C G Karyotakis 1896-1928 Greek poet

I’m sure your all getting the feeling now that the area surrounding Lefkás known for its poetry because of the amount of poets I have so far covered. Also, I rather like poetry which is not a thing you would initially think considering I’m quite logical and a scientist.

This poet deserves a post because I was struck by the beauty of his poetry and he lived such a short life.

He also talks about Preveza, the biggest town in the area. Which from everything I’ve ever heard and seen about the place, hasn’t changed at all and will inspire the same melancholic poetry in yourself. (The poet committed suicide shortly after writing that poem).

Kostas Karyotakis suffered the fate of most people born before there time in that his work was only appreciated after he died. He knew his brilliance but couldn’t convince others so this gave him great pain. This is sometimes reflected in his work especially later on.

He was highly intelligent, studied law and became employed in clerical work which he highly disliked. This comes across in his poems but he was able to revolutionise the way poetry was written so there is always a silver lining to everything in life.

He had syphilis which at the time couldn’t be cured which is mainly responsible for his suffering, inability to settle into any position and therefore constant changing of where he was living.

He was sad, suicidal and unfulfilled for the majority of his life so it’s no surprise that he ended his life rather quickly by shooting himself through the heart under a eucalyptus tree.

This is the sixth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

Best wishes

Angela

George Seferis, pen name of Yiorgos Seferiades – Greek poet 1900-1971

He is another renown Greek poet who was an inspiration to Lawrence Durell amongst many others that I have or will talk about at some point. It wasn’t just his poetry that was inspirational though. He studied law in Paris, became a diplomat working for 30 years overseas and translated the works of T S Eliot into Greek.

He was also the first Greek to become a Nobel laureate in 1963 as Angelos Sikelianos and Nikos Kazantzakis were only nominated several times in the 1950’s. The second and last was Odysseus Elytis. As you can see George Seferis knew the right people as he moved in the right circles. He was therefore able to inspire changes in the world due to his wide knowledge of the world at that time.

This is why he is one of the more famous Greek poets of recent times. Upon reading his poetry you realise why he deserves that fame. His poetry is so easy to read in English as I happily read 70 pages worth in quite a short period of time. It’s evocative and succinct which is why the Greek language is so good for poetry.

The King of Asini is a poem that includes Greek and references to the Iliad. It’s in both my massive anthology of Greek poems that I have in the UK of which is shown in the pictures and previous posts as well as in the specific George Serefis book that is the initial picture that I have in Greece.

It is not the only poem that references the Odyssey as “Helen” starts off as a play with words from Euripides and then continues as a poem. It’s a what if imagining if simply the idea of Helen started the war for Troy.

George Seferis likes to reference the Odyssey as I found another poem in my Complete poem book that I liked and I’m going to share it with you.

Here below is a poem that contains a word rarely used and since I love words it warranted inclusion.

I included this poem “Last stop” as it includes a word I’ve never seen before and it might be an explanation for why Americans call there children abcde- abecedary.

An abecedarium is a writing exercise that practices all the letters mostly in alphabetical order like when you see cross stitch samplers or you write “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” because that sentence uses all the letters of the Latin English alphabet. For more information and for other languages see here Abecedary. (Thanks wiki).

He was an outspoken critic of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus as he was both born in Smyrna which was then Turkey and he had a deep love of Cyprus itself. He unfortunately didn’t live to to see the end of the junta as it’s been called so his funeral was a protest against this. It was very well attended as the people wanted to make a statement. I mention this in my Angelos Sikelianos article too as he was the main instigator here.

Here is the personal details of his life from Wikipedia George Serferis. For a more authentic viewpoint here is a native that’s been able to research even more than I have.https://greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/george-seferis/

This is the fifth post in the series of Greek primarily Lefkadian poets and authors. The bonus post is from Sententiae Ancientae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Which particular writers inspire you to be your very best?

Best wishes

Angela

Meganisi – A Greek Ionian Island

Meganisi means big island in Greek and it is comparable to all the other Princess Islands as they are locally known. The Princess Islands are so called because of the involvement of Onassis. They comprise Meganisi, Skorpios, Skorpidi and Sparti. These are not to be confused with the Prince Islands which are a group of 9 small islands off the coast of Turkey. (Thankyou Google for this).

