Music of Cyprus

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Flute from Cyprus Recorder from Cyprus.jpg
Flute from Cyprus

The music of Cyprus includes a variety of traditional, Western classical and Western popular genres. Cypriot traditional music is similar to the traditional music of Greece and Turkey it includes dances like sousta, syrtos, ballos, tatsia, antikristos, Karotseris and zeimbekiko.

Greek folk music

Greek folk music includes a variety of Greek styles played by ethnic Greeks in Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States and elsewhere. Apart from the common music found all-around Greece, there are distinct types of folk music, sometimes related to the history or simply the taste of the specific places.

Turkey Republic in Western Asia

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located mainly in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, located in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Greece and Bulgaria to its northwest; Georgia to its northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. Istanbul is the largest city, but more central Ankara is the capital. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority; the size of the Kurdish population is a subject of dispute with estimates placing the figure at anywhere from 12 to 25 per cent of the population.

Sousta

Sousta is the name of a folk dance in Cyprus and Crete which is danced in Greece and generally in the Balkans. The music is generally played with a lyre, laouto, and mandolin.

Contents

History

Cypriot terracotta figurine, 750-600 BC, depicting a double aulos player and two dancers. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Reigentanz KHM V 1172.jpg
Cypriot terracotta figurine, 750–600 BC, depicting a double aulos player and two dancers. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Medieval music

Cyprus changed hands numerous times prior to the medieval era, and was an important outpost of Christianity and Western European civilization during the Crusades. The island's peak as a cultural capital of Europe occurred from 1359 to 1432. During that peak, Pierre I de Lusignan made a three-year tour on Europe, bringing with him an entourage of musicians that impressed Charles V in Rheims so much that he donated 80 francs in gold to them. On his return to Cyprus, Pierre I brought with him the French Ars Nova and, later, the Ars Subtilior. French musicians became well established in Cyprus, and the city of Nicosia became a capital of the Ars Subtilior style. Janus I de Lusignan saw Cypriot music evolve into its own variety of music. His daughter, Anne de Lusignan, brought a manuscript after her marriage to Louis, Count of Geneva, which contained 159 folios with over two hundred polyphonic compositions, both sacred and secular. The manuscript is now a part of the collection of the National Library of Turin.

Cyprus Island country in Mediterranean

Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

Western culture Norms, values and political systems originating in Europe

Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, and European civilization, is the heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, artifacts and technologies that originated in or are associated with Europe. The term also applies beyond Europe to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonization, or influence. For example, Western culture includes countries in the Americas and Australasia, whose language and demographic ethnicity majorities are European. Western culture has its roots in Greco-Roman culture from classical antiquity.

Renaissance music

A key-figure of that era was Ieronimos o Tragodistis (Hieronymus the Cantor), a Cypriot student of Gioseffo Zarlino, who flourished around 1550-1560 and, among others, proposed a system that enabled medieval Byzantine chant to correspond to the current contrapuntal practices via the cantus.

Gioseffo Zarlino Italian composer

Gioseffo Zarlino was an Italian music theorist and composer of the Renaissance. He was possibly the most famous European music theorist between Aristoxenus and Rameau, and made a large contribution to the theory of counterpoint as well as to musical tuning.

Byzantine music

Different types of Laoutos, dominant instrument of the Cypriot traditional music. Laghouto.jpg
Different types of Laoutos, dominant instrument of the Cypriot traditional music.

The music of the island is influenced also by the Byzantine music. Athanasios Demetriadis, also known as Kasavetis, was a Cypriot deacon in Constantinople when Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was his uncle Yerasimos (1794–1797). A secular song lamenting Death's preference for the young, written and set to music by him survives in a collection by Nikiforos Naftouniaris. Chrysanthos of Madytos, Gregory the Protopsaltes, and Chourmouzios the Archivist were responsible for a reform of the notation of Greek ecclesiastical music. Essentially, this work consisted of a simplification of the Byzantine musical symbols which, by the early 19th century, had become so complex and technical that only highly skilled chanters were able to interpret them correctly.

