Musical Yards ♪♫♬ Μουσικές Αυλές


One good thing about music,
when it hits you, you feel no pain.
[Bob Marley]
.Woman dancing in Ikaria

What do I know about music?
I know more than you ever thought, dear readers.
Perhaps because my mother was Italian, perhaps because music has been for me a good way to soothe a temper often volcanic, or just because I have strong lungs and throat, I have always sung and I think that my singing is not completely unacceptable to a trained ear. I’ve never had a musical education, and yet during a year or two of my crazy young days I could sing folk songs and jazz music from Hungary – and all that in Hungarian, oh yeah! 😀

What I cannot do, and that’s a life fact, is to dance.
All I do is jump and kick and dangle and that’s a pity because I love Greek music and all the music of the countries around Greece and that music is (90% of it) associated to dancing. So, I listen to it, sing it, but all the dancing is done within me.
What to do? Nobody is perfect.
This was just a soppy introduction. Bloggers are expected to write a couple of soppy things before getting into the subject, aren’t they?
Forget it.

😖

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Musical Yards, homepage The subject here is the Music Seminar of Ikaria («Μουσικό Σεμινάριο Ικαρίας») also known as Musical Yards («Μουσικές Αυλές») and Musical Fireplaces («Μουσικά Τζάκια»), a long course of lessons, workshops and concerts organized by a small group of young Ikarians in the village of Christos Ráches every February and July.

Students dancing the Ikariotikos at the big party in the end. .

You would say, what’s big about it? There are several prestigious and popular music seminars taking place in Greece, the most known ones being in Mount Pelion and Crete. Why a seminar in Ikaria? What more does it offer? And who are this “small group of young Ikarians”? It sounds like one more boring folklore festival. At best perhaps a more sophisticated, DIY generational “panigiri”. Nothing new here.

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.This year's Musical Yards poster

Oh no, readers! Everything is new here! The seminar’s webpage does not explain very clearly the novelties of the event, so I have decided to say a few more things about it. For example, everything that goes around the Musical Seminar of Ikaria is hand-made, home-made and ever-evolving.

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Everything about the Seminar is countless hours of unpaid collective work done by local resident volunteers without support from the authorities, without sponsors and with only some help from few small hotel owners, car rentals and bus drivers.

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Playing music after the classes late in the eveningThe most remarkable thing about it is that they don’t have art directors, managers, public relations, don’t have «connections». Totally independent and willing to pay the price for this, all and all these guys have is each other and the support of their community. All and all what they want is to do it. And by some magic trick, they do it.

But how? What’s the trick?

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The trick is, first of all, dear readers, that it’s not a “big event”. Only capable of hosting a rough maximum of 200 students, the center of everything is the large yard of a countryside chapel near the village of Traditional violin classChristos.

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Several classes take place under the oak trees in that yard, while other classes are hosted -guess where?- in the yards, patios and spare rooms of the surrounding family homeBabis Papadopoulo's musical composition and orchestra classs in the neighborhood. Hence, the meaningful name of the Seminar («Musical Yards»*), a name which does not only signify the location; it says a lot about the character of the event.

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It also shows Exercises at the course of singing and vocals the support it receives from the village community, not to mention that, in my opinion, it’s a great way to say «thanks» to the owners of the homes where the classes take place.

(* The same houses, plus/minus some, during the wintertime Seminar turn into Musical Fireplaces. Cool!)

The Seminar's camping site in Ai Giannis. .

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No buses, no traffic, everything is nested in nature, including the participants themselves, around 1/3 of which choose to accommodate themselves in the campsite set by the organizers near the church.

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Secondly, “the small group of young Ikarians” is no other than the environmental, political and cultural association “Citizens’ Movement of Ráches Ikaria” («Κίνηση Πολιτών Ραχών Ικαρίας»), a 20yearold group still and always active in various fields (see my 2 footnotes down below).

At the course of musical instrument construction. .

None of them are idle or leisured patrons of arts; on the contrary, all of them are ordinary working people, faces that you see in the streets on their way to work in the morning.

Song writing course with Thanassis Papakonstantinou

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But there is an unseen difference: in spite of their smallness, in spite of their very limited financial resources, these people care! Moreover, they have skills and experience. Even though none of them are graduates of the Conservatory of Vienna, they know how to make things go right.

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.Evgenios Voulgaris, the lute teacher

Thirdly, the teachers! If anyone ever thought the Music Seminar of Ikaria is some kind of groovy thing, just a glance at the list of teachers is enough to change their minds. Each one in his or her own music, mostly the Oriental, traditional Greek or Balkan genre, as far as I can tell, they are the best among the best!

How come?

Singing course 3. .

