Ego thelo prigkipesa

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At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe is living in peace and prosperity. The “Belle Époque” is an outgrowth of previous important historical events and developments. The networks that are created and which evolve funnel both people and their products, tangible and intangible. It is within this multi-layered world that sound recording and sound reproduction is invented. Early record labels send mobile crews literally all over the world to record local musicians. The range of the repertoire is endless. Cosmopolitanism in large urban centers favors polystylisms and polymorphisms. Colonialism, revolutions, conflicts, refugee flows; the theater, cinema, radio, photography, orchestras’ tours, but also circulations in all kinds of commercial channels in a world that evolves dynamically and anisotropically, form a complex network of “centers” and “peripheries” in alternating roles setting musical idioms in motion, both literally and figuratively. The network in which the Greek-speaking urban popular song participates, constantly conversing with its co-tenants, is magnificent. Discography has already provided important tools in understanding the relationships that developed between “national” repertoires. The result of this ongoing research is “Cosmopolitanism in Greek Historical Discography”.

We stumble upon wandering musical tunes in various places in Europe, Africa, Asia and America, where local musicians appropriate and reconstruct them. In addition to these, the mutual influences concern the performance practices, the instrumentation, the rhythm, the harmonization, the vocal placement and, in general, the habits that each musician carries in him/her. Repertoires are deterritorialized and mixed with others, which take on supralocal characteristics. Musicians are often on the move within multicultural empires, serving diverse repertoires and coming from heterogeneous ethno-cultural groups. This “convergence” of geographical coordinates is accompanied by another one, the “convergence” of internal cultural “coordinates”. These are the fields of scholar and popular music, which have traditionally been treated not only as independent, but also as segmented. The popular and the scholar enter into a creative dialogue in a variety of ways, introducing in-between “places” depending on historical conditions.


An excellent example of the “wandering” tunes, which come in a variety of versions, areas, periods and contexts. The music of the song was first recorded, based on the findings so far, in Lithuania, by Jewish musicians, in 1910. Since then, the tune is found in historical discography at least 21 more times, recorded in America, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Romania and Croatia. It is found both as a song and as an instrumental version.

In Greek discography, there are five different covers. It was originally recorded under the title “Gerontaki
” (oldster), with music and lyrics by Panagiotis Tountas, around 1932. In 1936, Tountas re-recorded it under the title “Ego thelo prigkipessa” (I want a princess, this record). The inspiration for this very popular version is due to the evolution of the unprecedented romance between the sister of the King of Iraq Princess Izade Faisal, and the hotel clerk from Rhodes (hailing from the island of Symi) Tasos Charalampous. The romance had started about a year ago, during the princess’ vacation in Rhodes. It led the two protagonists to run off and get married secretly, after Izade was first baptized a Christian. Eventually, they broke up for reasons beyond their feelings (diplomatic relations, inheritance issues in the management of Iraq’s oil fields, etc.). Journalists, in fact, were informed about the incident due to a report of Izade’s sister to the police. Izade had left a letter to her sister, with whom she was on vacation, stating that she ran off with her lover… Undoubtedly, if one studies the news stories of the time, the lyrics of Tounta’s song take on a new meaning.

Between 1938–1939, the song was recorded in Constantinople (Istanbul) with singer Mitsos Kyriakopoulos and Fehmi Ege’s orchestra (CTZ 5684 – RT 17385).

Giannis Kyriazis’ recording, which took place in Athens in 1975 in a new aesthetic context, should also be noted. What is stunning about this recording is that, in the insert and on the label of the album, the song seemed to appear as a composition of Kyriazis himself… However, the album was re-released in 2009, on CD format, produced under the supervision of Giorgos Tsampras. In this version, the song was attributed to Panagiotis Tountas (Zodiac YZP 88051 – SYZP 88051 / SYLP 3027).

In 1974, the following interesting incident occurred: Charis Alexiou recorded a song by Vasilis Vasileiadis, an innovative composer of the time, with lyrics by Pythagoras. The collector Kostas Chatzidoulis called him a “famous robber of rebetiko songs” (1979: 38). The song sung by Alexiou was entitled “Pos to lene”, and used the same melody as “Ego thelo prigkipesa” with different lyrics (Minos 7XGO 6321 – MIN 5578).

