Greek or Turkish?

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maugein96
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Greek or Turkish?

Post by maugein96 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:54 pm

The subject of Greek accordion came up in another thread, and the matter of why do Greeks play "Turkish" music reared it's head.

One of the areas of Greece where the accordion still exists in numbers is in Greek Macedonia and Thrace in the north east of the Greek mainland. This area adjoins the Turkish province of Edirne in the European part of Turkey, and there is an obvious fusion of musical styles.

Over a million Greeks used to live in Turkey with a sizeable population in Istanbul, until 1922 when the Greek population was expelled and the city renamed Istanbul.

So here is a Greek tune, "Hassaposerviko", which despite making direct reference to Istanbul, with the obvous influence of Turkish music, is part of the Greek folk tradition.

It is not Turkish music, merely a Greek lament of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, first in 1453, then 1922.

The accordionist is Lazaros Koulaxizis, from Kavala in Thrace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9arpF_c4HB0

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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by Francisco SC » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:17 pm

I never heard Greek accordion music like this before. It sounds... like bouzouki music! Different, but nice. Thanks for posting it!

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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:52 pm

Francisco SC wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:17 pm
I never heard Greek accordion music like this before. It sounds... like bouzouki music! Different, but nice. Thanks for posting it!
Hi Francisco,

Yes, a lot of bouzouki music is interchangeable with accordion, and is often played on either instrument. I don't know an awful lot about Greek accordion as it doesn't seem to be too popular these days. At one time it was very often played as a backing instrument for rebetiko string players on bouzouki, tzouras, and Greek baglama, but these days it seems to be pretty rare, except in north east Greece.

A lot of Greek music was composed by Greeks who were living in Asia Minor (Turkey) before 1922, so the music often has a strong Turkish influence.

It is exceptionally difficult to draw a line between Greek and Turkish music, and there are even Greek rebetiko bands who play in Turkey, whose members are entirely Turkish. A lot of the old hatred has died out and there are even bands composed of both Greek and Turkish musicians

Here is a folk tune, "Konali" brought to Greece by Greeks who had been living in Capadoccia in Turkey before 1922. (The Roland has no connection with either Greece or Turkey, but IMHO this tune suits it.) The player is from the island of Rhodes (Greek, but very close to Turkey).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKRezu2EX28

Compare it with this "pure" traditional Greek "Lerikos" dance tune, and you'll see it is very difficult to tell the difference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np4KCNUECOc

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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by AccordionUprising » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:13 pm

I recall reading a few years ago about a peace concert held on the Greek/Turkish border where songs were played that were shared by both traditions. They sang lyrics in either language to the same songs across the divide. A hopeful musical moment.
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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by maugein96 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:29 pm

AccordionUprising wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:13 pm
I recall reading a few years ago about a peace concert held on the Greek/Turkish border where songs were played that were shared by both traditions. They sang lyrics in either language to the same songs across the divide. A hopeful musical moment.
Hi Bruce,

I read somewhere that Rebetiko music was the bridge between Athens and Ankara that knew no boundaries. I've noticed that there are more than a few Turkish rebetiko bands these days, and they often sing in Greek. The fact that the music is a fusion of Greek and Turkish is understandable, but I've never really read up on the rather complicated history of the genre.

There are a number of pro accordonists in Turkey, including at least one who is on a mission to transpose Turkish folk tunes to accordion from areas where the instrument has never been used (most of the country). His name is Muammer Ketencoğlu, from Izmir, and he learned to play accordion in a school for the blind. His "bag" also includes Greek rebetiko and Balkan accordion. I'll risk posting a clip of him playing, but once again no prizes for listening to it all the way through. I actually took a real shine to music like this when I was in Istanbul in the 70s. When you hear it being played in the atmosphere of that city as it was, then there is a sort of magic that no other music I've ever heard can evoke, not even French musette!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA1Ud08 ... p&index=47

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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by Anyanka » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:54 pm

I like this one a lot - it makes me want to dance. :)

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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by maugein96 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:16 pm

The Turkish population of Trakiya (Thrace), which is part of Europe, tend to consider themselves different from the rest of Turkey, both in culture and music. The area of Thrace extends well across the border into Greece. The people have a bit of a reputation in Turkey as hard drinking frontiersmen (and women).

Here is an example of the accordion from Thrace called "Immigrant", where it would appear that elements of music from the former Yugoslavia have been incorporated into a fusion which I find pretty fascinating, perhaps others less so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQSMU-1 ... QSMU-1KjOQ


EDIT:- A köçek was a youthful male dancer specially trained as an entertainer, and was cross-dressed in female attire until his beard started to grow. They were recruited from non-muslim areas of the former Ottoman Empire, until the practice was banned in 1837, following a spate of murders in Istanbul by men who regularly fought each other to win the attention of a particular köçek. The accordionist was none other than the larger than life small guy, "Ciguli", a Bulgarian player of Romani descent, who later became a household name in western Turkey. He died in 2014.

They did have a köçek fairly recently in the US, of Greek extraction, but his beard and even the hair on his head never grew at all. He lived to a fair age so they taught him how to dress up in cops clothes and suck lollipops. They altered the pronunciation of his name to "Kojak!", and I'm not sure whether any murders took place involving potential lovers.

So now we all know! (I think). Wish I could speak decent Turkish, or even English!

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Re: Greek or Turkish?

Post by maugein96 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:14 pm

This one is an Anatolian (Turkish) tune about the ancient Greek city of Smyrna, which was renamed Izmir in 1922.

Apparently it was originally a song which was sung in a mixture of Greek and Turkish, but thankfully this version is instrumental.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_pdnvl4DEA

I am conscious that I may just be posting on this thread for my own enjoyment, but all I'm hoping to do is make members aware that the accordion is used in different types of music that most people would probably not associate with it.

Turkish traditional players often condemn the accordion because of the limitations it imposes on them when they want to play tunes with quarter tones, although at the same time they appreciate that the instrument is capable of allowing great expression in Turkish music. Greek players usually don't have to worry about quarter tones, as they don't normally occur in Greek music. However, a lot of music in the Greek accordion repertoire is from Anatolia, and some bouzouki players have additional frets added to their instruments so that they can play Anatolian music on the bouzouki. As far as I'm aware the "Arabic" accordion capable of playing quarter tones is not used in either country.

The Greek link with Turkish music is indelible, and even the localised Greek tunes where there is no obvious Anatolian connection, use the same Dromoi or Makam (scales) as Turkish music.

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