There are numerous musical instruments that have a history beyond them – from bagpipe to violin in western folk. Bouzouki, the symbol of Greeks from Asia-minor (Rum- in Turkish, referring Eastern Romans/ Byzantium Empire), has one of the most sensational and melodramatic story among all of them.
The Bouzouki was reintroduced and brought to Greece by immigrants from Asia Minor and Turkey in the early 1900's. The Trichordo Bouzouki has three pairs of strings, each pair tuned the same. It is tuned to "re", "la", "re", (d,a,d,) The (re) string is the basis for the melody, while the A and second D strings are used for playing chords. The first bottom (D) string is known as Kantini. The sound of the top (D) string is known as Bourgana. In the olden days, the Bouzouki was tuned to accompany the different modes (styles of songs) being played. This type of tuning is called Ntouzeni (Du-zeni), and is essential to preparation to playing. The bouzouki is played with a pick, but in the past it was played with a feather or a piece of wood carved from a cherry tree. This helps to create the distinctive sound of Bouzouki playing.” (Skordilis, S.)
Du-zeni, düzen means “order” in contemporary Turkish language and it is coming from the Old Turkic “tüzenlik/tüzülük "tertip, intizam" [ Tuhfetu'z Zekiyye fi'l-Lugati't-Türkiyye (1425)”
“Turkish – Adjectivedüzensiz (comparative daha düzensiz, superlative en düzensiz)24th July 1923- the warranty of the new born Turkish Republic, which ended up the war and established the final borders of nowadays Greece and Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Eleftherios Venizelos agreed upon a population exchange policy (mübadele in Turkish, antallagi in Greek) following the peace-keeping endeavors between the two nation-states. “No one asked the opinion of the people affected, of course, though their identities as Greeks and Turks, Christians and Muslims were far less clear-cut than the Lausanne arrangement implied. The Times of London reported in 1923 that “few if any of the Turks in Greece desire to leave,” and Christians in Turkish Cappadocia and Constantinople struggled to exempt their ancient communities from the exchange. Orthodox Christian and Muslim communities had lived side by side, if not always amicably, for centuries before the rise of nationalism, and minority groups had assimilated aspects of the language, customs and religious practices of their birthplaces. Many Ottoman Christians had converted to Islam. In Turkey, some had continued to practice in secret as “crypto-Christians,” and in many cases later returned to Christianity; while in Greece, converts to Islam retained aspects of Christian practice in their Muslim ritual. Such multilayered religious backgrounds could not be easily categorized. Linguistic boundaries were equally blurred. Refugees arriving for the first time in Turkey or Greece felt like strangers in their supposed homelands, often unable even to speak the language, and facing hostility from their new neighbors.” (Cooper, B. 2006) At that time period; Bouzouki, was standing as a mermaid in the endless ocean at where a ship is lost in its route due to the foggy weather. The Anatolian Greeks (Rebetika’s, Rum in Turkish) who had to leave Asia-minör (so were Turks had to leave the mainland Greece) had a shared story (a spiritual person may call this a destiny). The Muslim Cretans , when arrived to the new established Turkish Republic, were not able to express themselves fluently in Turkish, but only in Greek. The same applied to many of the Greeks from Asia-minör. Rebetika’s had saz /bağlama (baglamas in Greek) typed of instruments which were the shared heritage of Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Greeks, Persians and Turks ) – alphabetically ordered. According to the story tellers (an undocumented history), during the population exchange, one of the Greeks got his bağlama broken on the way. The strings on his bağlama’s (baglama in Greek) was teared up and when he arrived to Thesselanoki (Selanik in Turkish- the birth place of Atatürk and Nazım Hikmet) Giannis takes his broken instrument to the repair guy. The handy man responds when he sees the instrument “Bouzoukia vre !” deriven from the word “Bozuk” in Turkish, which means damaged. The repair guy switches the old strings with the new but different kinds. Bouzoukia, then created in its new tune.
“The (baglama) is a smaller version of the Bouzouki. The baglama is tuned (re,la,re) exactly like the (trichordo) Bouzouki. The baglama was an easy instrument to carry because of its small size. Today the baglama is used to add color and to give a precise, distinct, vibrato sound to the composition. In the 1950's the bouzouki with four pairs of strings was introduced. The three strings limited the musician to playing the "Rebetika" songs only. The four strings gave a new dimension to the capabilities of the instrument. The new Bouzouki that was developed in the fifties is named (tetrachordo) and has four pairs of strings that are tuned (c,f,a,d). The chords played on the Bouzouki are the same as a guitar. A distinct characteristic of the Bouzouki is the taxim.”