Regarding the recordings made outside of Greece, see for example:

The album-collection entitled “Chekhov's Band, Eastern European Klezmer music from the EMI archives 1908–1913”, produced under the supervision of Michael Aylward and Joel Rubin, contains a recording entitled “Караимскія пурри” (Karaite medley)
It is an instrumental piece recorded by Zonophone in Vilnius, the current capital of Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, in March 1910. The song was played by the city’s municipal theater orchestra, conducted by Meir Mordukh Stupel (X 60861-60862 – 14505 a-b).

In July 1927, Mijat Mijatović recorded the song “Moja mati ćilim tka” (
H 2162 – D 30987), for Columbia. The recording was re-issued in America between 1930–1931 (130129 – 1178 F). Dušan Popaza’s gypsy orchestra participated with him. The aesthetically similar recording at Edison Bell Penkala Electron records took place in Zagreb, probably in 1929, as the title of the song can be found in the company's annual catalog. Gj. Gjorgjevića’s gypsy orchestra participated in this recording (Edison Bell Electron Penkala Z 726 – Z 1412). The third Serbian recording, for which we have the audio evidence, was performed by Edo Ljubić in Chicago, on February 3, 1942 (Victor BS 074030-1). We have not found a catalog code yet, and after contacting Dick Spotswood, an expert on historical discography in America, we can assume that the recording was never released.

The next recording comes from the Ukrainian repertoire recorded in America. More specifically, Dymytro Kornienko’s Ukrainian orchestra, recorded in New York, around June 1929, the instrumental song entitled “Румунка коломийка” (Rumunka Kolomyjka: Okeh 
15588 – W 402436).

From the data available to us, it appears that the next recording was performed by the gypsy Romanian violinist Grigoraș Dinicu in Bucharest, on February 28 1939, for Gramophone. The recording may have been released directly and exclusively in America. Title of the instrumental song: "
Cine-a pus carciuma-n drum", that is, “The one who planted the tavern on the street”, based on the translation advice given by Speranța Rădulescu, or “The tavern on the hills”, based on Victor’s label (0HR476 – JB 293). Worth-mentioned is the music score, found in the National Library of Romania, which contains the tune in question, published in 1890 under the title "Ardeleanca".

In October 1946, in New York, for Columbia, the recording entitled “Gib mir Bessarabia”, that is, “Give me Bessarabia” (
CO 37069 – 8242 F), took place. Contributors: Aaron Lebedeff and Sholom Secunda’s orchestra.

From the archives of the Hungarian Parliament and the Musicology Institute come the next three, non-commercial recordings actualized by Kiss Lajos, Lévayné Gábor Judit and Tari Lujza, recording Karsai Zsigmond, Lebó Sándor and Turla Péterné Telekán Teréz respectively. The first recording, with the initial lyrics ‘Cine-a făcut crâșma-n drum, mândrulița mea’, was made on 4 January 1955, in the village of Pécel in Hungary. In the recording card, the village Lőrincréve in present-day Romania is listed as the place of origin. The second recording, with Lebó Sándor and with the initial lyrics ‘Kövecses tó partján sírdogál valaki’, was made on 3 May 1955, in the village Bácsbokod, again in Hungary as well. The place of origin of the song, however, the village Naszvad in present-day Slovakia is stated. The third recording, with Turla Péterné Telekán Teréz and the initial lyrics ‘Şti tiu bade cerice’, is more modern and was made on 29 January 1978, in the village Elek, in present-day Hungary, exactly on the border with Romania, in the southeast.

For the complete story of the tune and its discographical history in Greece and abroad, see Ordoulidis (2020) and Ordoulidis (2021b).

