MUSIC IN ZAGORI

 

 

Ö Almost the entirety of the repertoire of the Zagori area consists of songs and instrumental pieces, that are embellished with rollicking and ornate features. Many of them have their origins in towns of Epirus (Ioannina, Preveza, Arta), neighboring regions (Pogoni, Metsovo) and more remote ones (mainly Xiromero); or they originate in foreign lands and big urban centers (Smyrna, Istanbul, Romania, Athens etc.).  In their new homeland they are reworked upon and adjusted to the local musical structure by the creative local musicians. Yet it is mainly the widely traveled Zagori man who brings them back from the areas of his professional activity Ė the big and thriving financial canters of the 19th c. Ė and introduces them either as songs or later as gramophoneís recording. And it is him, as the demanding and passionate music listener and dancer, who, through his ďordersĒ, praises both the ďforeignĒ and the local folk creations. In so doing, he partakes in the process of making and establishing a musical material, that in its continuous transformation reflects in the best way Zagoriís aesthetics.

Thus, while unexpected, given its geographically remote location, the basic element of this aesthetic is its urban character Ė in itself a sign of a thriving society that in the end of the 19th c. was at the zenith of its financial, intellectual and in general cultural development Ö

Ö The distiches (stichoplakia) mainly with love content, yet sometimes with mocking elements, constitute the base of the songs. The ďmetrical competitionsĒ well advanced by the people of Ioannina in the 19th c. will survive in Zagoriís chavadia; those were sung (and are still in use occasionally) during the dawn of the festivalís last day or on the feastís decline. And once again it will be from Ioannina that many songs and instrumental tunes will be introduced after the independence of the area in 1912-13. Interestingly, whilst the capital of Epirus will disclaim them in order to be ďdisturkishedĒ and adopt instead musical types of west origins, (e.g. serenade, guitarís trio), the oriental identity of the region will be further retained in the cosmopolitan Zagori. The songs Bazarkana and Archontopoulo, which are included in the recordings of this CD, are such creations of the Ioanninaís musical tradition that constitute an inseparable part of Zagoriís repertoire; what is more these songs have become emblematic of the Zagoriís musical tradition. Similar are the origins and prominence of the songs such as the very well known Feggaroprossopi, Dontia Pykna etc.

1905

Dipotamo

In addition, the local origins of many Zagori songs are attested by their nominal reference to the regionís villages (e.g. Papingo, Kapesovo, Vitsa, Tsepelovo, Skamneli) or to the particular characters of the area, (e.g. Alexandra, the beautiful Olga, the grand old lady Bolonassena).

 

 

The distinctive characteristics element of the Zagori musical idiom regarding both songs and instrumental pieces are mainly recognized in phrases of the clarinet, the leading instrument. The middle and the upper range of the clarinet are mainly used; there, rapid and prolific phrases which define the melodyís main poles are coupled with elaborate glissandos Ö

 

1937

Manassis

1924

Dikorfo

1968

Manassis

1957

Manassis

1923

Vitsa

     
(Text from the musicological analysis of  George Kokkoni which is in the CD of  the Cultural Union of Zagori ďZagorisio ZiafetiĒ.)

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