The Peregrinations of a Princess (2022)

Ordoulidis, N. (2021). The Peregrinations of a Princess... Urban Popular Music of the 20th Century in the Network of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the South-Eastern Mediterranean. Recorded Sound Collections Journal, 2, pp. 249–282.


Around June 1936, I Want a Princess by Panagiotis Tountas, was recorded, one of the most emblematic and timeless favourites of the rebetiko tradition. Tountas had recorded it three years earlier, with a different title, different lyrics and a different introduction. The very same melody was recorded in 1910 by Jews in Lithuania, in 1927 in Serbia, even in Romania, America and elsewhere. This article follows the path of this melody in historical discography, focusing on and studying 21 recordings. Through the examination of the discography, an effort is made to construct a model for the more than a few wandering melodies, examining various historical, social, and cultural elements of the places that convey them, in order to highlight the appropriation, from the aspect of the protagonist musicians, but also the open nature of cultural borders.

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