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Greece: Vocal Monodies CD

Greece: Vocal Monodies CD

  • $1529

Dimitras Kukas, familiarly known as Barba Mitsos (“Uncle Mitsos”), sang and composed these unaccompanied songs. Born at the end of the 19th century on the island of Syros, Kukas grew up in Mykonos, and until his death in 1980 was one of the last performers of this Greek oral tradition.

While Kukas’ songs are original compositions, he comments,“I keep the tradition of my father and grandfather, who sang this sort of song when I was a child.” Kukas draws upon the traditional distich, or two-line couplet, which is the keystone of Greek oral tradition. The distiches provide a body of pre-constructed formulas—images, comparisons, and adages—which Kukas uses and reworks in his own songs. The songs include essential themes of popular Greek repertoire such as love and sorrow, odes to mother, xenitia (songs for those far from home), and miroloia (funeral songs).

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track listing:

1. Kimumenos i xipnitos (Whether awake or sleeping) - 5:09
2. Apopse then kimithika (This evening I did not sleep) - 2:37
3. Ali kaimeni mu kardia (My poor heart) - 2:53
4. Sta Salona sfazun arnia (At Salona they are slaughtering sheep) - 2:00
5. Me t'ah ke me t'alimono (With "Ah's" and "Alas's") - 4:50
6. Poli anastenazune (Many are those who sigh) - 3:17
7. I mana ine paploma (Mother is an eiderdown) - 3:34
8. Dioxe me mana (Chase me, Mother) - 4:30
9. Pios xeri i agapi mu (Who knows, my love) - 2:52
10. Otan pethano (When I die) - 4:07
11. K'an kleo me parapono (Even if I weep and moan) - 2:59
12. Sikosu epano Yanno mu (Get up, my Yannos) - 1:59
13. To mnima mu na khtisete (Build my tomb) - 4:34
14. San thete na dite klamata (If you wish to see tears) - 2:07

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