Asikiko Poulaki

Τhe song cycle with the peculiar title Asikiko Poulaki by Mikis Theodorakis is presented at the alternative stage of the Greek National Opera on December 4th to 5th 2021.

Among the most interesting and unusual compositions in Mikis Theodorakis’ inexhaustible oeuvre, the song cycle with the peculiar title Asikiko Poulaki came into being thanks to the initiative and fertile collaboration of a group of artists (including the guitarist and arranger Yannis Spathas, the singer Vasilis Lekkas and the poet Michalis Ganas) to whom Theodorakis entrusted the first recording of the work, released in 1996.

The cycle Asikiko Poulaki is the climax of the long, though covert, experimentation of the then seventy-year-old Theodorakis with the melodic modes and asymmetrical rhythms of the tradition of Asia Minor. Additionally, it constitutes a belated and moving tribute to the composer’s mother, Aspasia Poulaki (whose last name, literally meaning “little bird”, can be found in the work’s title), as well as her ancestry (from Çeşme, Asia Minor). For its part, the term “Asikiko” (from the Turkish word aşık, meaning “lovelorn” as well as “traditional bard”, but whose meaning in Greek is “gallant”, “vigorous”) refers to a composite dance metre, invented by Theodorakis, in which groups of three and two beats (long or short) alternate progressively.

In a new approach to this singular work for the Alternative Stage, Yannis Dionisiou and the Estudiantina of Nea Ionia (a distinguished and internationally recognised traditional orchestra, dedicated to the creative continuity of the eclectic musical tradition of Smyrna) promise a modern and productive reconnection of Theodorakis’ inspiration to its traditional roots.

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