Byzantine music Music in the tradition of the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine music is the music of the Byzantine Empire. Originally it consisted of songs and hymns composed to Greek texts used for courtly ceremonials, during festivals, or as paraliturgical and liturgical music. The ecclesiastical forms of Byzantine music are the best known forms today, because different Orthodox traditions still identify with the heritage of Byzantine music, when their cantors sing monodic chant out of the traditional chant books such as sticherarion, which in fact consisted of five books, and the heirmologion. Byzantine music did not disappear after the fall of Constantinople. Its traditions continued under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 was granted administrative responsibilities over all Orthodox Christians. During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, burgeoning splinter nations in the Balkans declared autonomy or "autocephaly" against the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The new self-declared patriarchates were independent nations defined by their religion. In this context, Christian religious chant practiced in the Ottoman empire, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece among other nations, was based on the historical roots of the art tracing back to the Byzantine Empire, while the music of the Patriarchate created during the Ottoman period was often regarded as "post-Byzantine". This explains why Byzantine music refers to several Orthodox Christian chant traditions of the Mediterranean and of the Caucasus practiced in recent history and even today, and this article cannot be limited to the music culture of the Byzantine past.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople position

The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. He is widely regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.

Recent and current music scenes

Traditional music

Traditional music on Cyprus is similar to the traditional music of Greece and includes dances like the tatsia, sousta, syrtos, ballos, zeibekiko, karotseris and the karsilama suites. Note that unlike Greece and Turkey, there are suites of four karsilama dances, different for men and women, some of them other than the standard 9/8 rhythm. Traditional Cypriot music similar to Greek and Turkish traditional music is modal, based on the musical systems of the Byzantine echos / Turkish makam. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots use the violin as the main solo instrument, accompanied by the lute. The tamboutsia and the pithkiavlin are also used. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the davul and the zurna (daouli and zournas in Greek) were used by both communities (although mostly by Turkish Cypriots) in village festivals and weddings, but these instruments were later excluded from the Greek Cypriot soundscape. Another instrument that was played earlier in Cyprus was tambouras, which is known in Greece as ‘pandoura’ or ‘trichordo’ (a three-stringed instrument). Notable performers of Greek Cypriot folk music include singers Theodoulos Kallinikos, Michalis Tterlikkas, Christos Sikkis, Michalis Hadjimichail and Ilias Kouloumis. A niche artist of traditional music is Gianni Delfinogamis, a champion of many tshiatísta (Cypriot Greek: τσιατίστα, "spite [song]") competitions. The tsiatísta is improvised antiphonal singing akin to the Cretan mantinada, with satirical and comedic intent, usually performed between friends or relatives poking fun at each other. Greek-Cypriot folk music is most closely related to the Nisiotika (the folk music of the Aegean Islands) and especially so to the music of the Dodecanese. The traditional music of Cyprus is also greatly influenced from the music of the Greeks of Asia Minor.

Tatsia ("sieve") is a Cypriot traditional dance, performed with a sieve.

Syrtos Group of Greek folk dances

Syrtos is, in classical and modern Greece: a folk dance in which the dancers link hands to form a chain or circle, headed by a leader who intermittently breaks away to perform improvised steps.

Ballos dance of the greek islands

The Ballos Sirtos is a Greek folk island dance from Greece. There are also different versions in other Balkan countries.

Attempts to either popularize or fuse traditional music with other genres have taken place since the 1970s. For example, the famous singer and composer, in Cyprus and Greece, of traditional Cypriot and popular music is Mihalis Violaris. Another example includes Monsieur Doumani, a Cypriot band from Nicosia which focuses on developing Cypriot traditional music and reworking traditional Cypriot folk songs. [1]

Monsieur Doumani

Monsieur Doumani is a three-piece Cypriot band formed in Nicosia in 2011, nominated three times for "Best Group" in the Songlines Music Awards. Monsieur Doumani have performed in major festivals and venues in Europe, including WOMAD Charlton Park 2014, Konzerthaus Vienna, Rudolstadt-Festival, FMM Sines Festival Músicas do Mundo etc.

Nicosia City

Nicosia is the largest city, capital, and seat of government of the island of Cyprus. It is located near the centre of the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos.

Classical music

The Republic of Cyprus has its own symphony orchestra, the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, a professional, full-time symphonic orchestra which was established in 1987 (as the Cyprus Chamber Orchestra) along with the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra and its music school which provides education and musical training to young musicians of all levels. These institutions are under the umbrella of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation which is fully subsidised and supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. [2] [3]

Cypriot musicians and performers of classical music include the pianists Cyprien Katsaris and Martino Tirimo and the pianist and musicologist Solon Hadjisolomos.