Ancient History

Meganisi was said to be Krocylea from the Odyssey by Wilhelm Dörpfeld who will be discussed in another article as he made many important evacuations in this area.

Recent history

Papanikolis Cave is famous in this area for its sheer size and breathtaking natural beauty. All of the boat trips from Nidri harbour take you past it as it’s such a unique feature. The legend talks about a World War 2 submarine the “Papanikolis” from which the cave takes its name hiding out here after engaging in battle with the Italians. If you wish to know more about incident read all about it on the Wikipedia page Papanikolis Submarine.

The Olive Oil museum above shows the process that they used to have to go through to extract the oil from the olives. It’s a big mill stone that has to grind the olives to a pulp. The olive harvest takes place every November so the production was always a winter activity when there was less to do elsewhere. The mill is now preserved as a tourist attraction.

Meganisi also hosts the tourists for a traditional dance evening. This is where the ladies are invited to try to repeat what “Mama” did when she was younger. This is to carry the water up from the harbour side to the village of Spartahori on the hill by way of balancing the container on your head and walking a few steps.

(C)Hori [χωρι] is the Greek word for village which you will come across in lots of names like Neohori on Lefkás is New village or Katohori also in Lefkás is Under village. The c sound doesn’t exist in Greek hence it is sometimes represented as above.

“Mama” had to do this a couple of times a day but I have no idea how she managed as nobody ever completes the challenge. Even with the incentive of a bottle for the winner. You are also taught some traditional dance steps. One is for the women which can be done regardless of age or ability and one for the men. It’s a very enjoyable evening with food laid on too. The performance of the dances is spectacular.

More recent history

This is not a war memorial which it appears to be at first but a dedication to a 25 year old coastguard Marinos Zampelios who lost his life battling at sea. There are the same memorials in Corfu (Thankyou internet) where this actually happened. If you believe the Golden Dawn website and I wouldn’t because there so heavily biased it’s unbelievable; “He died preventing Albanian scum from conducting drug wars here.” That language in itself tells you that is not what happened at all but due to lack of other sources I can’t tell you what did happen. It’s quite a shocking event though on an island that only has 3 villages, Spartochori, Vathy as will be mentioned later and Katomeri which has practically no facilities. The entire population of the island is roughly 1 thousand.

Here is a picture of a nice bell tower after that scandalous paragraph to lighten the mood once more.

Sailing

Meganisi is also good for the sailors as they come into Vathy harbour and there are a couple of restaurants here.

(Βάθη) Vathy is another one of those brilliantly named places as it means depth and it most certainly has a deep harbour. It’s always filled to the brim with sailing boats.

Again the spelling is different because beta is a v sound in reality so vita.

I have been on a sailing boat many times to the harbour and have eaten there too. There is a nearby bay that is known as “No Name Bay” and this is where we would stop to swim. There are lots of little bays and inlets here that offer the opportunity to sample unparalleled views without the need to go ashore.

However, if you wish a sojourn on the island; the ferry comes across from Nidri on a regular basis. This allows you to visit without the need to have friends with a boat. Or to go on the Odyssey which is how I have visited in the past. Along with the Ionian Star. Many other commercial boats ply the waters here too so you have quite a pick of transportation.

Are there any relatively unknown corners that are near where you live?

Best wishes

Angela

Saints associated with Lefkás, their churches and shrines

Lefkáda – Panagia Fanoroemeni Monastery (the Virgin Mary) is revealed on August 15th. There are many churches with the same name with the most famous in Cyprus thanks again Google. There is a monastery for her on Lefkás about 3km from Lefkás town. It includes a religious history museum, maritime museum and a zoo. The Venetians had some input to the architectural structure too. This is why it’s the best looking, most well maintained and well known monastery on the island. I am yet to visit this place but you can see many pictures online and on the Wikipedia article there is some info Lefkás but best check elsewhere as it’s rather lacking.

Lefkás town – Santa Maura 3rd May. There is a fort dedicated to her at the top most point of the island. I haven’t visited her either as it was closed the day I wanted to go.

