighed and the second one is a historical song called Mountains of Alonistena. It refers to the defeat of the Greek forces under Theodoros Kolokotronis by the forces of Ibrahim Pasha in June 1825 and the capture, destruction and slaughter of the villages of the area that ensued.
Every year in the village of Lefkochori the Feast of the Elders takes place. This celebration began in 1965 and takes place on the Saturday following the 15th of August. A festival is set up in the central square and celebrated guests are the older residents. "This new custom of the celebration of the elders that we found here in Lefkochori, surprised us because, in other places we go, we hear about customs that are lost. Here we have a custom that is created and that is based on respect for the elderly", Domna Samiou remarks on camera.
Old villagers sing and dance the humorous You Can't Turn It On, No You Can't as well as the Arcadian version of the well-known song How Do They Grind the Pepper, accompanied by younger folks - locals.
The episode ends with a majestic tsamiko dance -characteristic of the Peloponnese- in the square of the village of Lagkadia under the glance of the Deliyannis family statues.