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// JUNE 2018
The raw diamond of Kefalonia
Athens
Patras
Sami
Lepeda
Lixouri
Paralia Petani
Porto Athera
Agia Thekli
Rifi
Chavdata
Chavriata
Mantzavinata
Lixouri
Lixouri
Lepeda
Argostolion
Lixouri
Kaminarata
Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon
Lepeda
Megas Lakkos
Paralia Petani
Platia Ammos
Skinos Chavriata
Kounopetra
Xi Beach
Lixouri
Lepeda
Atheras
Amidi Beach
Fteri Beach
Atheras
Lixouri
Myrtos

Lixouri


19nth of June
Musical tradition of many Centuries:
Philharmonic School and Choirs of Lixouri

We were waiting with great pleasure this particular day, since we had arranged to meet with two very interesting individuals, who were going to speak with us about the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Choirs of Lixouri.  
We wanted very much to learn a few things about the very rich musical culture of the island in general and about the musical traditions of Palliki and Lixouri in particular.

Mr. Theotokatos and Mr. Loukeris, who are directly related to the choirs and the Philharmonic School of Lixouri were the most suitable persons to inform us about all the above.

Mr. Spyros Theotokatos,
the musical genres “arietta” and “cantata” and the choirs in Lixouri

At the beautiful central square of Lixouri, we were first met with Mr. Spyros Theotokatos and after the necessary introductions, we ordered coffee and let him talk to us about the history of the choirs and the musical genres born in Lixouri.
 


The musical tradition of Kefalonia was strongly influenced by western musical elements, something common in all the Ionian Islands, due to the Venetian Occupation, mainly.  
In Kefalonia, though, those western musical elements were combined also with Byzantine musical elements (a main distinction from the musical traditions of Zakynthos and Corfu, which combine the western elements with elements originating from the Russian musical school).

At around 15nth century appeared in Lixouri the musical genre of “arietta” (small aria).

Arietta was born by the lower classes of Kefalonia, (the farmers and the fishermen who were working for the noble classes).
It was practically a form of musical expression, as far as hard daily labor, love and its pains and longing for a better life.
The poor villagers were gathered in taverns and local festivities too and with rhyming quatrains used to sing in triphonic schemes, where the man with the best voice (the “primo”) had the predominant role

The “primo” would start the arietta and the rest of the singers would follow, creating a primitive choir with tenors and baritones.
The singers didn’t have a proper musical education.
All they needed for participating in those old musical schemes was “a good ear”.
The melodies produced, though, were excellent and that is exactly what made the Kefalonian “arietta” an exceptional and impressive musical genre.
In the next coming years, mandolins and guitars were added too, so as to accompany the singers.
This innovation led to the birth of the musical genre of cantata.

This amazing folk musical tradition created later on sophisticated and refined choirs, with educated singers and virtuoso musicians of mandolins and guitars.
Initially there were only men choirs, but since 1980 women started participating too.
In Lixouri, today, there is also a children’s choir.
 


Mr. Spyros Theotokatos also conducts the Argostoli Choir. He was willing to talk to us about great musicians and composers, like Spyros Skiadaresis, Dionysios Lavragas, Dimitrios Lukakos, Nikolaos Tsilifis and also about the exceptional Argiris Kunadis. All the above artists studied in depth the genre of arietta and produced magnificent compositions.  

Unfortunately, today, the musical tradition of the choirs is lessening in Kefalonia, since there is no support or serious interest from the state or other relevant entities to preserve this wonderful musical legacy and to find ways for making it more appealing to the new generation.

Mr. Theotokatos referred us to the very nice article concerning the musical genre of arietta in kefalonia, published by the already known to us remarkable Mr. Galanos, who collects for years significant folkloric elements of Lixouri.

But, since the space on our site, as we have already mentioned, is limited for republishing the whole article  «Kefalonian Civilazation and arietta»” by Mr. Galanos.

 

Mr. Iosif Loukeris and the Philharmonic School of Lixouri

Our next arranged meeting at the central square _after having thanked Mr. Theotokatos for all the interesting things he had the kindness to share with us, before he left_ was with Mr. Iosif Loukeris, who spoke to us with love, pride and emotion about the Philharmonic  School of Lixouri.

As he told us himself, the Philharmonic School of Lixouri is, probably, a universal and unique phenomenon, considering the circumstances under which it was created and thrived. Truth be told, it still thrives, producing tradition and not only preserving it.

It counts 180 years of life, in between many physical catastrophes (the major earthquakes of 1953 among others) and serious financial problems, resulting from the numerous destructions of crops in Lixouri, a poor land with inhabitants who couldn’t secure the necessary daily “bread and butter”, never mind preserving the Philharmonic Orchestra of the place…  
 


But, with their unique and exemplary attitude the people of Lixouri proved gloriously that “Man does not live by bread alone”…
The year 1900, as Mr. Loukeris explained, was a year/landamark for the existence and the functioning of the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The mildew had destroyed the monoculture of raisins and that resulted to great famine, since only the 1/10 of the usual production had survived.   


«Core of Freedom»

The prevailing view was that amid mourning and famine it would be inappropriate for the Philharmonic orchestra to continue functioning.
But, in the historic General Meeting of the participants/members, on the 17nth of August in 1900, it was decided, on the contrary with the above prevailing view, that the Philharmonic orchestra not only should never stop functioning, but more over it should intensify its works, since it was considered as “Core of Freedom” and inextricably linked to the cultural and historic course of Lixouri.

