Musical Travelogue with Domna Samiou - Eastern Crete
“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, 1976
This documentary was filmed the fall of 1976 in Sitia, Crete and basically in the villages of Agios Georgios, Armeni, Etia and Krousta.
In Sitia, Domna Samiou meets Yannis Dermitzakis, renown in the area for his improvised Mantinades (couplets, which are sung in Crete ) and his ability to create and use composite words that do not exist in the Greek vocabulary.
Along with his son Manolis Dermitzakis on the guitar they play two instrumental tunes Sitiakos Pidichtos Dance and Kontylies, plus a song with some prementioned composite words.
Next stop is the village of Agios Georgios, known also by its old name Tourtouli. A village on the south side of Sitia, where Afentakis the janissary, (meaning "new soldier", a member of the elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultan's household troops) who ruled the whole area, had his base. A group of six boys sing New Year's carols along with praises for the master and the lady of the house but also their son and daughter, as well as their nanny.
From the time of the Cretan uprisings and the frequent visits of the allied fleets, we encounter a new imported dance in Crete that is danced until today: the polka!
Couples dance accompanied by the Cretan lyra and the davul. The Cretan lyra is played by Manolis Perakis who is also an instrument maker and the davul by Nikos Perakis, the mayor of the village, who is also a farmer and a musician.
In Agios Georgios, kyra Marigo tells Domna Samiou the story of her life, countering around her seven children and the death of her only daughter, in an early age.
In eastern Crete, Kondylies are songs sung sitting at the table of a feast. They have repetitive musical motifs on which the improvised lyrics, the mantinades, are sung. The lyra players are the best mantinada - lyricists but all Cretans have the ability to compose instant mantinades.
At a house in Agios Georgios, a group of Cretans sing, eat and drink accompanied by the lyra and the davul.
In the village of Armeni the feast was set up next to the cauldron where the tsikoudia* (raki) is prepared. The local musicians Mathios Garefalakis, and Lefteris Pathiakis play their respective instruments (lyra and davul). Villagers drink, dance and sing.
The first inhabitants of the village were Armenians and they were settled by Nikephoros II Phokas, the Byzantine Emperor, in 961 when Crete was liberated from the Saracens (Arabs).
I drank wine and got drunk, raki and I lost my mind
Then, I saw my loved one and I got completely mad.
*Homemade alcoholic beverage distilled from the by-products of winemaking
Etia, very close to Armeni is a medieval village with very few inhabitants. There Domna Samiou met grandmother-Maria who tells her the story of the Venetian "Seragio" palace and its mistresses. How slaves spread the rug from Seragio to the church for the "lordesses" to go to church and how they received the holy bread from the priest.
Kroustas is a mountain village in the province of Mirabello. 150 years ago the villagers of Lakkoi were forced to leave their village in the lowlands and resettle in Kroustas , for safety reasons in fear of the Turks. The residents are farmers and shepherds and until recently lived in isolation. Only the last two or three years tourism discovered them, significantly changing their habits. The musicians are Yannis Vardas, lyre, Minas Giachnakis, lute and Manolis Fraggakis, drums. Residents of the village dance the Prinianos Dance.
Agkaliastos Dance (Embraced Dance) begins with Pidichtos Dance. After a while the lyra player stops and starts playing the tune of Agkaliastos singing the characteristic verse:
Agkaliastos is about to start, let’s all embrace together
The dancers entangle their hands one by one slowly and ritually and later, while dancing, untangle them in the same way. The Agkaliastos Dance (Embraced Dance) is beautiful and picturesque and has aroused interest in folklore studies.