Monday, 15 September 2014

Nations torn apart by politics, reunited by music.


As my Turkish blog is becoming increasingly Greek in the summer months, it's satisfying to have both national flags side by side on this post.  I have also mentioned that my favourite archaeological site is Stratonikeia and that I have fond memories of the ancient theatre so I was very happy to catch a H3A-organised bus to Stratonikeia yesterday evening.  These flimsy fabric emblems, that incited horrific bloodshed and enmity, were flying together  in the theatre last night to celebrate a Friendship Concert featuring the AK-DER Turkish music group and a Rembetiko group from Kos. The concert was introduced by Prof. Dr. Bilal Söğüt, the director of the archaeological excavations, which ticked another box on my blogging list  (if only there had been a rescue dog dancing the sitarki while cooking a kebab, I would have had a full house).



As usual with most events of this kind, it started late which had the audience whistling and hand clapping, trying to get the performers to stop glad handing and get on stage, and then the seemingly unending speeches had to be got through with everyone thanking everyone else.  The Mayor of Nisyros may have regrets today at inviting the whole audience to his Greek island and promising to greet everyone personally on arrival, but his sentiments were received very warmly.
Eventually the musicians were allowed to take centre stage and played over two hours of well known songs which had the whole audience joining in.  Three brand new pieces which to my untrained ear sounded exactly like the old favourites, seemed to be well received. I've included a clip of  "Izmir Kavakları" (Izmir Poplar Trees) which started off in Greek and ended in Turkish; appropriate if one considers the history of this great city.


The streets were full of stalls selling honey, olives, local remedies, crafts and refreshments.  It was great to see the once-deserted  town so full and bustling.  


The ladies of the chorus in their striking turquoise outfits. 


A photo grabbed before dusk fell. The theatre eventually filled up to numbers that would have been respectable in the years after its construction in the reign of Augustus  (63BC-14AD)













16 comments:

  1. B to B, What a wonderful and heart-warming event! It sure beats the heck out of the hatred-drenched almost everything else that is happening in the world today. Thanks for the lift to the spirits!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shorter speeches ans prompt start would have been even better.

      Delete
  2. . . these cultural exchanges certainly beat population exchanges for building bridges and showing our common humanity. If only the suits would stay away - or better still evaporate!
    Immediately noticed the flags - that the Greek flag had been wrapped around a few times to make it smaller that the Turkish flag. we see this in Dalyan where businesses that like to fly flags of the world MUST ensure that the Turkish one is at least bigger and preferably higher that any other or the jandarma pay a visit!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got told off several times when a boat bum for not having the Turkish flag higher and bigger than the courtesy flag.

      Delete
  3. Glad to see you're supporting Greco-Turkish relations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks beautiful, and must be the way forward...just wish more realised it....I recognise the long wait for the concert to start...and then the speeches..... and .I love the turquoise chorus outfits

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The outfits were a perfect colour for Aegean comradeship.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful Annie and sums up how I feel; I have some very dear Greek friends and we greatly enjoy each other's company; so many things we share and I love it. Beautiful event, hope many more to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is much coming and going now between the mainland and islands. Lots more ferries and day trips.

      Delete
  6. What a wonderful event! It's heartwarming to read that relations between Greece and Turkey are improving so much, given the past history of the two countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep the politicians out and the populations get on very well.

      Delete
  7. Dear Annie, I so enjoy your blog, even though I get to visit it only once a week. Your enthusiasm for Turkey and Greece is infectious. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post, B2B. I even enjoyed the music, whereas memories from a trip many years ago contain stored horrors of music from Greece and Turkey.....! Axxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The music takes a bit of getting used to.

      Delete