Research and text: Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Tountas Panagiotis
Singer(s):
Perpiniadis Stellakis
Orchestra-Performers:
Jovan Tsaous band
Recording date:
06/1936
Recording location:
Athens
Language(s):
Greek
Dance / Rhythm:
Chasapiko
Publisher:
His Master's Voice
Catalogue number:
AO 2319
Matrix number:
OGA 377-1
Duration:
3:10
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
HMV_AO2319_EgoTheloPringipessa
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Ego thelo prigkipesa", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=10816

At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe is living in peace and prosperity. The “Belle Époque” is an outgrowth of previous important historical events and developments. The networks that are created and which evolve funnel both people and their products, tangible and intangible. It is within this multi-layered world that sound recording and sound reproduction is invented. Early record labels send mobile crews literally all over the world to record local musicians. The range of the repertoire is endless. Cosmopolitanism in large urban centers favors polystylisms and polymorphisms. Colonialism, revolutions, conflicts, refugee flows; the theater, cinema, radio, photography, orchestras’ tours, but also circulations in all kinds of commercial channels in a world that evolves dynamically and anisotropically, form a complex network of “centers” and “peripheries” in alternating roles setting musical idioms in motion, both literally and figuratively. The network in which the Greek-speaking urban popular song participates, constantly conversing with its co-tenants, is magnificent. Discography has already provided important tools in understanding the relationships that developed between “national” repertoires. The result of this ongoing research is “Cosmopolitanism in Greek Historical Discography”.

We stumble upon wandering musical tunes in various places in Europe, Africa, Asia and America, where local musicians appropriate and reconstruct them. In addition to these, the mutual influences concern the performance practices, the instrumentation, the rhythm, the harmonization, the vocal placement and, in general, the habits that each musician carries in him/her. Repertoires are deterritorialized and mixed with others, which take on supralocal characteristics. Musicians are often on the move within multicultural empires, serving diverse repertoires and coming from heterogeneous ethno-cultural groups. This “convergence” of geographical coordinates is accompanied by another one, the “convergence” of internal cultural “coordinates”. These are the fields of scholar and popular music, which have traditionally been treated not only as independent, but also as segmented. The popular and the scholar enter into a creative dialogue in a variety of ways, introducing in-between “places” depending on historical conditions.


An excellent example of the “wandering” tunes, which come in a variety of versions, areas, periods and contexts. The music of the song was first recorded, based on the findings so far, in Lithuania, by Jewish musicians, in 1910. Since then, the tune is found in historical discography at least 21 more times, recorded in America, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Romania and Croatia. It is found both as a song and as an instrumental version.

In Greek discography, there are five different covers. It was originally recorded under the title “Gerontaki
” (oldster), with music and lyrics by Panagiotis Tountas, around 1932. In 1936, Tountas re-recorded it under the title “Ego thelo prigkipessa” (I want a princess, this record). The inspiration for this very popular version is due to the evolution of the unprecedented romance between the sister of the King of Iraq Princess Izade Faisal, and the hotel clerk from Rhodes (hailing from the island of Symi) Tasos Charalampous. The romance had started about a year ago, during the princess’ vacation in Rhodes. It led the two protagonists to run off and get married secretly, after Izade was first baptized a Christian. Eventually, they broke up for reasons beyond their feelings (diplomatic relations, inheritance issues in the management of Iraq’s oil fields, etc.). Journalists, in fact, were informed about the incident due to a report of Izade’s sister to the police. Izade had left a letter to her sister, with whom she was on vacation, stating that she ran off with her lover… Undoubtedly, if one studies the news stories of the time, the lyrics of Tounta’s song take on a new meaning.

Between 1938–1939, the song was recorded in Constantinople (Istanbul) with singer Mitsos Kyriakopoulos and Fehmi Ege’s orchestra (CTZ 5684 – RT 17385).

Giannis Kyriazis’ recording, which took place in Athens in 1975 in a new aesthetic context, should also be noted. What is stunning about this recording is that, in the insert and on the label of the album, the song seemed to appear as a composition of Kyriazis himself… However, the album was re-released in 2009, on CD format, produced under the supervision of Giorgos Tsampras. In this version, the song was attributed to Panagiotis Tountas (Zodiac YZP 88051 – SYZP 88051 / SYLP 3027).

In 1974, the following interesting incident occurred: Charis Alexiou recorded a song by Vasilis Vasileiadis, an innovative composer of the time, with lyrics by Pythagoras. The collector Kostas Chatzidoulis called him a “famous robber of rebetiko songs” (1979: 38). The song sung by Alexiou was entitled “Pos to lene”, and used the same melody as “Ego thelo prigkipesa” with different lyrics (Minos 7XGO 6321 – MIN 5578).

