Folk Songs

Greece

THE CASTLE OF THE SUN

Description: Beginning of a traditional Pontic Greek ballad, with origins in the 15th century. The widespread legend is about a beautiful daughter in a castle which falls into the hands of the Turks by deception. The role of the traitor is played by a Roman (Byzantine Greek) who became a Muslim. He intends to be persecuted by the Turks. With a trick he manages to open the gate and the enemy rushes in to the castle. This melody which is also know as To kástro tis Oriás (The beauty's castle) and belongs to the category of Acritic songs (akritika, frontiersmen songs) can be danced as Kotsangél, but is usually performed as a table song.

Cite as: T-íl' to kástron – The castle of the sun; performer: Kostas Siamidis (lyra), Giorgos Stefanidis (voice), Achilleas Vasileiadis (voice); camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru; transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl; editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: pont1253GRV0002a.

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MARANDOS RECEIVED A LETTER

Description: This song is an example of an acritic song of the Pontic folklore. Acritic songs are called folk songs that refer to the exploits of the Akritai, the army units of the Eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. The acritic songs are the oldest Greek folk songs that are preserved and are related to the literature of the twelfth century, even if their topics take up ancient narrative cycles typical of the classical Greek tradition such as that of nostoi, at the basis of the vicissitudes of Odysseus described by Homer.

Cite as: Ton Márandon χartín erθén – Marandos received a letter; performer: Kostas Siamidis (lyra), Giorgos Stefanidis (voice), Achilleas Vasileiadis (voice); camera/ interview: Thede Kahl; transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl; editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: pont1253GRV0003a.

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WHEN AKRITAS PLOWES

Description: "Acritic" song from the Pontic Greek folklore. Acritic songs are called folk songs that refer to the exploits of the Akritai, the army units of the Eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. The acritic songs are the oldest Greek folk songs that are preserved and are related to the literature of the twelfth century. There are also glimpses of bucolic life but still under the historical remnants of the harsh reality of the life of a frontier soldier, from whom much has been taken away in order to serve the cause of his emperor. The dialogue between a hero and a speaking bird is a very common motif in Greek folklore.

Cite as: Akrítas óndes élamnen – When Akritas plowes; performer: Kostas Siamidis (lyra), Giorgos Stefanidis (voice), Achilleas Vasileiadis (voice); camera/ interview/ transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl; editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: pont1253GRV0004a.

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AN EAGLE FLEW HIGH

Description: One more an example of an "acritic" song of the Pontic Greeks. Acritic songs are called folk songs that refer to the exploits of the Akritai, the army units of the Eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. The acritic songs are the oldest Greek folk songs that are preserved and are related to the literature of the twelfth century. This one in particular is a unique composition of its kind since the central theme is the so-called unknown soldier, fallen in one of the many bloody battles on the outskirts of the empire to protect it from enemies on the borders. The lyrics have a strong allegorical connotation. The eagle with bloody claws is a widespread motif also in the Greek folklore outside of Pontus.

Cite as: Aitén-ts eperipétanen –An eagle flew high; performer: Kostas Siamidis (lyra), Giorgos Stefanidis (voice), Achilleas Vasileiadis (voice); camera/ interview transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl; editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: pont1253GRV0005a.

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I LOST MY HOMELAND

Description: This piece does not belong to the popular tradition of Greek Pontic music, but it is an original composition that refers to the canons and aesthetic tastes of traditional Greek Pontic music, reviving it and enriching it with new topics. The authors of the music and the text are respectively Kostas Siamidis and Christos Antoniadis. The lyrics evoke memories of a lost homeland and its affections, now part of the Turkish Republic, which has been populated by Greeks since the Hellenic colonization in pre-Christian times.

Cite as: Tim-batríða-m éχasa –I lost my homeland; performer: Kostas Siamidis (lyra), Achilleas Vasileiadis (voice); camera/ interview transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl; editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: pont1253GRV0006a.

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YUVALANDUM OR YUVARLANDIM DANCE

Description: Yuvalandum or Yuvarlandım (Greek: Γιουβαλάντουμ) is a folk dance from the region of Akdağmadeni (Greek: Ακ Νταγ Ματέν) in the Yozgat Province of Central Anatolia, popular among several Turkic peoples. Since the city had a partially Greek population until the population exchange between Greece and Turkey (1922-1923), the dance was also danced among the Asia Minor Greeks (Pontic Greeks, Karamanlides, Cappadocians), even if there is no text version in Greek. The name of the dance derives from the Turkish verb yuvalanmak "to get married, to settle down" what could be interpreted as "to roll, to turn over and over, to fall down" in Northeast and Central Anatolia. Antonis Papadopoulos, a good speaker of Pontic Greek and player of the Pontic lyra (kementze/kemence) with origins from Maçka (Greek: Ματσούκα) and Gümüșhane (Greek: Αργυρούπολη) is explaining how the dance was performed by the elder generation who came to Greece as refugees.

Cite as: Ʝuvalándum – Yuvalandum or Yuvarlandim dance; performer: Antonis Papadopoulos, camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, transcription/ translation: Maria Petrou (Turkish), Sotirios Rousiakis (Greek), editor: Ani Antonova, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: pont1253GRV0010a.

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Turkey

SINGING ON THE MOUNTAIN PASTURE

Description: A lyrical dedication for the loved ones living far away: the Pontic miroloi (Greek: mοιρολόι) is the one type of song that links two main characteristics of the female music from the backcountry of the Black Sea coast: emotions of grief and pain for the loved one and the praise for his virtues meet the traditional song manner of the women running the alpine pasture. The miroloi can be addressed to missing persons (mostly relatives) that are either in exile, at war or, in this case, working elsewhere as labour migrants. The human fate separates labour migrants from their homeland by even tearing families apart. It is from such experiences that songs like the present one are born. Each song represents an authentic original version and a current one sung by the woman who had been separated from her husband for a long time in the past, that reveals deep emotional struggles along with social obligations demanding strength and lots of self-discipline. While having to remain in Turkey in order to look after her father in-law, our singer Kiymet Küçük will often try to overcome her pain of loss through singing, a practice that has been virtually eliminated by her daily work and duties.

Cite as: Traɣóðema so parxári – Singing on the mountain pasture; performer: Kiymet Küçük, camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru, transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl, Sotirios Rousiakis, editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: pont1253TRV0001a.

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