Nidri When they have weddings here it is traditional to honk your horn all the way through the village until they get home which can be quite some distance. It is a very noisy affair as the horn is sounded whenever they feel like it so about every couple of minutes. This is every vehicle in the procession so it can be a cacophony of noise. Just like the Easter celebrations except more vibrant as this is early evening instead of midnight.

White church – This is the church on the top of the island that everyone sees and sometimes they have weddings up here. The panoramic views across the entire area are phenomenal.

Sappho’s leap – St Nicholas the patron saint of Fishermen. St Nicolas 19th December.

Geni – Kiriaki 7th July Agia Kyriaki

This is the shrine below dedicated to her and the church that is nearby. I’ve been inside too for a lovely christening but I didn’t take any pictures as there were 2 professional photographers but I don’t know if I’ll ever see the photos of that event.

As you can see I have visited some areas and not others due to there location.

Do you have any special saints that you worship where you are?

Best wishes

Angela

Pavlos Santorinis

Pavlos Santorinis

https://greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/pavlos-santorinis/
— Read on greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/pavlos-santorinis/

This man has achieved so much that his work deserves to be promoted more.

He is the first part of my Famous Greeks series.

Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Eglouvi and the lentil festival

This happens every August around the 7th. Eglouvi means encased which makes total sense when you visit the village as it’s down in a valley surrounded by hill on all sides. The lentils are well known for there unique creamy texture.

The Greeks love their food as you all know so an excuse to celebrate it is always a good idea. There exported all over the world.

I unfortunately haven’t attended this festival because neither me nor my husband drive and it’s been years since we visited in August. It’s a bit too crowded with what seems like the entirety of Italy and Greece’s admin service visiting on their month off.

This village doesn’t appear to have a Wikipedia article as it’s so small but there are other tourist websites out there that will tell you about previous ones.

Do you have any special foods and ceremonies in your country that we should know about?

I like making series and connecting my posts together so that they make sense to you the viewer and reader. This is part of my rural Lefkás village series.

Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Karia

Best wishes

Angela

Karia and it’s heritage museum

This is a small village well known for its embroidery. It has a style unique to Lefkás invented by a lady called Maria Standraka who was unable to stitch in the normal way due to an acquired disability. She came to be known as a Koutsochero because of that disability. Not to be defeated by this obstacle she came up with the Karsaniko style. There are samples of her work displayed inside for you to admire. Ladies here to this day practice it but it is a dying art I believe due to the age of the practitioners. However it’s being kept alive in the internet age by there being a video on YouTube and images on Pinterest. So all is not lost here just yet.

This is similar to the article that I wrote on Eva Palmer Sikelianos who practised weaving and the art of making all of your own clothes by loom.

I haven’t managed to view this yet but I’ve passed by it many times even eating in the village itself. It is well known for its rugs. The Wikipedia article isn’t very helpful here as it makes no mention of anything I have said in this post. Karia.

Do you have any unique artisanal workmen and women in your cultural history?

I like making series and connecting my posts together so that they make sense to you the viewer and reader. This is the first part of my rural Lefkás village series.

Eglouvi

Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

She was born in New York, emigrated to Paris and here she met her future husband Angelos Sikelianos . She then became his wife and moved to Lefkás to live there and learnt weaving of which there are examples of in the museum.

She in fact had learnt this much earlier but she learnt the traditional styles endemic to Lefkás while she lived there.

While reading this post you will have to remember that like all good poets and artists; they like their life to be presented in a certain way which is not necessarily the truth. They have employed artistic license or spin as we might call it now to how there life is displayed for prosperity. As politicians say never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

There is also an element of historical correction/heavy censorship involved to make there lives fit in with what we now deem appropriate for that era. In short they miss out a lot of their social lives because they wish to be remembered purely for their artistic endeavors.

She (Eva), famously said after visiting her ailing mother “I decided that I would never ever wear another thing made by a machine again!” She then proceeds to throw a trunk full of couture clothing from Paris out of the train window.

In truth, she had abandoned wearing western dress long before this moment and it was only her mother that caused her to occasionally wear it so that she would not upset her anymore.