Samples of Bouzouki Performances:
Cooper Belinda. Sunday Book review , Trading Places (September, 17, 2006)
Skordilis Spiros . Talks about the History of the Bouzouki
Thank you to Cagin Koray for this fascinating guest blog about the history of the Bouzouki, an instrument that most people will recognise yet know little of the history and cultural background.
The Deputy Prime Minister said, in a speech at Oxford this week:
'Isolationists. They are not thinking about Britain's interests. They shroud their narrow nationalism in the language of patriotism. They mask their hostility towards Europe as British bulldog spirit. But these are false patriots.'
I spoke with Adrian Goldberg @RealADGoldberg on BBC WM @BBCWM in a discussion about Nick Clegg's headline-grabbing comment.
Adrian chaired an on-air debate and passionate views were expressed on both sides of the argument. One lady recalled her childhood during WW2 when the skies of Europe were dark with bombers, and declared she is against positive engagement with our partners in Europe.
The bombers darkening the skies of Britain during WW2 were not only Dorniers and Junkers from Germany but also Wellingtons and Lancasters, flying from here to bomb people in Europe. My parents witnessed this two-way traffic during their wartime childhood and members of my family were killed and injured. When I was a child, the skies were still dark with bombers. I remember the way my school-mates would cheer when 'Concorde' flew over our school. I didn't cheer because I knew it wasn't Concorde but a delta-winged Vulcan bomber. And it was armed with a nuclear bomb.
Avro made both the Lancaster bomber of my parents' childhood and the Vulcan bomber of my childhood. Both aircraft threatened friend as much as foe. Our Lancaster bombers killed French and other allied people during WW2 in what is now cruelly dismissed as collateral damage. They also killed thousands of German children who were utterly innocent of any crime and were not responsible in any way for Hitler and the Shoah (Holocaust). The Vulcan bombers I witnessed on a regular basis were threatening the very people who had sacrificed so much to defeat Nazism - Russians, Poles and Czechs. These people were not our enemy. NATO may have been locked in conflict with the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact but the people of those countries remained our friends. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet power, people from Eastern Europe were able to renew our friendship and in some cases, became new neighbours.
We only survived WW2 because of the selfless service of brave people who joined us from all over Europe, from the Commonwealth, and from other allied nations. Mian Khan was barely more than a child when he was killed aged just 17 in 1944. This brave young man, a Muslim from Punjab, gave all his yesterdays so we may all have a peaceful and prosperous tomorrow.
The central inscription on Mian's gravestone says 'He is the forgiver'; the lower is a verse from the Qur'an, 'We are from God, to Him we shall return'. Thank you to Riza Ünal @runal70 for kindly translating the beautiful Arabic script into English.
Out of the dreadful maelstrom of WW2, a dream was born. A dream of a Europe of peace and unity. A dream that the continent would never again be scarred by the cruel claw of war. This is the dream upon which the EU was built. This is the dream that has ensured that we, the people of Europe, continue to solve our conflicts with negotiation and diplomacy and not with bullet and bomb.
I am grateful to Khan and his friends, including my grandfather, for saving us in WW2.
I am grateful for those who built the peace after the war, especially Clement Attlee who also helped to found the UN.
I am grateful for leaders like Angela Merkel who have prevented the division of Europe and the return of war in the chaos following the financial crisis of 2007/2008.
Winston Churchill was an inspirational war leader but he campaigned equally vigorously for peace after 1945. He famously said in 1954 that 'jaw-jaw is always better than war-war'.
A peaceful, united Europe is the embodiment of that sentiment and I always vote to support it.
I am avowedly politically neutral and am personally middle of the road and centrist. I value politicians of all parties who work for unity and prosperity for all. I know many excellent Councillors, MEPs and MPs from the Conservative, Green, Labour and LibDem Parties and also many good independents too. I wish them all well in these elections.
Please vote in the local and European elections on 23 May 2014.
Please vote for a candidate who will work diligently to serve the people.
Please vote for a candidate who supports positive engagement in Europe.
Please vote for peace, prosperity and unity.
Please vote against hatred, division, racism and discrimination. Politicians that promote these views are not only cruel and dangerous but are traitors to our forebears who won the war and built the peace.
Matthew Ward, 21.05.14
The Industrial Revolution began in Britain, in part, due to an accident of geology. All the essential materials could be found together, unlike in other counties with advanced scientific and technical abilities. The pioneers of modern industry combined these essential raw materials with their inventiveness to produce prosperity. The Industrial Revolution only thrived because of railways, enabling the rapid, low-cost movement of materials, people and finished goods between manufacturers and markets. It was this combination of Brains, Steam and Speed that supercharged the Industrial Revolution and made Britain the workshop of the world.
