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Greece: Vocal Monodies

Various Artists
Greece: Vocal Monodies

Dimitras Kukas, familiarly known as Barba Mitsos (“Uncle Mitsos”), sang and composed these unaccompanied songs. Born at the end of the 19th century on the island of Syros, Kukas grew up in Mykonos, and until his death in 1980 was one of the last performers of this Greek oral tradition.

While Kukas’ songs are original compositions, he comments,“I keep the tradition of my father and grandfather, who sang this sort of song when I was a child.” Kukas draws upon the traditional distich, or two-line couplet, which is the keystone of Greek oral tradition. The distiches provide a body of pre-constructed formulas—images, comparisons, and adages—which Kukas uses and reworks in his own songs. The songs include essential themes of popular Greek repertoire such as love and sorrow, odes to mother, xenitia (songs for those far from home), and miroloia (funeral songs).

Please enjoy a free download of the song “Ali kaimeni mu kardia”

Ali kaimeni mu kardiaMP3 FLAC

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

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Kimumenos i xipnitos (Whether awake or sleeping) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 5:09
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Apopse then kimithika (This evening I did not sleep) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 2:37
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Ali kaimeni mu kardia (My poor heart) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 2:53
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Sta Salona sfazun arnia (At Salona they are slaughtering sheep) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 2:00
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Me t'ah ke me t'alimono (With "Ah's" and "Alas's") Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 4:50
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Poli anastenazune (Many are those who sigh) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 3:17
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I mana ine paploma (Mother is an eiderdown) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 3:34
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Dioxe me mana (Chase me, Mother) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 4:30
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Pios xeri i agapi mu (Who knows, my love) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 2:52
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Otan pethano (When I die) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 4:07
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K'an kleo me parapono (Even if I weep and moan) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 2:59
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Sikosu epano Yanno mu (Get up, my Yannos) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 1:59
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To mnima mu na khtisete (Build my tomb) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 4:34
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San thete na dite klamata (If you wish to see tears) Barba Mitsos (Dimitris Kukas) 2:07