She was also friends with Nikos Kazantzis and George Serefis. Angelos and Eva lived together in a house in the south of Lefkás as well as the one in Lefkás town that houses the museum you see above.

She was responsible along with her husband for the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals but these were to prove the undoing of the couple as the economic cost was too great.

She also helped to revive and prevent the loss of some of the weaving techniques for her clothing. She taught them to Angelos’s second wife Anna Karameni when she was finally able to return to Lefkás just before her death in 1952. Anna lived to be over a 100 dying in 2006.

This museum is more a testament to the Sikelianos family and Anna rather than an accurate portrayal of the lives of Eva and Angelos as it’s so heavily edited. They didn’t live virtuous lives either of them. It’s probably why there is no museum to Byron that I can think yet he is memorialized everywhere. The Greek memory is highly selective and hypocritical given what we know about the sex lives of classical Greeks.

For some more personal details which are extremely lacking in the museum visit here – Eva Palmer Sikelianos. Or if you want an uncensored version from her point of view as opposed to the Greek masculine dominant view that is presented here read or listen to Eva Palmer-Sikelianos-A Life in Ruins.

After listening to the above book I really felt the need to edit this article as previously it only provided one side of the story. So I felt the heavy bias needed to be corrected. This is despite the fact the museum takes up the entirety of the 3 story house it’s contained in.

She is part of my foreigners who helped Greece series:-

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Do you have any notable power couples from the past in your country?

Best wishes

Angela

Celebrating your name day

Name day talk

https://youtu.be/bVXgLjvcbLc

An important part of Greek culture is the church. So celebrating your name day or saints day is another way to show appreciation for the days gone by. It’s not so important nowadays but the tradition continues. Mine is March 25th but I’ve never celebrated it because it’s too early in the year and I’m never in Greece then.

Do you have any unique celebrations like this in your country?

Best wishes

Angela

Mikis Theodorakis

Since he is such an influential figure in Greek musical history I decided he needed his own post. Here is the link to the Rebetika post that I did earlier which inspired this.

Mikis Theodorakis wrote the musical score for the most famous Greek movie Zorba the Greek and as soon as you hear it you know what it is. For those that don’t know it’s called Syrtaki and it’s based on old Cretan dances. It’s that kind of recognition that Mikros Theodorakis has that makes him such a legend.

He has the most extraordinary collection of music, theatre productions, books, ballets, film scores and operas that he was coordinated on with such famous names as Angelos Sikelianos and Nikos Kazantzakis leading there expertise to assist him. I could go on but then this article would never end.

His personal details are here Mikis Theodorakis.

It seems to me that these series of posts are documenting the history of British involvement in Greece during the 1930’s and afterwards. I am featuring all the major players and since this is a critical part of Greece’s history just after the war of independence in 1922; it’s rather fitting as all of my interests are coming together. Literature, language, history, culture, the arts.

Yes you could say I have slight bourgeois tastes in things. Except my interest in Russian things but Greece and Russia are more connected than most people realise due to shared religious history, language and culture.

As a result of that idea I have decided to allow my hyper connected brain to link everything together to its heart’s content. Yes its a bit of a mixed metaphor but it brings colour into my writing I believe.

Mikros Theodorakis is part of the Music and Musicians series.

The music of Ancient Greece

Rebetika

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

6th Baron, Lord (George Gordon) Byron 1788-1824 English poet

By T Philips in English National Gallery
By T Philips, English National Gallery

No article on Brits that had an interest in Greek matters would be complete without a reference to Lord Byron. He assisted greatly with the Greek war of independence by financing a lot of it and is buried at Missolonghi, Greece after he became ill while living there.

He was another flamboyant, eccentric English gentleman who travelled widely, wrote romantic poetry and was a bit of a dandy. He also indulged in all manner of sexual pursuits. This was pretty standard behaviour for an aristocrat in the 19th century. He lived fast and died young at only 36. There are many busts and statues across Greece dedicated to him and there are also many streets bearing his name like here in Lefkás.

Now that the introduction is over, time for the real information.

