Lesson 6: Greece

This week we’re going to travel to Greece, which, historically, being home to the powerful yet philosophical Ancient Greeks (the Spartans, the Athenians, the Macedonians and more) who paved the way for the Roman Empire, is very much at the heart of what makes Western Europe “Western Europe.” Culturally, however, Greece retains so much of its Byzantine/Ottoman heritage that it’s very much a land of “the East.” Greek music throughout the ages has always benefited from the intertwining of Western and Eastern contexts and forms, drawing power from the best of both. On the other hand, there is much self-consciousness in the Greek music community about whether each performer’s music is more “Greek”–which implies a particular musical orientation that itself hints at musical links to Turkey other lands of Asia Minor–or “Westernized,” which could indicate influence from anywhere West like Italy, France or the U.K., the Spanish-speaking world or, heavens forbid!, the U.S.

MUSIC: Even as far back as two thousand years ago, Greek music has always been “east meets west.”

DANCING: Dancing is the essence of Greece.

KALAMATIANO: Ten steps one way, two steps another, on top of a song with seven beats…. OPA!

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