For 63 years, the industrial heritage and history of steam locomotion has been preserved and celebrated by the Talyllyn Railway. Slate from Snowdonia clad the roofs of the world. Where dusty stone-laden wagons once trundled and clattered, visitors from every continent now delight in the glorious landscape of North Wales.
Templeton's Carpet Factory in Glasgow is an industrial building yet was built in the very grandest style. Modeled on the Doge's Palace in Venice, it is a stunning example of industrial optimism.
Thank you to @LoveArchaeology for sharing the great building with us.
To learn more, please visit the website of @rcahms
Further information is in the archives of @GUArchives
If you have a favourite building, please write a guest blog so that everybody can learn from your enthusiasm.
A glamorous French chef called Alexis Soyer was an unlikely hero of the Crimean War. He heard the PBI were suffering from appalling conditions in the front line. Cold and dysentery were killing more men than shot and shell.
Soyer designed a simple but brilliant stove that could use any fuel and cook any food. He also created recipes for cooking hearty food on a massive scale using his eponymous stove.
Here's Soyer's recipe for a huge stew to feed 100 men:
Food for 100 men, using two stoves
Cut or chop 50Lbs. of fresh beef in pieces of about 1/4Lb. each; put in the boiler, with 10 tablespoonfuls of salt, two tablespoonfuls of pepper, four tablespoonfuls of sugar, onions 7 Lbs. cut in slices: light the fire now, and then stir the meat with a spatula, let it stew from 20 to 30 minutes, or till it forms a thick gravy, then add a pound and a half of flour; mix well together, put in the boiler 18 quarts of water, stir well for a minute or two, regulate the stove to a moderate heat, and let simmer for about two hours. Mutton, pork, or veal can be stewed in a similar manner, but will take half an hour less cooking.
Note. A pound of rice may be added with great advantage, ditto plain dumplings, ditto potatoes, as well as mixed vegetables. For a regiment of 1,000 men use 20 stoves.
The Natural History Museum has created a very special exhibition called 'Britain: one million years of the human story' describing the long journey of humanity in the area that is now the UK.
Our journey together starts with the earliest evidence of human habitation here, a collection of flint tools that are one million years old. The exhibition has brought together, for the very first time, all the important archaeological finds of early humans in Britain. These finds are both delicate and priceless, so the curators have ensured there are plenty of replica skulls and tools for visitors to handle, enabling us to meet our ancestors.
The Butchers of Boxgrove are featured with human bones, their tools and butchered animal remains on display. Please do read the excellent book about this archaeological investigation that describes how these people socialised, lived and ate together.
Our ancestors have been brought to life with uncanny accuracy with realistic life-sized models and photos on the walls. Standing face to face with our forbears is a very moving experience and brings home their similarities to us rather than their differences. They appear not as primitives or savages but as our family. A deep mirror of history in which we can see ourselves.
Please visit this excellent exhibition at the Natural History Museum and do heed the wisdom of the curator, our journey together of #1millionyears has only just begun. History is a journey not a destination.
Those who know me well will tell you that my understanding of modern art encompasses anything post-Van Dyke. I'm not very good with 'installations' and struggle horribly with 'the abstract'. However, a new exhibition promising a mix of art and my beloved history was too tempting to resist.
Echoes is a fantastic art/history/culture happening created by Friction Arts in Birmingham. It isn't an art gallery or installation, it isn't a museum or theatre but a very sweet spot between them all. This sweet spot carries the memories of the people who lived and worked in Birmingham and, best of all, stimulates and gathers new memories from all the visitors.
Echoes has been created as a series of rooms from homes, workplaces and play-spaces, all from Birmingham 1960-1990. The rooms are decorated and filled with all the domestic detritus that our lives accrue; photos, china, ornaments and books.
Visitors are not just allowed to explore and examine all the 'stuff' but are positively encouraged to and rewarded with choccies! Because all the 'stuff' is so seemingly mundane and common, it stimulates memories from everyone. We all had a vase like that. We all had a grandad with one of those.
As the visitors explore and interact with all the 'stuff' they also hear reminiscences collected by Friction Arts. Some are played on speakers, others are played on old telephones - pick up the handset and hear a voice telling their story.
What is most wonderful about Echoes is that visitors are part of, not viewers of, the happening. Their memories and reactions are the real event; the installation is just the trigger.
The last room to explore is a Birmingham pub, faithfully recreated down to the right kind of darts. I was able to emulate Al Murray as The Landlord and remember songs from long ago.
