Musicians - instrumentalists

This archive, following more than two years of processing and documentation efforts, contains work from more than 100 instrumentalists and singers. One key function of the archive is that it includes recordings from major artists belonging to the Cretan traditional music scene.

A special place is held in the archive by Kostas Mountakis (1926–1991), singer and lyra player from the village of Alfa in Mylopotamos. He grew up in a musical environment, as his father also played music but died when Mountakis was a child. His principal teacher was Dimitris Kaffatos — also included in the archive — who was born in Vergiana (community of Margarites) in Mylopotamos and later settled in Alfa. He is considered to be one of the most important musicians of Cretan music. He was a key figure in promoting Cretan music on the radio (broadcasting on Simon Karas’ programme) and on records, but mainly through his larger-than-life presence at festivals on Crete, in Athens and performances for expatriate Greeks. He passed on the learning and teaching of Cretan lyra, even at conservatories, by establishing schools in the largest cities on Crete and inventing a unique system for learning the lyre, which respected the peculiarities of students who were not versed in Western music.

The frequency at which Kostas Mountakis is present in the recordings found in this archive is explained firstly by one of his undisputed, immeasurable value as a musician, secondly the boundless appreciation and the admiration Giorgos Amargianakis had for him, and, finally by the fact that an LP with recordings of the singer had been planned but, ultimately, did not come to pass for reasons which remain unknown. For a while, the recording studio of the University of Crete, at its old facilities in Perivolia, Rethymno, had served as a second home for the great musician. On these recordings, from a certain point onwards, we hear him interviewing performers of traditional music or effortlessly accompanying them with his singing or on lyra — proof of the intimacy he had acquired with them. Giorgos Amargianakis would often host him during his lectures at university, asking him to present samples of his work or results of his research. In the late 1980s, while Kostas Mountakis was in attendance at Hall 3 of the Division of Theatre Studies-Musicology of the Department of Philology of the University of Crete, the great musician used his lyra to present a live rendition of the music of the Renaissance narrative poem Voskopoula [Sheperdhess], which had been discovered relatively recently.
Another historical moment for traditional Certan music were the recordings of two separate musical meetings between Kostas Mountakis and two of the biggest names in Cretan music, Stelios Foustalierakis and Thanasis Skordalos. This was a rare occasion, a personal wish and request of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of Crete at the time, Professor Grigoris Sifakis, according to an interview he gave. These three leading artists had never before worked together on a record or at a live event.

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