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Greek Music Traditions in Tarpon Springs

Greek Music Traditions in Tarpon Springs

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(1:04, 58.6MB; S1576 T80-69, T77-111, T87-1, CD03-111, CD03-117)

In this podcast we will listen to four performances of traditional Greek music from residents of Tarpon Springs, recorded at the Florida Folk Festival as well as in the field.

Transcript of the Introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection Podcast Series from the Department of State Library and Archives of Florida. The booming sea sponge industry that began in the 1890s brought numerous Greek immigrants to Tarpon Springs, Florida. Along with this trade came rich musical traditions. In this podcast we will listen to four performances of traditional Greek music from residents of Tarpon Springs, recorded at the Florida Folk Festival as well as in the field.

Greece is home to a wide variety of both sacred and secular musical traditions, both of which we will explore for the next hour. The first performance, recorded at the 1980 Florida Folk Festival, features a middle school chorus known as the Grecian Islanders of Tarpon Springs performing traditional folk songs accompanied by the bouzouki, a plucked string instrument.

We then turn to the sacred side of Greek vocal music, and take a glimpse into the Greek Orthodox Church with a performance from the Byzantine Choir at the 1961 Florida Folk Festival. The origins of this liturgical chant can be traced back to the Byzantine Church of the ancient Greeks.

Perhaps one of the most unique sounds you will hear is that of the tsabouna, a type of Greek bagpipe made of goatskin. Hailing from the island of Kalymnos, Nikitas Tsimouris and his tsabouna came to Tarpon Springs in 1968. Tsimouris began playing the tsabouna at the age of 8, and continued playing throughout the rest of his life, teaching younger generations to both play and build the instrument.

Lastly, we will enjoy some traditional folk songs from Crete performed by Nick Mastras and Kostas Maris on the laouto and lyra. The Cretan lyra is a three-stringed bowed instrument. This performance was captured at the 2003 Florida Folk Festival.

For more information on Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, please visit the Voices of Florida page on the Department of State's Florida Division of Historical Resources website.