Our journey through our own memories concluded with tea, biscuits and a conversation with the creative team of Friction Arts. Art galleries, museums, theatre and heritage are rarely this much fun or as welcoming.
I entered Echoes as a sceptic, experienced it with joy and departed as an enthusiastic advocate.
Please find out more via the website:
The #LineOfKings is a new and exciting exhibition in the Tower of London telling the story of how the armour of Kings was presented from the C17th to the C18th.
The 'Russian doll' story that intrigued me most in the #LineOfKings was the origin of the wooden horses carved and painted to display the armoured Kings. Their origin is being researched at the moment but most were carved in the later C17th. Each one is individual in look, colour and in many cases, construction too. As soon as I saw them a bell rang in my head but the message it chimed was not clear to me until I returned home.
The majority of the horses are posed in a distinctive Renaissance style with one hoof raised and the muscles in tension. This is an artistic tradition of the Renaissance directly inspired by the glory of Rome and by a very famous Emperor.
The statue of Marcus Aurelius is typically Roman in style. Many others have been discovered from the same classical stable, including a marble statue in Herculaneum. Marcus Aurelius is the only equestrian bronze to survive the turmoil of the fall of Rome and mediæval mayhem. Not only that, it was also the only equestrian bronze in Europe for over a thousand years. This has made it uniquely influential and the Adam, as it is a stallion, of the equestrian art that procreated in the Renaissance.
Michelangelo represented the statue in 1538 and sketched it too. The distinctive appearance of this horse then featured in his work and that of da Vinci, Dürer and Donatello. This distinctive Renaissance style symbolises Kingship and power. It is not just a statue of a horse. The wooden horses in the #LineOfKings are part of this tradition and were specifically carved to portray the power of the monarchy.
The C17th horses in #LineOfKings are clearly part of this artistic tradition. Further research across a range of disciplines will reveal more about their precise ages and the artists who created them. A dendro-date is being obtained from one horse and both endoscopy and x-ray analysis are in progress. The paint is being carefully examined to search for dating evidence. This has already shown the horses were stored between the time they were primed and when they were given their final colours. A farrier has looked at their hooves to study the shoes and nails, and in due course a vet will examine their anatomy.
I would like HRP to invite Patrick Baty to examine the horses as he has the relevant expertise to delve deep into their story. Not only is Patrick the preeminent expert on historical paint, he was also an officer of Lancers and is familiar with war horses. Patrick restored the Tudor sculptures at Hampton Court and has an incredible depth of knowledge about Renaissance painted sculptures.
Please do follow Patrick on Twitter @patrickbaty and visit his very useful website http://patrickbaty.co.uk/
Most of all, please visit #LineOfKings at The Tower of London and see the armour, horses and weaponry for yourself.
Follow @HRP_palaces to learn more.
Blanc Mang, from the Forme of Cury, 1390, combined chicken, nuts, rice and spices. It was inspired by the Arabic and Persian inspired foods that were brought back to England by Crusaders. The recipe has obvious parallels with Korma.
Here's the original recipe from 1390 with my modern reinterpretation below.
Take Capouns and seeþ hem, þenne take hem up. take Almandes blaunched. grynd hem and alay hem up with the same broth. cast the mylk in a pot. waisshe rys and do þerto and lat it seeþ. þanne take brawn of Capouns teere it small and do þerto. take white grece sugur and salt and cast þerinne. lat it seeþ. þenne messe it forth and florissh it with aneys in confyt rede oþer whyt. and with Almaundes fryed in oyle. and serue it forth.
In modern English:
Take capons and seethe (boil) them, then take them up. Take blanched almonds. Grind them and chop them up with the same broth. Put milk in a pot. Wash rice and add thereto and let it seethe (boil). Then take the flesh of the capon, chop it small and add thereto. Take white grease (lard), sugar and salt and put them in. Let it seethe. Then mix it up and garnish it with any sweetmeat red or white, and with almonds fried in oil. And serve it forth.
Many different mediæval versions of this recipe exist, often incorporating ginger and saffron. Blanc Mang eventually evolved into blancmange, which was a staple of school dinners when I was a child.
Blanc Mang - my modern version
Stir-fry chopped onions and garlic, add chopped chicken breast and nutmeg and cook through. Cover and take off the heat.
Cook rice with chopped ginger, stock and ground almonds. Once all the liquid has been taken up and the rice cooked, combine with the cooked chicken. Top with chopped coriander, fried flaked almonds and crystallised ginger.
Dine like Richard II and enjoy!