Greece – Five traditional songs and stories from Athens

HRDC have been working with Elderly Open Care Centre of Palaio Faliro, documenting traditional songs that the elders have brought with them from their home villages and towns and using these songs to form networks which have now become small choirs. Three of these choirs, all members over 80, each performed for us.

  1. A potpourri of songs, that are called “kalamatiana”. The “Kalamatianos” is a traditional dance, a type of syrtos dance and it is danced all over Greece.  The dance pattern consists of twelve movements danced simultaneously by all dancers.
  2. “Tzivaeri” – The song is talks migration and expresses the mother’s distress for her children who have migrated.  The meaning of the word “Tzivaeri” is jewel, gold and provides us with an idea of the love a mother has to her children. The mother’s sorrow is endless because she advised her son to migrate due to difficulties but she misses him very much.
  3. “ Tiki tiki tak” - The song is originated from Ionia of Asia Minor. It is a happy love song that express the fears and hopes of the lovers. The first recordings were found in Smyrna in 1911 and in Istanbul in 1913.
  4. “I don’t want you anymore” - The song is urban style song, coming from Smyrna, Asia Minor.  The song is about a woman who doesn’t want her  husband/lover anymore because he makes her suffer. The first recording was found in old Smyrna somewhere in 1908.
  5. “Farewell, Virgin Mary” - It is perhaps the best known and the most traditional Greek song. The locations mentioned in the song are areas of Istanbul former Konstantinopolis. It is referring to some villages near the area and it is referring to the Virgin Mary explaining the activities that she would like to do in those villages.

Greek Songs – 1 from UCA on Vimeo.

Greek Songs – 2 from UCA on Vimeo.

Greek Songs – 3 from UCA on Vimeo.

Greek Songs – 4 from UCA on Vimeo.

Greek Songs – 5 from UCA on Vimeo.

Athens January Conference – Lesley Millar

Just back from the Project Meeting in Athens on January 9th. We arrived to discover it had been snowing – in Athens! The Project Meeting went extremely well with lots of exciting plans for the future in Italy, Denmark and Poland.

On January 10th HRDC had organised a conference, attended by over 100 delegates, with speakers representing various organisations working with the Elders. We were welcomed by Mr Fostiropoulos, Deputy Mayor for Municipality of Paleo Faliro who were hosting the conference.

The first presentation was from Mrs Petropoulou from the Centre of Open Protection for the Elderly, who spoke about the position of the Elder in society and the work of her organisation. She was followed by the President of the Women’s Literary Team, Mrs Eleni Tsialts, who spoke eloquently about the importance of writing and the visual links between printed words on the page and lace. The third presentation was from Dr. Antonis Mougias from the Hellenic Psychogeriatric Association, who gave us the sombre statistics around dementia and Alzheimer’s – a presentation that provoked lively responses from the audience, most of whom were drawn from the community of the elder. Next was Professor Ziogas who spoke of his new career since retirement, that of developing a wine from pomegranates, a fruit which has extraordinary health giving properties. His harvest this year has produced 500 bottles, one of which he brought for us to taste, and it was delicious.

Then came the highlight of the conference, the outcome of the Greek Transparent Boundaries project. HRDC have been working with Elderly Open Care Centre of Palaio Faliro, documenting traditional songs that the elders have brought with them from their home villages and towns and using these songs to form networks which have now become small choirs. Three of these choirs, all members over 80, each performed for us. For those of us present it was an extraordinarily moving experience and we thank the members of these choirs for their generosity and energy of performance.

Greek Songs – 5 from UCA on Vimeo.

The performances were followed by a reading of one of many poems created by the participants from ‘memory’ workshops enabled by HRDC and the Women’s Literacy Team. Finally each of the Transparent Boundaries project members gave a brief summary of their particular project.

