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Ta Rizitika

Yiannis Koutalakis
Rizitika songs, with Yiannis Koutalakis (noted teacher of rizitiko song)
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Potes tha kamei zesteria
0.40 €

T'agrimi stekei sto tzoungri
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Ton antreiomenon t'armata
0.40 €

Ts'avyis
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Se psilo vouno
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Kalogriopoula kalogria
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O Konstantis sta ksena
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Ta khelidhonia tsi vlakhias
0.40 €

Trote kai pinet'arkhondes
0.40 €

The entire CD (-10%) 3.24 €

Ta Rizitika



Rizitika are songs of western Crete and of specific villages at the base of mountains in the White Mountain range (Lefki Ori), from which they, some say, they took their name. Others maintain that Rizitika were named for ancient Rizinia (the present-day village of Meskla), while others state that the name refers to ancestors (hence, rizes, or roots), with the additional of the ending -itika, in the same manner that terms such as ‘Anatolitika' (Anatolian, or eastern music) or ‘Moraitika' (music from the ‘Morea', or Peloponisos/Peloponnese) are constructed.

All students of rizitika agree that the songs have a long tradition which reaches back either to the Byzantine epoch, or even to ancient times. Yiorgos Hatzidakis avows that it is a continuation of ancient music and expresses an important and revealing behavior according to which the music of these songs have necessarily maintained the prosody of spoken language, lengthening or shortening the note where the melody coincides with long or short syllables of the poem. " In other words, in rizitiko music, such as we hear in present times, are preserved the traces of the ancient language and elements of poetic meters that preceded the 15-syllable couplet.

From their contents, in any case (acritic material), a good many rizitika were clearly written during Byzantine times, though others (with realistic material), belong to the period of Venetian rule. There is still yet a third group from the Ottoman period and even a newer one with texts that refer to events of the 20th century (the Battle of Crete, German occupation and the Resistance, etc. ).

As is well known, the rizitika are not dance songs, but rather epitrapezia ("table songs") or, in older times, songs ‘of the march', or ‘of the road'(that is, processional songs). One of their characteristics is that they are sung either with a single leader or antiphonally. A singer sings a verse and the group repeats it. Also, there is usually no rhymed ending, nor does it always follow the 15-syllable couplet structure. According to the rules, it is not accompanied by musical instruments, though in recent years at public presentations and at tavernas, etc. , accompaniment is played on the laouto, violin or lyra.

You can learn more about rizitika in:

1. The article by Yiorgos Hatzidakis in the periodical, "Kritiki Stoa" (1909), 2. Selected works of Melpo Merlier at the Odeon. 3. The relevant notes of S. Xanthouidou, in the periodical ‘Kritikes Selides', of M. Lagoudaki, in "Mysona", of Yiorgos Logariastaki in ‘Driro', of Yiorgos Sklavou in ‘Elliniki Dimiouryia; and of Samuel Baud-Bovy in the reports of the First International Cretological Congress. 4. A long self-contained study with extensive information but haphazardly compiled and difficult to use bibliographically is the 240-page bibliography by Yiorgos Hatzidakis titled "Kritiki Mousiki, Istoria, Mousika Systimata, Tragoudia kai Hori" (Athens, 1958).

Yiorgos Papadakis


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