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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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02 June 2009



Fits my mood, and interesting to learn of a musical tradition that parallels the sad laments of Celtic fisherwomen - and no doubt there are others throughout the world.

Here's a link to another song from that tradition of sad women - this, sung by one of my favourite singers, Julie Fowlis, was (so says a comment under the clip) composed by a girl who was exiled from her home and is working as a servant in a castle on the island of Coll, and her brothers come to visit the castle and she recognises them but can't speak to them because she's in disgrace - and she says she would rather return with them to Uist if her prayer was answered. I wouldn't know what any of it means, but it is beautiful, lilting.


I love it. And I love that one of the string instruments is a bouzouki.

I enjoy a rousing happy song now and then. My favorite songs however, are those sad, cry in your beer ballads. Aman.


Since you noticed the bouzouki, you might, then, be interested to read about the history of the bouzouki in Irish music:

Julie Fowlis normally plays with another bouzouki player, her husband, Eamon Doorley, so it sounds as if the Wiki entry perhaps underplays the use of the bouzouki nowadays since Julie Fowlis has a huge following in the UK and even tours in the US.


Julie is a gem and I thank you for introducing me to her. Music, no matter where it comes from is influenced by other traditions. I have been listening to her this evening. I do not know a word of this song yet I understand it completely:


I sat at her feet on a cushion, with my family, and listened to her sing the song in your clip last August, just a few miles down away from home. Completely in awe. My daughter's godmother joined us - she's become a fluent Gaelic speaker and harp player and the evening, the music and the friendship, resulted in her spending the night in tears and the next morning too ... Disconcerting for us as hosts, but such was the power of the music. She's just about to return now from a year spent on Julie's island, where she has been composing her own fisherwomen's songs.

I very much hope that Kevin knows Julie Fowlis's music, and appreciates a Celtic/Greek synergy more cultured than Stavros Flatley ... :).


As my wife says, we all need a good cry now and then. Music will certainly provide the impetus.

Gotta love a guy with a name like Stavros and a map of Cyprus tattooed on his chest.

As for Kevin, I'll send him a link to make sure.


interesting post - i find the aman music too heavy to listen to; it has to be late at night, and i have to be on my own with no one too close around me


It's an acquired taste. I promise to post something a little more lively soon.

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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