Musical Nationalism, Despotism and Scholarly Interventions in Greek Popular Music
This book discusses the relationship between Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical music and laiko (popular) song in Greece. Laiko music was long considered a lesser form of music in Greece, with rural folk music considered serious enough to carry the weight of the ideologies founded within the establishment of the contemporary Greek state. During the 1940s and 1950s, a selective exoneration of urban popular music took place, one of its most popular cases being the originating relationships between two extremely popular musical pieces: Vasilis Tsitsanis's “Synnefiasmeni Kyriaki” (Cloudy Sunday) and its descent from the hymn “Ti Ypermacho” (The Akathist Hymn). During this period the connection of these two pieces was forged in the Modern Greek conscience, led by certain key figures in the authority system of the scholarly world. Through analysis of these pieces and the surrounding contexts, Ordoulidis explores the changing role and perception of popular music in Greece.
“Scholars of popular music have long been in search of its historical longue durée, the path along which multiple repertories, styles and social practices have converged over time, from diverse origins in the past to the sonorous cosmopolitanism of the present. Nikos Ordoulidis takes readers on a journey across this historical landscape in Greece, navigating a complex of distinctively Greek popular musics, those that fill the ecclesiastical worlds of the Orthodox Church and the national politics immanent in secular laiko music. Ordoulidis deftly weaves together analytical details from the songs themselves with his own captivating scholarly engagement.”
―Philip V. Bohlman, Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish History and Music, the University of Chicago, USA
“Ordoulidis, a scholar-performer, rejects both the neoclassical and the medievalist versions of musical ethno-nationalism. He shows here how attempts to forge a Byzantine genealogy for a famous popular Greek song distort the realities of musical creativity. This book is an original and critical contribution to cultural historiography.”
―Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Research Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University, USA
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