Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 10, Page 11

Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 10, Page 11
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
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Chairman, NPU
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Píobaire, An
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(85)* *TRADI1IONAL MUSIC IN CRETE AND NEPAL 1972**************** ************************** ********Kritis musk is the Lyra, a kneefiddle, backed by the Laoute, a lute. The tape Ive left withNPU is of Miss Aspasia Papadakis, who keeps a sweetandtobacco stall in Hania, West Crete,and her brother Pavlos, who is a grocer. Her lyra was made by Manolis Stagakis, whose work-shop opens onto the main square of Rethymon, a city famous for its lyraplayers. Neck andbody of the lyra are carved from one block of mulberrywood. The 3 strings are fingered withthe knuckle not the fingertips. The ear of one unfamiliar with this music should be able topick out the fourbeat rhythm in multiples 8, 16 etc. brilliantly varied so the line is con-tinuous. On this tape the dances are the Syrtos and the Pithichtos (lit. Leaping). The voicecomes in periodically with the Mandinathes or 15syllable rhyming couplets. These dancesare still going strong in 1972, and they can last all night.Nepal was opened to travellers in 1950. In the small hilltown Gorkha, five days on footwest from Kathmandu, I found a strange variety of slyles. I was there for the week of DurgaPuja, the bufFalo Sacrifices to the Goddess. The first singer on the tape is Garve the Game(Lowcaste beggarmusician) self accompanied on the Saranghai, a knee fiddle akin to theGreek Lyra but roughly dugout with thi k heavy soundbox. His song is called Kanjeri (thename of a tambourine).The next singer was a woman (Jutra) of about 50, singing very long songs without instrument.On tape is a section from middle of Daphe & Murali. Daphe was a mountainbird who,against his mothers advice (he disdains the local beauties who are goats with vomit),goessouth to meet his dream the flute-bird Murali. He is killed by a hunter. Tex:t exists in aSwissFrench publication.The mouth-harp (or lews harp) which follows was made and played by a low-caste black-smith. The scale (of any plucked strip of metal or wood) reveals a flattened Seventh(pipers please note). This mouth-harp was entirely unknown to the Schoolmaster: when hediscovered it was made by the unclean blacksmith, he was ashamed to have put it to hisown lips. The mouthharp is not unknown in Ireland.The next bit of the tape includes sessions with harmonium, the flute, the leaf (also playedin Ireland), and the shanai or kingpipe (the outdoor oboe or shawm this one wascurved like the old Cornet). Note the shanais continuous breathing technique, usingmouth as bag. This was the lead-player from the templeband.The temple-band at the Sacrifices. 200 bullcalves were led to the post and decapitated.As the sword fell, the l5-man (and boy) horn-anddrums ensemble struck up with whatsounds to be the escaping roar of the bull. The finale was a fullgrown bull which tookseven strokes to behead. The whole point of the ceremony was the tranquility of both thebulls and everybody else Nothing went wrong.Finally on this tape I tried to get a selection of singers from 3000ft to 10,000 ft. on theridge r orth of Gorkha towards Himal Chili near Tibet. In the village of Siranzok, twoyoung singers (aged 16, two years married) sang their own Rodi song (a Rodi-house is aGurung childrens club). Next year the boy will probably join a Gurkha Regiment.After them comes an old man (Topman Gurung) who once sang in front of Chairman Maoin Peking. He hogged the microphone and wouldnt let anybody else near it. Headvised me not to go further up the mountain (they drink and play cards up there), butI was glad I went because in the village of Sirandala (the last houses before the snowline)I found a man whose naif style reminded me both of Greek and of Irish seannos. His songis about a picnic. It took seven hours to record but plays back in no time. He had troubleremembering it, but stuck with the one song all night, while my finger waited on the Pausebutton. This style of singing occurs only out of earshot of the Concert hail.contd....
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Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 10

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