Byron first visited Greece in his Balkan tour for his coming of age tour starting in 1809. He met the most important man in the area at the time, Ali Pascha first in Albania. He had journeyed from Ioannina or Janinina as he writes via Missolonghi, Delphi, Parnassus and Patras finally to Athens. He left in March to visit Smyrna for a month and then continued on to Constantinople. He next sojourn was to Troy. By this time it was May and warm enough for him to swim the Hellespont.

Byron had by this point fallen in love with Greece as he abandoned his well made and intentioned plans to visit Persia and India to return to Athens. He even left his traveling companion who wished to return home to England. Byron was to spend the next year touring the country, staying in a monastery at the foot of the Acropolis or studying Italian and Greek. By November he had arrived in Preveza.

When in the Spring of 1811 he left to visit Malta he was filled with a great sadness and a great many STD’s as he had rather overindulged in all manner of sexual escapades. Within 3 months he had returned to the UK.

Here is the Wikipedia article on his personal life Lord Byron.

He is the fourth part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

  1. Lawrence Durrell
  1. Virginia Woolf
  1. Henry Miller

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Henry Miller

He was friends with Lawrence Durrell and an inspiration to him. They had a life long friendship upon meeting and he was also another prolific writer. He wrote novels, poetry and plays of the slightly scandalous variety. At least by 1930’s standards anyway.

His most famous works are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and The Colossus of Maroussi which was written about the couple of years he spent in Greece with Lawrence Durrell in the 1930’s.

I haven’t actually read any of his work nor do I have any copies of it. However for a man who had to publish in France because his work was banned in the USA and England until at least the 1960’s due to the provocative content. With some not even being published until after his death in 1980; this isn’t surprising. His work isn’t in circulation as much due to its risqué content and his first novel has never been published.

For details by someone who is more familiar with his work read Cristian Milai’s article here Henry Miller.

Here are the details of Miller’s personal life.Henry Miller.

He is part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Virginia Woolf

She was a well known society lady who was well connected and widely read. She also wrote many books. She fought for the right of ladies to study Greek as previously this was a subject that only men were able to study. It was thought not right that women should be so educated as they wouldn’t know there proper place in the world. A very patriarchal attitude that was extraordinarily prevalent in the Victorian era.

Victoria Woolf was flamboyant in the way that only the landed gentry could be in those days. She also indulged in various sexual aspects which may be why she was interested in Sappho. She was said to be a lesbian also but who knows. She did come from the island of Lesbos (sometimes now known as mytliene) though and she apparently died on the island of Lefkáda hence there is a place called Sappho’s leap here.

Here is her Wikipedia article for the background details of her life. Virginia Woolf.

  • This is a new series I have started on writers who have an interest or have written about Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Are there are any similarly notorious characters in your culture that you can think of?

Best wishes

Angela

Lawrence Durrell

I have already written about the Durrell’s TV series featuring Lawrence and his family mother Louisa, brother Gerald, sister Margo, and brother Leslie here.

Since Lawrence was a prolific writer through out his life I thought he desired a post all of his own. His personal website is here Lawrence Durrell.

I have read parts of Bitter Lemons of Cyprus and I just love the peek into the world of yesterday. The language he uses is phenomenal. Yes some of the terms are now dated and obscure but if you ever needed an education in the English language you couldn’t go wrong by borrowing a few of his terms. You may sound archaic but there is always a time and a place for formal English.

Lawrence lived and worked all over the world during his life so he wrote about the lives and environment of where ever he happened to be with great authenticity. He spoke Greek which greatly assisted with his integration as there were no learning resources in those days and the locals most certainly would not have known English.

His works of which I have some start with Prospero’s Cell which is an account of his life in Corfu. It also includes more well known work such as the Alexandria Quartet based in Alexandria Egypt which links in with C F Cavafy as they knew each other. He even features him in some of his work.

The Avignon quartet is written in the same manner about his travels in France. We are now coming to the works that I know little about having just read about them for the purposes of this post but I will eventually get around to reading them.

His continued employment with the British Foreign Service meant that a posting to Rhodes enabled him to write Reflections on a Marine Venus.

Another assignment to Belgrade allowed him to publish The White Eagles over Serbia.

A bit further along in time he makes a Sicilician Carousel about the aforementioned island. He also comes up with the Greek islands.