Within its 180 years of its life, the Philharmonic orchestra lived periods of glamour which contributed to the cultural upturn of Lixouri.
The efforts for its preservation were always made by local individuals and it is still functioning impeccably as association, in our days.
Mr. Loukeris mentioned a very moving incident, characteristic of the great love that the people of Lixouri had, and still continue to have, for their Philharmonic orchestra, when he recounted that his grandmother, during the catastrophic earthquakes of 1953, the first things she tried to salvage from the ruined family home were the Philharmonic orchestra uniforms worn by his father and his uncle, at those days…
 


As he continued talking, he explained us that the existing of the band in this particular Philharmonic school is, almost, self sown.
With strong influences from the great Philharmonic Orchestra of Pisa (Italy) it covered the predisposition for art in homophonic style, since it united the Byzantine with the western elements, while with a formal document that goes back to 1839 it was characterized as educational arrangement.  

The entertainment at the old times was connected with the arrival of Italian acting troupes, which were bringing known operas in Lixouri and also with the Greek Orthodox Church’s old Byzantine traditions.
The latter, though, was faced with suspicion from the protestant British, who were seeing it as extension of the Radical Movement for the liberation of Kefalonia.  
The Queen Victoria herself was forbidding the British soldiers from honorably presenting arms, when the religious symbols were appearing at the parades of the Holly Week, or during other celebrations of the Greek Orthodox Church, accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra.

In our days, the Philharmonic orchestra of Lixouri lives again a new golden era.
Mr. Loukeris and Mr. Makris, whose birth place is Corfu, have managed to have in the Philharmonic School of Lixouri 100 students (age 10-17 years old).

A characteristic incident, which shows their devotion to their philharmonic orchestra, was the parade of the 21nd of May (anniversary of the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece) in 2018.
While all the other college students were not participating to the parade, due to their duties, as far as the entrance examinations to the universities, the college students of the Philharmonic orchestra were all present and paraded proudly with their uniforms… 

The Philarmonic orchestra of Lixouri has an excellent repertoire, trying to delve into music. It plays classic musical works, participates in the litanies of the Greek Orthodox Church and it gives many concerts too.
Each year, in the beginning of August, the Philharmonic School of Lixouri gives its best concert. In August 2017 a lot of emphasis was given to the music that originates from the Ionian Islands.
 


Mr. Loukeris insisted that we should underline the interest and the participation of youngsters in the Philharmonic School of Lixouri and he appeared optimistic that regardless of any problems that may appear in the future (financial mainly),  the Philharmonic School of Lixouri , with the brave and splendid past will continue to produce civilization, as long as it is supported by the local society.

Unfortunately, as always, when it comes to everything beautiful in our country, the state remains practically uninvolved and doesn’t reinforce financially such great cultural initiatives, which demand titanic efforts in order to sustain.

But, the people of places like Lixouri have the historic memory and the cultural background to understand fully what exactly means for them and their place their amazing Philharmonic orchestra… 

Country: Greece
Date: 2018
Route: Kefalonia-Peninsula of Paliki
Cities: Athens, Patras, Sami, Lepeda, Lixouri, Paralia Petani, Porto Athera, Agia Thekli, Rifi, Chavdata, Chavriata, Mantzavinata, Lixouri, Lixouri, Lepeda, Argostolion, Lixouri, Kaminarata, Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon, Lepeda, Megas Lakkos, Paralia Petani, Platia Ammos, Skinos Chavriata , Kounopetra, Xi Beach, Lixouri, Lepeda, Atheras, Amidi Beach, Fteri Beach, Atheras, Lixouri
Duration: 8
Difficulty:
Population:
Rating:
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Country: Greece
Date: 2018
Route: Kefalonia-Peninsula of Paliki
Cities: Athens, Patras, Sami, Lepeda, Lixouri, Paralia Petani, Porto Athera, Agia Thekli, Rifi, Chavdata, Chavriata, Mantzavinata, Lixouri, Lixouri, Lepeda, Argostolion, Lixouri, Kaminarata, Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon, Lepeda, Megas Lakkos, Paralia Petani, Platia Ammos, Skinos Chavriata , Kounopetra, Xi Beach, Lixouri, Lepeda, Atheras, Amidi Beach, Fteri Beach, Atheras, Lixouri
Duration: 8
Difficulty:
Population:
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Greece
Date: 2018
Route: Kefalonia-Peninsula of Paliki
Cities: Athens, Patras, Sami, Lepeda, Lixouri, Paralia Petani, Porto Athera, Agia Thekli, Rifi, Chavdata, Chavriata, Mantzavinata, Lixouri, Lixouri, Lepeda, Argostolion, Lixouri, Kaminarata, Moni Iperagias Theotokou Kipoureon, Lepeda, Megas Lakkos, Paralia Petani, Platia Ammos, Skinos Chavriata , Kounopetra, Xi Beach, Lixouri, Lepeda, Atheras, Amidi Beach, Fteri Beach, Atheras, Lixouri
Duration: 8 days
Difficulty:
Population:
Rating:
comments
VIEW