Regarding the recordings made outside of Greece, see for example:

The album-collection entitled “Chekhov's Band, Eastern European Klezmer music from the EMI archives 1908–1913”, produced under the supervision of Michael Aylward and Joel Rubin, contains a recording entitled “Караимскія пурри” (Karaite medley)
It is an instrumental piece recorded by Zonophone in Vilnius, the current capital of Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, in March 1910. The song was played by the city’s municipal theater orchestra, conducted by Meir Mordukh Stupel (X 60861-60862 – 14505 a-b).

In July 1927, Mijat Mijatović recorded the song “Moja mati ćilim tka” (
H 2162 – D 30987), for Columbia. The recording was re-issued in America between 1930–1931 (130129 – 1178 F). Dušan Popaza’s gypsy orchestra participated with him. The aesthetically similar recording at Edison Bell Penkala Electron records took place in Zagreb, probably in 1929, as the title of the song can be found in the company's annual catalog. Gj. Gjorgjevića’s gypsy orchestra participated in this recording (Edison Bell Electron Penkala Z 726 – Z 1412). The third Serbian recording, for which we have the audio evidence, was performed by Edo Ljubić in Chicago, on February 3, 1942 (Victor BS 074030-1). We have not found a catalog code yet, and after contacting Dick Spotswood, an expert on historical discography in America, we can assume that the recording was never released.

The next recording comes from the Ukrainian repertoire recorded in America. More specifically, Dymytro Kornienko’s Ukrainian orchestra, recorded in New York, around June 1929, the instrumental song entitled “Румунка коломийка” (Rumunka Kolomyjka: Okeh 
15588 – W 402436).

From the data available to us, it appears that the next recording was performed by the gypsy Romanian violinist Grigoraș Dinicu in Bucharest, on February 28 1939, for Gramophone. The recording may have been released directly and exclusively in America. Title of the instrumental song: "
Cine-a pus carciuma-n drum", that is, “The one who planted the tavern on the street”, based on the translation advice given by Speranța Rădulescu, or “The tavern on the hills”, based on Victor’s label (0HR476 – JB 293). Worth-mentioned is the music score, found in the National Library of Romania, which contains the tune in question, published in 1890 under the title "Ardeleanca".

In October 1946, in New York, for Columbia, the recording entitled “Gib mir Bessarabia”, that is, “Give me Bessarabia” (
CO 37069 – 8242 F), took place. Contributors: Aaron Lebedeff and Sholom Secunda’s orchestra.

From the archives of the Hungarian Parliament and the Musicology Institute come the next three, non-commercial recordings actualized by Kiss Lajos, Lévayné Gábor Judit and Tari Lujza, recording Karsai Zsigmond, Lebó Sándor and Turla Péterné Telekán Teréz respectively. The first recording, with the initial lyrics ‘Cine-a făcut crâșma-n drum, mândrulița mea’, was made on 4 January 1955, in the village of Pécel in Hungary. In the recording card, the village Lőrincréve in present-day Romania is listed as the place of origin. The second recording, with Lebó Sándor and with the initial lyrics ‘Kövecses tó partján sírdogál valaki’, was made on 3 May 1955, in the village Bácsbokod, again in Hungary as well. The place of origin of the song, however, the village Naszvad in present-day Slovakia is stated. The third recording, with Turla Péterné Telekán Teréz and the initial lyrics ‘Şti tiu bade cerice’, is more modern and was made on 29 January 1978, in the village Elek, in present-day Hungary, exactly on the border with Romania, in the southeast.

For the complete story of the tune and its discographical history in Greece and abroad, see Ordoulidis (2020) and Ordoulidis (2021b).

Research and text: Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Tountas Panagiotis
Singer(s):
Perpiniadis Stellakis
Orchestra-Performers:
Jovan Tsaous band
Recording date:
06/1936
Recording location:
Athens
Language(s):
Greek
Dance / Rhythm:
Chasapiko
Publisher:
His Master's Voice
Catalogue number:
AO 2319
Matrix number:
OGA 377-1
Duration:
3:10
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
HMV_AO2319_EgoTheloPringipessa
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Ego thelo prigkipesa", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=10816

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