So it’s a real journey around the Mediterranean from the birds eye view of an English subject. This was before everyone was required to learn English for business purposes and the days of widespread tourism. So you get to see what the culture was like before the traditional values got watered down with western values.

For more details about his personal life you can read his Wikipedia article Lawrence Durrell.

This is a new series I have started on writers who have an interest or have written about Greece.

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Have you ever wanted to live in an previous era to see what life was really like then?

Best wishes

Angela

More Greek Easter traditions

The egg is a vital part of the celebrations here for it is dyed red to represent the blood of Christ (Kokkino Auga), the egg itself represents rebirth as it’s the continuation of the chickens life but also it gives you vital nutrients that you have been missing out on while you have been fasting (Sarakosti-a shortened form of 40 days). Tsougrisma – The cracking of the egg represents the emergence of Jesus Christ from the tomb that he was sealed in when he died. It also shows that one champion always emerges from the struggles of many. I like the highly symbolic nature of the traditions here. They have lost there meaning in the UK. Who for instance knows why we roll eggs down a hill?

The other tradition here is the breaking of pots to stop death from re-entering the house. It’s why the Greeks break plates at celebrations too. It’s a way of casting out the evil that is around like carrying the eye to prevent bad things from happening to you. You can also have the eye (mati or matia for 2) on stones that you place on each floor to bring you luck. There are a lot of superstitions in Greece as you can expect. Also there are the kolumboi – worry beads which are bracelets that are commonly worn and playing with the beads helps to ease your troubled mind.

There are many wishes too that are said on the different days depending on the progress of Jesus but these are not quite so prevalent this year. There is good resurrection – Kalo Anesti, Christos Anesti – Christ has risen and Alithos Anesti – truly his has. You can always say Kronia Polla – many happy returns/years for every occasion.

Soon we will have the Mayday celebrations (first of May) when they all go camping. Also you get to say Kalo Mina – happy (new) month, Kalo enthomanda – happy (new) week and Kali spera – happy (new) day. Not forgetting that the weekend just gone would be Kalo sabbatokriaki – happy weekend or if you doing text speak happy SK. ( literally Saturday/Sunday). Depending on when Easter fell you might also come across Kalo Anoixe – happy spring as that’s to welcome in the season. It’s also the word for open as the world is opening itself for life to resume once more. Although this is mainly a March wish you can get early Easter’s. While we are on the subject of wishes I may as well complete the set by saying you can say Kalo Martias – Happy March or Kalo Aprilias – Happy April but these are less commonly seen and heard as there specific.

It’s odd Easter continues until the Monday, they go back to work on Tuesday and then Wednesday there off again as it’s a bank holiday. They always celebrate on the day here not like in the UK where it’s always the Monday.

The one thing that was done in the UK but not here is the wearing of the Easter bonnet. It’s certainly too hot here at the minute but some years it can be quite cold so it would be suitable weather wise.

Na’ste Kala kai Kalo Pascha. (Be Well and Happy Easter. )

Angela

Rebetika – Traditional Greek music from the 1920’s onwards

1920’s Turkish style Rebetika is most famously sung and played by Mikis Theodorakis. His music is often referenced in Victoria Hislop books (my effort is here A life of Halcyon Days) as there set in either the same era or afterwards as he has had such an influence on the music of the area. It’s often comprised of guitars and bouzouki. Sometimes containing bouzoukia which are smaller versions as well. Literature from the period details very little from the musical point of view. Even in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin there isn’t much about this. The mandolin must be only in Corfu as I’ve never seen one here Lefkás before. I’ve also not come across mention of the music in the books I’ve read about the Durells family. I think Gerry was too interested in his animals and although Lawrence was interested in a great many things, it doesn’t seem that music was one of those.

I got a bilingual book on this subject as shown above. So it was good for me to learn about this evocative style of music that has been so influential on Greek culture. Rebetika has changed so much over the years through the many musicians that have practiced it. The instruments changed into electronic versions, the venues changed drastically as did the clientele and the amount of money that could be made improved significantly. However, all things have there dips also and many rebirths mean that the style will always evolve to suit its circumstances. Sometimes simpler and covert, other times flashy and ostentatious.