Because these teachers trusted the organizers and they liked the concept. Some of them even, who come again and again every year, have proved to be truly committed to this event. They brought along their own students, they helped the organizers with valuable advice and in general, they did a lot to improve the Ikarian Seminar and Guitar lessongradually establish it in the agenda of musical education in Greece.

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Against the tourist legend that no serious work can be done in Ikaria because everything is unfocused and relaxed, the Papadopoulos and Siotas in one of the concertsclasses are as demanding and as strict as anywhere in a city environment. Besides this, every  year the teachers, to show their understanding of the concept of the Seminar, offer three evening concerts which are open to everybody. Arranging themselves in small groups in these concerts, the last of which always blows up to a big party, they play for hours without being paid.

The teachers playing at the big final concert. .

A large audience from all over the island gathers to attend that last concert in the Yards and all the money collected is used for the causes of the Citizens’ Movement, the first of them always being the preparation of the next seminar.

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The goal of the Seminar:

«Culture, communication, living together and playing music, teaching and being taught, knowing each other and having a good time too».

Yeah, we know, we know…

I know you know but I don’t think you know everything.

Singing course 1So, let me elaborate and add a few throughts of my own. They are strictly personal -although I don’t think I am totally wrong in what I am going to say. It’s no coincidence the Ikarian Music Seminar “Musical Yards” started in 2012. That was the terrible year when the Greek economic crisis peaked. That was the year of suicides, the year of social cannibalism when everybody blamed each other for the crisis and the dept.

Singing course 2. .

In several occasions during that year, Art, and more particularly Music, did a lot to keep Greek society from breaking apart. To say the least, Music, and more particularly Greek (traditional and post-traditional music), reminded to us that in spite of our differences, we can still love the same songs and can still sing together.

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.Tsambouna - Aegean island bagpipe

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Because 2012 was a bad year for Ikaria too, this was, in my humble opinion, the reason why the Citizens’ Movement, instead of some other activity, chose to put their bets on music. After all music plays an important role in the life of the island.

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One out of four mostly younger inhabitants play a musical instrument, one out of three is an excellent dancer and absolutely everybody loves to go out to places where there is live music – no matter Spaced percussionistwhat kind, no matter how good. So, why not invite other musicians to the island, not just for a concert or two, but to stay longer and share their art?

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To cut this short, against all odds, with crisis on one hand, and the love for music on the other, without any support from the authorities and no sponsoring, the first Musical Seminar of Ikaria was crowned with success.

Careful listener. .

Although small at that time, Musical Yards was a pool of forgetfulness and forgiveness, a pocket of equality and fraternity, a refuge for the young for inspiration and hope, a spot where music was played, taught and performed without interruptions or interferences – other than the song of the cicadas on those old oak trees in the hospitable churchyard of Ai Giannis.

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The course of the lute behind the churchIt is still like this and now – 2018 – is their 7th year!
Who would have thought!

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Composer and singer Thanassis Papakonstantinou in the concertLast year I was there for only one day but that one day, as I was guided around by a friend, was enough for me to witness all of the above. The Music Seminar of Ikaria is cultural and social barrier breaker and meltdown. I think everybody involved in musical education – and I dare say all education- have something to learn from the way things go during its course.

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Trumpet!I support Musical Yards with all my heart!

😍

Eleni

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.Chapel altar window, Pablo Picasso (unsigned), Ikaria, round about 1620 😉 Partying in the Seminar Music ♪♫♬ bubbles in the air .

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June 15, 2018

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Except the first taken by kikiller all photos featuring in this article belong to Musical Yards. They can be found in the files of their website and their page on facebook. © All rights reserved 2012-2017.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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Blog Review Ikaria 2008-2011 # 7


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I am very interested in reading personal accounts about my island. To keep in touch with the place, media is good but there’s nothing like reading actual people’s impressions and looking at their photos.

This is the seventh part of the list of blog entries about Ikaria that I like. As I said in the forenote of the first part, my ambition was to review, not just blogroll, so I wrote a few words about each blog entry and I picked out pictures and quotes. These quotes I sometimes hid “behind the pictures”.  Move your mouse over to read them.

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This one is from the rich harvest of 2011 about which I wrote in my previous entry. It’s a part of «Michael and Maya’s little blog», MAP adventures.

