Friday, April 13, 2018

Lalo: Greek Echoes - Himalayas - Hindukush

As all nations have their stupid myths creating a sense of imagined community and national pride, so do the Greeks, from what I learned when I lived there. One legend says that Alexander the Great, that source of Greek national pride for imperialism and expansionism, left behind his seed in the Central/South-East Asian margin of his large empire. As his kingdom reached the north-western part of greater India, in what is now the Punjab region of Pakistan, he had the idea of posing as a benign ruler, not destroying his subjects' cultures and faiths, but trying to intermingle them with Greek traits and customs. So, as the story goes, the Kalash people of the Chitral region of North-Western Pakistan, an Indo-Iranian ethnic group practicing some form of Ancient Hinduism that is considered a pagan/infidel minority and has faced persecution by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, are supposedly the descendants of Alexander's soldiers, as they had refused to go further into India and chose to stay back and settle. Of course, genetic study shows that no such relation exists, but nationalism is nationalism and is impervious to scientific proof.

So, this very rare cd is part of an ethnomusicological study conducted in the early 1990s by some guy called Yiannis Manolidakis, who traveled to Himachal Pradesh state of north India, Nuristan in North-East Afghanistan and the Chitral region of Kalash, trying to find some cultural association between those peoples and ancient Greece. In the liner notes, which you can read in full here, he claims that there are similarities between their dances and traditional Greek ones, as well as linguistic likeness. Well, I have no idea about this, and to be honest, I think this research has a nationalist standpoint to it, but a documentation of musical traditions of the peoples of regions which have been plagued with wars and religious persecution is something that should be retained. The tracks included are live performances of songs, dances and instrumentals, mainly with vocals, reeds and percussion, and some of them possess a strong war-like feel (such as "Women's Dance") or an ecstatic mood and a drone-y aspect in the vocal delivery. 1993 cd on Evmousia.



  1. Greeting! Sorry from poor English, I learn. I am refugee Guti minorite from Iran. Many songs from this very familier sound. Composer Guti Bazgan Khuarmi sound. In my family had two Bazgan Khuarmi's vinyls. Recored in India maybe? One his song Dirish Nurti Vadagharazu, rember terrible sound! Scared when child. All vinyls when moved losted, this gives nostalges. If again hear his music, nostalges for all family. You find his music possible?