Poem created by Eleni Tsialta from the material collected from the workshop discussions:

Lace in the Window
My little rose in the window,
cool water I give you, but you keep fading.
Where are the days you blossomed, and your pot was smiling?
Why not blossom? Why not laugh? Why not sweet smelling?
If you have put me in your pot, and in your heart closet,
take a thread, a tiny thread, and take also a chrochet.
A rose tiny and white for angels to protect it.
make for the window, a valance out of lace.

You’ll have to watch if I leave, you’ll have to see if I fade
and with the sunset breeze to wave the lace.
And when you’re grown white, from that your own hands
I will be found by a young girl, your own granddaughter.

Transparent Boundaries Colloquium – UCA – Friday 26th October 2012

You are invited to join a Colloquium - 11.30 – 17.00 hrs, Friday October 26th 2012  - University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, Surrey UK

Transparent Boundaries is an EU project bringing together partners from the UK, Denmark, Greece and Italy in multi-disciplinary arts project exploring and responding to:

Where are the older people and why doesn’t society recognize their presence more in popular culture? (Dr. Don A. Grady, Elon University, North Carolina).

The community of the Elder is a trans-national and cross-cultural invisible web of connection. The demographic in developed countries is one of an increasing, and increasingly, aging population with many born today who will live to 100 and beyond. Societal attitudes to the elder differ from culture to culture, but in many countries there is an almost total non-representation in the media, except when problems occur.

In 2007 the world organisation The Elders was formed: an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights. An Elder is a changemaker – someone who can lead by example, creating positive social change and inspiring others to do the same. The generation who are now entering the age of the Elder is composed of those who have been born since 1945.  This is a generation who have pro-actively shaped the culture in which they have lived, changing attitudes to the young, to women, to sexuality, to work and to the family. They have been politically active and used to seeing themselves represented in the media. There is no evidence that the force for change that this generation embodies is diminishing through age.

Transparent Boundaries is about seizing a moment, changing attitudes, providing possibilities – now. The project makes links across cultures and between generations, finding ways to increase the visibility of the Elder as a vital force with a cultural contribution and impact to be included and referenced. This is a project of empowerment, which will take micro and macro approaches to create a place and space for dialogue and a new kind of visibility through relationships that function between and across cultures.

The Project is in its earliest stages: the first workshops, run by UCA, are currently taking place. At this Colloquium, Project Partners will discuss their approaches each taking lace net-works as their leitmotif, which include dance, mapping, lace, net-works, song and poetry. There will also be a presentation from Australian artist, Fiona Davies who will discuss her exhibition ‘Blood on Silk’ in the James Hockey Gallery, UCA, Farnham, and from the organisation RHL on their Age No Barrier project.


We would be delighted if you would join us and put forward your thoughts which will inform the development of the project. There is no charge to attend but booking is essential as space is limited. Please click on the link to register Transparent Boundaries Colloquium – Friday 26th October 2012

For further information please contact: 
or phone +44 (0) 1227 817435 / 817432

Across the generations in Hellenic society

Through folklore singing Hellenic Regional Development- Greece will approach the elderly and record their views in the European identity, their perception on today’s reality and cultural setting in which they live. Folklore song and poetry will give us the opportunity to approach from an artistic point of view different generations and formulate a coherent opinion on what degree the elderly are integrated with other generations and within the Hellenic society.

The Folklore song

The Folklore song maintained live until today and was incorporated effortless and functional in the cultural present of population. Folklore music constitutes a complex creation from poetry, melody and musical escort. It was born and it was developed by populations uneducated to transfer information on social structures through morphological, cognitive and thematic treatments of centuries.

The traditional folklore songs expresses the fights, the desires, the cheerful or difficult moments of population, the heroisms, but also the politeness and the superiority of the soul and create the feeling that they belong and express everyone. One of their particularities is that place and time do not function bindingly. It is that exact characteristic that gives us the opportunity to consider that folklore song can work metaphorically as Lace-Networks where boundaries of time and place are easier to overcome.