Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Pontian music

Some music is like "the call of the wild" and Pontic music does that for me. The above performance at the Athens Olympics gives a hint of it, and its inclusion in the ceremony underscores the long, unforgiving memory of the Greeks.

The Pontian Greeks, an ancient diaspora, are not like those from mainland Greece and there are still problems of their assimilation into the latter after the Turkish massacres and expulsions of 1922. More recently, some 5,000 have come to Paphos in western Cyprus and local internet comment boards evidence cultural friction there also.

There are or were communities in the lands circling the Black Sea, "south Pontians" from northern Turkey but also "north Pontians" (now often Russian-speaking) from the Crimea, southern Russia, Georgia.  I think you can hear the tragedy of exile in the singers' tones.

At its heart, Pontian music always has the three-stringed Pontic Lyre and the uneven rhythm of "tik" dancing. Dark and dangerous.

If you like it and wish to immerse yourself, there is Radio e-Pontos.

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