Everybody knows that for us Greeks, music and dancing is a big part of our culture and tradition. We sing and dance for the good times as well as the difficult times of our lives. The traditions of our ancestors are not only kept alive but they also continuously form and adapt to our way of living.

Traditional music wouldn’t maintain its strong presence in the culture if it weren’t for dedicated musicians. Both local musicians as well as famous musicians, like Domna Samiou and Simon Karras, there are people who are devoted to researching, recording, archiving and teaching traditional Greek music.

Their “Chorotragoudẃ” seminars aim to keep our musical heritage alive and to spread it outside the Greek borders

Katerina Papadopoulou, singer, oud player and music teacher, and Christiana Katsarou, Greek language and dancing teacher, continue this work today by teaching Greek singing and dancing, in Greece and also abroad.

Their “Chorotragoudẃ” seminars aim to keep our musical heritage alive and to spread it outside the Greek borders. GreekTV was there at their last seminar, which took part in Ikaria on June 27th – July 2nd. 20 participants from Greece, France, Italy and Switzerland had the chance to learn songs and dances from Ikaria, Chios, Samos, Rhodes and Minor Asia.

The classes were magical. The backdrop of the island’s beautiful scenery was the perfect setting for the musical experience! They took place at a traditional tavern in Nas, at the square of Akamatra village accompanied by the songs of the cicadas, at the unique Monastery of Theoktisti, at the panigyri of Agioi Apostoloi in Platani.

The local musicians were happy to share their stories about the island’s traditions, play their music and sing with the group of participants.

Kyriaki Iatropouli - Singing lesson in Akamatra

Singing lesson in Akamatra. Photo by Kyriaki Iatropouli

Singing and dancing in Greek traditional music are connected and never separated

Katerina Papadopoulou spoke with us about the seminar, Greek music traditions, and the island of Ikaria:

What is Chorotragoudẃ and which is the idea behind it?

Chorotragoudẃ is a singing as well as a dancing project, that focuses on the way people in Greece used to live, when singing and dancing was a part of their everyday lives. Additionally, the most proper way of learning Greek music, singing or dancing, is by combining all and not separating them.

How many people participate in Chorotragoudẃ and what are the participation criteria?

Each seminar has 15-20 students. Participation requires experienced singing.

How connected is singing and dancing in Greek traditional music?

Singing and dancing in Greek traditional music are connected and never separated. This is the most natural way of dealing with music as part of real life.

TryfonTsatsaros - Panigyri in Karavostamo Ikarias

Panigyri in Karavostamo Ikarias, photo by Tryfon Tsatsaros

 

Do you think that music traditions are still alive in Greece? Is traditional music part of young people’s lives?

We are lucky to live in a country, where music traditions are alive, especially in the villages and the islands, where people are more “isolated” and in a way far from big cities and “civilization”. Young people live their tradition there and take active part in that.

Ikaria has one of the most strong and alive music traditions in Greece

Why did you choose the island of Ikaria for this seminar?

Ikaria has one of the most strong and alive music traditions in Greece, as well as many feasts during the year, where someone can participate and have a real taste of a living tradition.

Are you planning another Chorotragoudẃ seminar soon? Where can interested participants get informed about similar future events?

The next one is not fixed yet but will soon be. Ikaria is a possible destination, as nobody can go there just once!

Facebook and personal mailing lists are our way of informing people about our actions and activities.


Video by Tryfon Tsatsaros

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Follow Katerina Papadopoulou on Facebook to get informed about future seminars: https://www.facebook.com/katerina.papadopoulou.507