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mapadventures
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Michael and Maya come from the U.S. One year ago in July 2011, following the travelling tradition that has been taking shape in the recent years, the couple stopped in Ikaria on their way from Athens to Turkey and gave the world’s blog readers two containing and greatly illustrated entries:
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«Since we arrived in Ikaria we have been hearing about the upcoming Panigiri in the hilltop village of Arethousa: «Goat, more goat, music, dancing, wine, more wine, and staying up all night. You have to go!» So after watching the US vs. Japan world cup final in a small cafe in Evdilos, we zoomed up a dark windy road on a rented scooter to find a huge outdoor party complete with jaunty live music and 2,000 drunk happy Greeks…»
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The pictures I chose to show you are:
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Panagiri started as a saints-name day in this village and then grew bigger and bigger and now it is a summer season weekly tradition where many people of Ikaria meet and celebrate the night.
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The gentleman selling food tickets spoke English so we were able to procure a half kilo of goat meat, bread, and wine.
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The second one goes…

 

«We are settling into the pace on Ikaria, which is sleepy and slow like a snail. We get up every morning with just enough time to jump in the ocean before the hotel breakfast ends.Regarding scooters: we have seen three different men driving with their dogs on laps with paws on the handlebars, a man and his date eating ice cream cones while riding, and a man that had an entire grilled fish on a large oven pan on his lap while riding up a mountain.

Long and twisty scooter rides have taken us to some fun destinations…«

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The photos I chose are:
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Michael and Maya in Ikaria
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A nighttime Rebetico concert in Karavastamo to follow. Rebetico, according to our hosts in Armenistis, came about with the migration of Turks and Greeks from Izmir after the 1920s. It's at once jovial in the Greek way but with a blue edge.
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Caught a sunset in Nas, overlooking the scattered stones of the temple of Artemis.
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The rocks and sun and sea felt timeless there.
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That was all about Ikaria from Michael and Maya’s little blog. Don’t you find them sweet? I adored them! Other Americans visited two months later, that is in September 2011 and… well, to cut short, they enjoyed the relaxation and the sound of the waves. I am all in for that last!
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It’s summer and I should be doing other things than reviewing and posting. But it has to go like this and get done with wonderful 2011. The next entry will be dedicated to 2012. There’s good stuff there too. Stay tuned!
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Thanks for the new colour and formating codes!
I love them and I hope readers don’t find them too loud.

On the Harmful Effects of Sun, Salt and Sand☺


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There used to be here a pathetic entry about Carlos Castaneda that I deleted. At that time my father had died and I had gone, so to speak, off-hand… But the drawings are cool so I am leaving them in place, You can delete and re-edit a blog entry, you can’t delete a phase in your life.

Nagual  (pronounced nah-wa'hl) - tulpa - monad - モナド by sanchezdot monad-monism by smile 44
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So instead of Castaneda’s suspicious old sophistries, take bright surfmadpig’s Summer of 2005 in Ikaria! I have celebrated her in this blog long ago; it’s time I celebrate her again tonight that I am in so much need of that spirit.
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Ikaria is a Greek island near the Turkish coast. It got its name from the mythological Icarus, son of Daedalus, who escaped the labyrinth of Crete with his father by building wax wings and flying. However, Icarus got excited and flew too close to the sun; his wings melted, he fell into the sea and died. The place where he landed is where I spent the end of July and the whole August.


 

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..Selected pictures from various of her blog entries

Giannis' musical tooth

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pink batmobile on the beach

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tv aquarium in Rebelo bar. always on the best channel in the world.

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giraffe on pumpkin in dimos' cantine.satisfied sausage-shaped creature found on the beach.

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the history of the Icarian Communist Party, found in Leonidas' house.

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nai, auta einai sunthimata.

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messakti beach, ikaria island. a kingdom of sunbathing, music and smiles. and alcohol. half of the days the sea was calm and exotic like the first pic, and the rest we swam in the foamy goodness of the second picture. all the time, though, it was the best move to rid a hangover. & there were some, i admit.

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no time like the present to get ripped apart

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Nana and I, Bikinis and Beers

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That summer was for surfmadpig. Then winter and my turn came.

Eleni 16/5/2012

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Αφιερωμένο στην Αθηνά και σε κανέναν άλλον!


Arriving in Athens and staying indoors and doing stupid things, while I should be in Ikaria. Nana went down with melancholy.

I have a few pictures. I dedicate them to Nana, the 3 rd star of my life. She is actually in a very similar place. I want her to be inspired and to have me inspired back! You others may enjoy our interaction for free..
^^’
 

   

Comments

(4 total)

Aiih, thaaank uuu agapi mas. Both of us liked the collage veeery much!!! We did get *inspired* -especially D.T. We Owe You Back!!! It’s zsuper to know that you watch over us!

Tuesday July 3, 2007 – 01:05pm (EEST)

και γαμώ τα κολαζ! η μικρη μας θεα  Νανα…

Wednesday July 4, 2007 – 12:06am (EEST)

Την τρέλα μου! Εκεί επιμονή. Και θάλασσα… Αφού είπαμε, δεν υπάρχουν θάλασσες.:P

Monday July 16, 2007 – 04:25pm (PDT)

υπαρχουν

Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 01:18pm (PDT)


And beaches I do


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WHITE MAGIC

protected by a
spell and not for sale

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Should I or shouldn’t …I did it again. What a headache that has been! It’s (b)lasted for 2 days…  Whatever… The spell worked. I didn’t take this photo to be in a museum. I protect my topics with whatever I’ve got.  Aooch! (it will go away with a kiss)

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Read the story in more logical (?) terms in

Flickr>> group>> Ikaria>> discussions>> topic:

“The power of some photographs”

not so innocent caravan cantina

ta leme

~eleni~

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Comments

(13 total)

Δεν καταλάβατε τίποτα; Δεν πειράζει. Ούτε κι εγώ. Πάντως η δουλειά έγινε. Κι εγώ όταν τελειώνει μια τέτοια δουλειά, είμαι υποχρεωμένη να δίνω δημόσια αναφορά. Αλλιώς τα ξόρκια χαλάνε.

