Next >>
Preview: --- Greece & Romania

"Pure folk music is the spontaneous expression of the musical feelings of a community, a community which is more or less isolated from the higher and artificial civilization, especially from the civilization of the towns."

Bela Bartok (1940)

photographs by Shane Solow

Before setting out on my journey to illustrate Herodotus with photographs I realized that this search would take me to many remote places where a sense of community still exists. I hoped that I might still perceive some currents of true folk art, and hence folk music, alive in some of these places. With this in mind I packed a digital audio tape recorder and the best microphone I could get and set off. Although it took some time and lots of frustrating false leads it was finally my good fortune to encounter some practitioners of genuine local traditional music.

These chance encounters were aided by many people who were kind enough to steer me in the right direction, and of course by the musicians themselves who were all unfailingly generous in not only allowing me to record and photograph their revelry but in making me feel very welcome as well.

These rare musicians play from their hearts and are heroes in my eyes in that they carry on a tradition of their fathers in an environment inundated with popular music and the pressures to conform, as well as the encroachment of amplification and non-traditional instruments. Sometimes the music adapts to these changes and something good comes out, as on the island of Ikaria where, despite the use of an electric organ and an amplifier, one group managed nonetheless to create a bridge to traditional melodies within this context. Unfortunately this is the rarest of things and in every other occasion I felt it necessary to seek out those few who remain true to the old ways.

In Greece, some Athenian musicians perform authentic rembétika, the "Greek blues"; two brothers on the island of Karpathos play lyra and tsambouna, and a duo from the island of Leros play lute and violin. From Romania you will hear two very different but equally fascinating Transylvanian gypsy groups, one of which sounds like a combination of jazz and late Beethoven. Also, I recorded a performance of the unique music of Maramures, Romania's "country music" heartland.

In the coming months we will present recordings of these musicians, along with photographs, interviews and stories.

photographs by Shane Solow © 2001--2002 Lost Trails>

If you are interested in purchasing
these or other photographs
please contact us at
or click
here for order form