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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Epirot Folk-Music (an article from 2006)


This is an article which I wrote in 2005. It was first published in The Anglo-Hellenic Review, no 33, Spring 2006, and soon afterwards in my book "Corfu Blues" (Ars Interpres, Stockholm, 2006). Maybe it wasn't too wide of the mark.



Kostis Palamas: A Selection of Poems in Greek



A useful selection online

Kostis Palamas recites "Anatoli"

Anatoli set to music

Batarias

Γεια σου καημένε Μπαταριά
της δοξαριάς τεχνίτη
Γεια σου καημένε Μπαταριά
και αφέντη του βιολιού

Γεια σου καημένε Μπαταριά
Με το βιολί σου ξύπνησες
την λεβεντιά του κόσμου
Η ρωμιοσύνη μια φωτιά
μες το βιολί σου ζει

Γεια σου καημένε Μπαταριά
τρανός είναι ο καημός μου
Γεια σου καημένε Μπαταριά
και πιο τρανός εσύ

Γεια σου καημένε Μπαταριά
Με το βιολί σου ξύπνησες
την λεβεντιά του κόσμου
Η ρωμιοσύνη μια φωτιά
μες το βιολί σου ζει

Πουλιά της λιμνοθάλασσας
μποριάσματα μαϊστράλια
τέτοια φωνή δοξάστε την
και τέτοια δοξαριά


Dighenis, Eleftheria Arvanitaki

Chamber Music Holidays, Corfu; On Foot Holidays, Corfu and the Vikos Gorge



Two equally inspiring and very different types of holiday:

Visit the new Chamber Music Holidays website

Divertimenti in Corfu, July 2014 (an outstanding concert)


Visit the On Foot Holidays Website (Corfu and Vikos Gorge)

A report on Walking the Vikos Gorge

Kostis Palamas, The Twelve Lays of the Gipsy; Κωστής Παλαμάς - Ο Δωδεκάλογος του Γύφτου. Clarinet and Violin



The text of Palamas' poem in Greek

Reading of complete poem in Greek, on YouTube

The Violin Part 1

The Violin Part 2

Some extracts from the fine translation by George Thomson (Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1969) - but note well that Palamas uses the word Zournas (shawm), not klarino or clarinet: Thomson's decision to translate the word as clarinet is misleading.

Canto I

"...they were travellers from afar, who had been on the road
Day and night, year in, year out, for generations,
As though they had lost their way...
A people with no homeland behind them and none ahead.

Players were murmuring unspoken sorrows on their flutes.
From tambourines, trumpets, clarinets they drew torn, tormented notes."

Canto II


"I threw away the hammer, put out the furnace, and picked up a Gipsy clarinet,
And set out from country to country to be seen and heard by all, a strolling player...
all stood before me spoiling for a brawl
And clamouring for my clarinet to accompany the cabaret...


All night festivities, on with the dance!
...A host of demons is milling round the shrill music of my clarinet.
All night festivities, on with the dance...
everywhere the stranger, the spectator,
Round the whirlpool of passion I was the calm;
I was the pure spirit in the midst of confusion....



One day I found myself far from the bustle of the world,
Alone, beside a lake,
Without a companion, alone, myself and I.
I was gazing into the smooth expanse of water
And into the depths of my own being...
It was the great stillness of great Nature, stooping
To give ear to the great secret that had never been heard before.
A sudden temptation seized me to insult that holy silence
With a loud blast from my Gipsy clarinet.
I killed that silence....
I smashed the clarinet and flung it into the road".

Canto VII

"...one thing they never exchange, fruit of misfortune and melancholy.
What they have fashioned out of melody, rhythm and dreams,
That is their language, their unique, mysterious, inalienable possession-
The Gipsy musicians"


Canto IX


"I bent down and found a violin...
A rare, unique, inimitable instrument...
Strike, bow, create!
Between my hands a world is brought to birth-
O what a birth!
... you, my violin, only you exists.
There is only one speech-your voice; only one creator- I;
And the word that works miracles is music...
Bow, cut into the strings like a sword, tear them and rend them to create harmony!
Life is always brought to birth out of the wrestling of bow and string...

...from the sounds around me and the songs of my people
I wove a new music on my Gipsy violin.

And the other gipsies...
They were infuriated.
While I played on, head bent, with my bow-hand
Sweeping, burning, flying, crushing, shaping, blazing, bringing to new birth
On those four strings the blue flower of my fantasy,
Throwing my whole soul, the whole spirit of my people, into that music,-
Men and women, old and young, ran away, refused to listen,
Stopped their ears...
And they said to one another: 'Who is this fiddler,
Who instead of bringing good cheer shocks and outrages us...
Who does not see what we see nor cherish what we cherish,
Who on a happy holiday stands before us like a nightmare,
Traitor, assassin, destroyer of our national genius?
Never before has a Gipsy bow or violin produced such senseless, worthless music".


Canto XII

"Come, Gipsy, with us be first to live that last and loftiest future
On your prophetic violin!"


(Note: Palamas' Gipsy represents the poet, addressing the Greek people).