For a taste of even older Greek music see here Ancient Greek music.

This is part of my series on Greek music and musicians.

Mikis Theodorakis

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Do you have any similar styles of music in your country?

Best wishes

Angela

Sententiae Antiquae

Here is a list of SA posts that I have previously shared and since they generally have good posts I frequently get tempted to share them.

Lyric, love and translation

The first is an ancient Lefkás poet Sappho and the only woman too unless you count the wife of Angelos Sikelianos, Eva. For my series on Lefkadian poets check here :-

Aristotle Valaoritis ,

C F Cavafy,

Angelos Sikelianos,

Lefkadia Hearn.

Formal and informal language

An article on different styles of writing and why you might perhaps want to use one over the other.

The pleasure of reading

Why you should indulge in this hobby.

Best wishes

Angela

Panos Karnezis

Author of the Maze, the Birthday Party and Little Infamies. He has also written the Fugitives and the Convent. Here is the Wikipedia article on himself Panos Karnezis

I was reading the maze on a cruise I was on last year and I was tempted to nick it since there were two copied but I was good and bought myself a copy off Amazon when I got home. It’s always good to support authors since they put so much effort into their work. It’s there livelihood and we need them to maintain their creative focus so that they can continue to entertain us with their words.

The Maze is a book about the Ottoman war and it’s very evocative of an era that was in the recent past but most of us don’t really know what it was like because we weren’t alive then. I love the way he draws you in so you can’t put the book down and you just want to continue reading one more page!

I have previously read Little Infamies and it had the same effort on me. This might be a little more fictional but it’s still based in reality and those stories still could happen today.

The Birthday Party is set in time of Aristotle Onassis but I haven’t read that one yet. It’s probably just as good as the others given the standard of the previous books.

The Convent I have just found out about by researching for this article and it’s set in a Spanish nuns convent. I think this will be quite different to the other books so it will be intriguing to see how this one plays out.

The Fugitives is another I was unaware of and it takes places in South America. It again has quite a religious lean to it by dealing with Catholic’s but it is a big part of life over there so I think he will do the themes in the novel justice.

Are you the type of person like me who when you find an author you like, devour everything that they have written as quick as possible?

This is the second post in my Greek author series.

Nikos Kazantzakis

Other series include Greek poets, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways.Series links

Best wishes

Angela

Nikos Kazantzakis – Zorba the Greek

He is the author of Zorba the Greek the most famous Greek movie. It has spawned many restaurants of this name and for most people this is in fact all they know about modern Greek culture.

For those that don’t know this is based on a book. It’s an amazing book that puts the movie into the shade. While the movie is very good when you have read the book you can see how much has been missed out a bit like with the LOTRs trilogy.

The prose, philosophy and humour that he injects into his main character Alexis Zorba is astounding. I have a feeling I’ve written this before but a little deja vu is ok here. He makes a very good counterpart to show how much you can know about the world in terms of academic learning yet know nothing about what matters in life. He makes it his mission to teach his rather staid English companion how to loosen up and enjoy life. It’s a rather entertaining jaunt throughout the story learning about the adventures that they get up to together. They make a great partnership and there is also a purpose that they fulfil. I adore the insight into Greek culture and history that you get from this story. I don’t want to repeat myself too much but this really is a must read book.

He has also written many other books but they are not quite as well known so are more difficult to get hold of. I have some of them, but I haven’t read them yet so I can’t comment on there content. I believe they will be just as good.

  • Christ Recrucified
  • Captain Michalis
  • The last Temptation of Christ
  • Freedom and Death
  • This is a sampling of the works that are usually available. Try Amazon if you can’t find him in your local bookstore.

Here is the Wikipedia article on him if you want some background in his life. Nikos Kazantzakis. If you want even more info go here Nikos Kazantzakis.

He ties in nicely with my series on Greek (mainly Lefkadian) poets as he happened to have not only met Angelos Sikelianos, but the 2 became great friends along with Angelos’s wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos.

This is the first post in the Greek author series.

Panos Kanezis

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Do you have any favourite novelists?

Best wishes

Angela