Notable composers include:

Rock and heavy metal music

First era: 1970s to 1990s

The history of Cyprus' rock and heavy metal music begins a few years after the war of 1974, during the late 1970s. This period is known as the First Rock Era of Cyprus. One of the pioneers of the rock/metal scene in Cyprus is Kim Nicolaou founder of the band known as Kimstyle TR (TR standing for Teenage Revolution). This band was the first to bring and introduce live rock shows to the Island. The band's first pop/rock single was called "The Lady & The Parrot" which was so ahead of its time, for the standards of Greece and Cyprus, that the lyrics were found offensive; therefore, it was banned by CyBC TV and copies of the single were burnt by the customs authorities. This spawned many teenagers to start forming bands & that brought competitions amongst them in the movie theatres. Kimstyle and Kim Nicolaou's Rock & Reggae show (first of its kind broadcast by CyBC), who later influenced the group Armageddon in the mid-1980s, with their traditional heavy metal sound are considered to have taken rock music on the Island one step further. The longest-running band to date, they have managed to be synonymous to the Cyprus metal scene throughout the years, with quality releases and a few visits abroad. Nowadays, they have moved more into the progressive side of metal.

In the early 1990s, Godblood started the local Black metal scene, acting firstly as a school-band, and later on continuing with their small record label 'Throne Productions'. They have disbanded and only some can recall some shows they had in Cyprus with bands from the Greek scene like Rotting Christ and an international festival in Israel in the late 1990s. In Heavy/Power metal there were bands of great quality such as Diphtheria and later Arryan Path leading the genre.

There were also a couple of active Thrash metal bands during that era giving great live shows such as Regicide (supporting Epidemic) and then Scotoma . Eventually, the 1990s were a very active period for the scene in general.

After 2000

Some popular rock bands in Cyprus are Akoustikoi Epivates (founded by lead singer Vyronas Poutsos), lopodytes, savvas isovitis(solo singer/guitar), by accident, Katadotes (Καταδότες), Full Volume, Quadraphonic, Johnny & the Liars (Punk/Alternative rock), Maenads, Forty Plus, Triple Jam and Krokes (both are Greek rock bands), Ophiochus (Instrumental Funk/Rock), Isaac's Cello (Psychedelic/experimental).

Active bands, with releases and/or live shows of the 2000s (some appeared also in magazines and websites around the globe): [5]

Progressive rock/metal

Progressive rock is one of the newest genres entering the Cyprus rock music scene, with the only band following this genre and possibly sparking its creation in 2004, Quadraphonic.

Quadraphonic (a.k.a. Q4) is a Progressive rock/metal band that continues to play gigs all over Cyprus. With a wide variety of influences concentrated mainly on Progressive Rock, Funk, Oriental and Metal, this band has created an original type of music, which however has limited following.

World musics

One of the most successful and recognised world music groups in Cyprus is Monsieur Doumani. The group was formed in Nicosia in 2012 and has released two albums, Grippy Grappa (2013) and Sikoses (2015). The band focuses upon the unique character of Cypriot folkloric music, enriching traditional songs with new arrangements, melodies, rhythms and sounds and crafting a style distinctively their own. The band’s music is a blend of the traditional element with modern genres.Their repertoire also includes their own compositions in the Cypriot Greek dialect, which are inspired by contemporary Cypriot society, as for example the recent financial crisis that hit the island and the corrupted political system. Monsieur Doumani was nominated for "Best Newcomer" in Songlines Music Awards 2014 and participated in acclaimed festivals around the globe such as WOMAD Charlton Park [6] 2014, Sommarscen Malmö, Songlines Encounters Festival etc.

Electronic/world music

In 2008 the electronic/world music group Mikros Kosmos ("small world") arrived in Cyprus and recorded their first album in Nicosia. Their first performances presented live remixes for laptop and voice of classic Greek rebetika, with performances at New York City's Golden Festival and elsewhere in the United States. Mikros Kosmos's full-length original album moves away from the classic rebetika with an affection for minimal arrangements and a lyrical abstraction which is uncommon in the history of Greek music.

Festivals

See also

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References

  1. "Breakaplate presents: Monsieur Doumani 'Out-of-touch guy'". Breakaplate. November 11, 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  2. Accessed 15 August 2018.
  3. cyprus-symphony-orchestra-foundation at annalindhfoundation.org Accessed 7 February 2017
  4. ArtsLift.org Archived 2002-11-06 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Encyclopaedia Metallum
  6. "WOMAD Charlton Park 2014". WOMAD. Archived from the original on 2014-11-09. Retrieved 2014-11-09.

Further reading