Musical Travelogue with Domna Samiou - Thrace, Evros
Music program, Television, ERT, 1976
An episode dedicated to the musical tradition of Thrace and specifically of Evros district. The ancient legend says that Orpheus was teaching music throughout Thrace and finally found a tragic death in the river Evros.
Crossroads for the East, Thrace receives many influences but still maintains its own musical character. Evros, in its peculiar geographical dimensions, today gathers almost all of the variations of Thracian music.
Music stations of this Travelogue, the villages of Ambelakia, Asproneri, Karoti, Metaxades, Nea Vyssa, Neochori, Paliouri, Soufli, and Sofiko.
In the village of Paliouri, Yiannis Zafeiroudis sings the song I See Ships A-Coming and is accompanied by Christos Kanakidis or Zachardelas on the flute. Based on this recording, Domna Samiou performed the song in the album I Tread the Earth Gently.
Yannis Zafiroudis sings the philosophical table song (narrative song) Welcome My Friends. The song talks about the joys of life, the unpredictability of human destiny, and the inevitability of death and oblivion.
Christos Zafiroudis sings the table song I Wandered for Twelve Years about people living far away from their homeland and families.
Residents of the village Metaxades dance the wedding Karsilama Wedding Dance. Dimitris Mirgizoudis plays the gaida (bagpipe). They dance in the street on the way to the bride’s house.
Garyfallia Vakaloudi, Basiliki Vakaloudi, Maria Takoudi, and Trantafyllia Katakoudi sing the song In the Village of Metaxades. It is a song about a local mayor, Yannis, who had three wives and wanted to marry a fourth one!
In Soufli village, Vasiliki Kipourou sings the songs In the Syriotiko Plain and In Holy Mary’s Neighborhood weaving at her loom.
In Karoti village, Yiorgos Demertzis plays the gaida (bagpipe) and sings the song At the Casement of the House. Residents of the village are dancing the ‘Xesyrtos’ dance.
'At the casement of the house, where the priest’s wife lives,
at the casement of her home, two black eyebrows sit…'
Babo-Vagia (old woman Vagia) Grammenidou, Afroditi Vargiamidou, and Dimitra Grammenidou are singing The Song of the Dead Brother also known as The Song of Areti.
One of the best-loved, pan-Balkan, and dramatic narrative songs about the power of an oath, of mourning and of a curse.
Babo-Vagia (old woman Vagia) Grammenidou and Domna Samiou are singing the wedding song My Mother, I Warned You. It is sung when the bride says goodbye to her mother, leaving her paternal home and heading out to church and marriage.
The same group of women are singing the song Alexander and the King that delivers in poetic form one of the best-known legends of the Fall of Constantinople. It recounts the legend of the old woman who sets a condition for accepting the inconceivable news that the City had indeed fallen to the Turks. The the half-fried fish leap out of her pan and return to the water. Well, the fish did leap out of the pan and, according to popular tradition, swim still in the holy water of Istanbul’s Baluklu church, the ‘church of the Fish’. It was here that King Alexander and Constantine, the prime symbolic figures of antiquity and of Byzantine splendour, receive news of the inconceivable catastrophe that has befallen their nation.
Yiorgos Demertzis plays the Pedoraki Dance with the bagpipe and the people of Asproneri village dance.
Yiorgos Demertzis plays the Zonaradikos Dance in the bagpipe and the people of Asproneri village are dancing.
The Dance of the Hare and the Hunter is a satirical mimetic dance danced by two usually elderly men. One represents the hare and the other the hunter. It was customary to dance it at the end of wedding feasts.
Yiorgos Demertzis is singing and playing on his bagpipe the song ‘of migration to foreign lands and orphanhood’ Stormy Mountains, Foggy Lowlands
During the preparation of the program, Domna Samiou recorded the following songs.