Thursday June 21, 2007 – 02:25pm (PDT)

I have ready long message to post in Flickr group Ikaria. Revealing a bit of the secret -as we have agreed. Just hope you haven’t changed your mind, oh powerful one.

Saturday June 23, 2007 – 02:39pm (EEST)

Great photo of a gorgeous location! Thank you for sharing it with us. Warmest, Konstantinos

Sunday June 24, 2007 – 04:13pm (EEST)

@ konstantine : I have re-edited the entry and added links. Follow them. It’s an interesting case of how a beautiful photo can save a beautiful place.
@ AKK : Nana sends you her love for what you did in Messakti. She says that in Heiligedamm the leaders of the famous march across the fields were two men around your age.

Sunday June 24, 2007 – 06:55am (PDT)

I had posted an ironic answer (msg#452) when you asked «Does Photography help to preserve the Environment?» in the hikingIkaria group. Now I feel very bad (like a «Doubting Thomas») and I want to do something about it. Let me make the announcement of this incredible «magical realism» story in the group. A COOL PHOTOGRAPH DOES HELP save the environment as long as THE RIGHT PEOPLE are inspired and INVOLVED (:- «spellbound» -:)

(Μπαμπα κουλ γερο πουρό αγγελούκο …η οικογένειά σου κι όλοι οι κοντινοί σου άνθρωποι πρέπει να είναι περήφανοι για σένα. Πραγματικά ήταν ένας οικογενειάρχης σαν κι εσένα αρχηγός στη δική μου φάλαγγα όταν διασχίζαμε τα χωράφια στο Ροστόκ. Από πάνω μας πετούσαν ελικόπτερα -και ψιλοχεζόμουνα ‘egotogrimi’- όμως εκείνος και οι φίλοι του μας οδηγούσαν με αποφασίστικότητα και γνώση κατευθείαν στο στόχο. Το οποίο βέβαια και πέτυχε. Ζήτω το *generation fusion* λοιπόν)

Monday June 25, 2007 – 03:03pm (EEST)

Κάποιοι άνθρωποι πλησιάζοντας τα 50 τους είναι πια σίγουροι γι’ αυτά που αξίζουν στη ζωή. Ο χρόνος μετράει πια αντίστροφα κι αρχίζουν να κτίζουν αυτό που θα αφήσουν πίσω τους. Το μόνο που χρειαζόμαστε είναι έμπνευση. Κι εσείς την παρέχετε άπλετα.

Tuesday June 26, 2007 – 02:25pm (EEST)

I’ve been away so I’m just catching up. Bravo Angele, Effy and Eleni – well done and thanks, great to know things will be unchanged when I visit again…xxx

Tuesday June 26, 2007 – 10:42pm (BST)

Hey Jude! Visiting in September, right? Hope I am there!..

Thursday June 28, 2007 – 10:04am (PDT)

Hi Eleni. I hope so, though it is all a bit vague at the moment and only talked about as something that may or may not happen….(but the vagueness gets weaker as the summer progresses and the rain here doesn’t stop)

PS. A friend of mine runs a small holiday company (www.indigo-holidays.co.uk) and wants me to go to Symi, as that is where her business partner is based ( I do some work for them), but I told her yesterday that if I was to go to Greece at all this year, it has to be Ikaria! So maybe I will extend my trip and do a strange combination of Ikaria followed by symi! That will be very odd.

Wednesday July 4, 2007 – 10:40pm (BST)

Vague? I wish I had so «vague» plans. I live for the next moment righ now. The only thing I know for sure is that I am in Athens and a friend is driving me and Sideraki down to Pireas to take the boat to Ikaria the day after tomorrow. Ah, and that I will find a clean house there too, thanks to Nana. The future will tell for the rest.

Friday July 6, 2007 – 03:49am (PDT)

Ah, Eleni. That is fantastic news. It is better to live for the next moment than be vague….I am so glad you are taking your son Sideraki to Ikaria. It is the best thing for you both, you will be going home. Sto Kalo.

Friday July 6, 2007 – 11:25pm (BST)

Καλό ταξίδι! 🙂

Saturday July 7, 2007 – 08:35pm (EEST)