Another great poem by Palamas: Anatoli

Ἀνατολή

Γιαννιώτικα, σμυρνιώτικα, πολίτικα,
μακρόσυρτα τραγούδια ἀνατολίτικα,
λυπητερά,
πῶς ἡ ψυχή μου σέρνεται μαζί σας!
Εἶναι χυμένη ἀπὸ τὴ μουσική σας
καὶ πάει μὲ τὰ δικά σας τὰ φτερά.

Σᾶς γέννησε καὶ μέσα σας μιλάει
καὶ βογγάει καὶ βαριὰ μοσκοβολάει
μία μάννα· καίει τὸ λάγνο της φιλί,
κ᾿ εἶναι τῆς Μοίρας λάτρισσα καὶ τρέμει,
ψυχὴ ὅλη σάρκα, σκλάβα σὲ χαρέμι,
ἡ λαγγεμένη Ἀνατολή.

Μέσα σας κλαίει τὸ μαῦρο φτωχολόι,
κι ὅλο σας, κ᾿ η χαρά σας, μοιρολόι
πικρὸ κι ἀργό.
Μαῦρος, φτωχὸς καὶ σκλάβος καὶ ἀκαμάτης,
στενόκαρδος, ἀδούλευτος, διαβάτης
μ᾿ ἐσᾶς κ᾿ ἐγώ.

Στὸ γιαλὸ ποὺ τοῦ φύγαν τὰ καΐκια,
καὶ τοῦ μείναν τὰ κρίνα καὶ τὰ φύκια,
στ᾿ ὄνειρο τοῦ πελάου καὶ τ᾿ οὐρανοῦ,
ἄνεργη τὴ ζωὴ νὰ ζοῦσα κ᾿ ἔρμη,
βουβός, χωρὶς καμιᾶς φροντίδας θέρμη,
μὲ τόσο νοῦ,

ὅσος φτάνει σὰ δέντρο γιὰ νὰ στέκει
καὶ καπνιστὴς μὲ τὸν καπνὸ νὰ πλέκω
δαχτυλιδάκια γαλανά·
καὶ κάποτε τὸ στόμα νὰ σαλεύω
κι ἀπάνω του νὰ ξαναζωντανεύει
τὸν καημὸ ποὺ βαριὰ σᾶς τυραννᾷ.

Κι ὅλο ἀρχίζει, γυρίζει, δὲν τελειώνει,
καὶ μία φυλὴ ζῇ μέσα σας καὶ λιώνει.
Καὶ μία ζωὴ δεμένη σπαρταρᾷ,
γιαννιώτικα, σμυρνιώτικα, πολίτικα,
μακρόσυρτα τραγούδια ἀνατολίτικα,
λυπητερά.


And a folk song from the British Isles, The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, O

For more stereotypes, another version

UK: Another IT Fiasco?


Depressing reading in The Times

Jill Sherman Whitehall Editor
August 27 2014

"The country’s biggest IT contract is heading for disaster under plans to split it into 100 parts, putting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at risk, experts have warned.

Leading industry specialists have told The Times that splintering the £10 billion Aspire contract, which holds the tax records of 50 million Britons, will end in chaos, with higher costs and a substantial risk to the economy".

What happened with the Universal Credit IT System? NHS Records? BBC Digital Media Initiative - and a host of other over-ambitious regional and national projects?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Allen Jones, RA: Royal Academy Exhibition, 13 November 2014 - 25 January 2015



This is an exhibition that I certainly plan to see. An essential survey.

Burlington Gardens, 13 November 2014 – 25 January 2015

"Allen Jones’ reputation was established, while still a student at the Royal College of Art in London in the 1960s, as part of a generation of young talented Pop artists. Over the past forty years his work has remained true to the depiction of popular culture, with much of his imagery being drawn from advertising and performance. This exhibition will be a survey of Jones’ work spanning his entire career, including prints, paintings and the iconic figurative sculptures from the late 1960s up to the present day. The exhibition will also seek to demonstrate the enduring place of drawing in Jones’ creative process. His talents as a draughtsman are considerable and although infrequently seen, these drawings underpin every element of his artistic output".

More about Allen Jones, RA


Hat Stand, 1969 
Mixed media, 191 x 108 x 40 cm 
Private collection, London 
Image courtesy the artist , © Allen Jones


Allen Jones RA 
Interesting Journey, 1962 
Oil on canvas, 61 x 51cm 
LONDON, PRIVATE COLLECTION 
c. Allen Jones 
Photo: Private Collection



Allen Jones RA 
Stand In, 1991/2 
Oil on plywood and fibreglass, 185 x 185 x 63 cm 
Banbury, Private Collection 
Image courtesy of the artist 
© Allen Jones


Allen Jones 
First Step, 1966 
Oil on canvas and laminated shelf, 91.5 x 93x 9.1 cm 
Image courtesy of the artist


Allen Jones
Fascinating Rhythm, 1982-3
Enamel on plywood 
205 x 143 x 98 cm 
BANBURY, Private Collection
Image courtesy the artist
© Allen Jones



Allen Jones RA 
Curious Woman, 1965 
Oil, plaster and epoxy resin on wood, 121.9 x 1016 x 20 cm approx 
NEW YORK, Private Collection 
c. Allen Jones 
Image courtesy of the artist