Vals Oraion Ochaio

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In the 1860s, when the American Civil War breaks out with the racist slave trade at stake, North America had already turned into an unprecedented cultural melting pot. In any case, the movement of populations to the “New World” (sometimes forcibly and sometimes voluntarily) and the multinational settlement and colonization was a constant condition that started from the 16th century and defined the history of the continent. In essence, the now post-Civil War presidential confederation of states, the United States of America, is a microcosm of the globe: a “successful Babel”. Naturally, a unique syncretism also dominates in the field of music. The genesis of discography builds a condition that favors conversation and osmosis between the innumerable ethno-cultural groups that make up the population. These processes will lead to the reinterpretation, updating and renewal of old musical trends that arrive in the United States, and, at the same time, to their re-exportation to the “old worlds”, thus setting up a uniquely multi-layered network. Richard Spottswood’s now monumental multi-volume work “Ethnic Music on Records” vividly reflects the extraordinary record production in the USA. 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 enter into a creative dialogue in a variety of ways, and often introduce in-between and/or new “places”. The contribution of forcibly transported slaves from the African continent to the musical scene of America, and especially their role in the formation of the genres that are now considered as part of the “national music of the USA”, was more than crucial. Folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, soul, jazz, fox trot, rock ‘n roll, charleston, minstrel show, but also symphonic music, waltz, tango, music for the cinema, Italian, Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish-speaking and other idioms are recorded and flood the global record market. In this endless body of recordings, we come across instances where Greek-speaking musicians arrange American songs. This appropriation is twofold: on the one hand are the lyrics, which are now in Greek (often, in fact, they has nothing to do with the original ones), and, on the other hand, the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms and in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapt what they hear to their own condition and aesthetics, based on their own capabilities and needs.

This recording is an adaptation with Greek lyrics of the American song "Beautiful Ohio", set to music by Mary Earl, one of the pseudonyms used by Robert A. King, and lyrics by Ballard MacDonald.

The musical score was published in 1918, in New York, by the Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc. publishing house.

It was recorded many times in American historical discography (see, for example, here). Among the earliest recordings were those made on September 4, 1918 in New York by the Prince's Orchestra (Columbia 49490 - A6081), and, a little later, on November 20, 1918, in the same city, by Henry Burr (Columbia 78183 - A2701).

The instrumental or song version of the song can also be found in historical discographies of other countries:

- "Lykkelige timer", Orpheum Duo, Oslo, August 8, 1919 (Gramophone 5835ak - 7-289039)
- "Lyckiga stund", Torsten Lennartsson, Stockholm, November 18, 1919 (Gramophone 300am - 7-82078)
- "Lykkelige timer", Axel Boesen, Copenhagen, November 26, 1919 (Gramophone 358am - 7-282249)
- Black Diamonds Band, London, 1920 (Gramophone y 21917 e -  X-2-40342 1993)
- "Hermoso Ohio", El Loco Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel], Germany, 1954 (Polydor D 2674 - 200-104 B)
- "Lykkelige timer", Åse Wentzel og Thor Raymond,  Norway, 1955 (Odeon CLN 460 - ND 7263)

According to the data collected so far, it is the only recording of the song in Greek historical discography.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[English lyrics: MacDonald Ballard Greek lyrics: Unknown]
Singer(s):
Papagkika Marika
Orchestra-Performers:
Violin (Makedonas Athanasios), cello (Sifnios Markos), cimbalom (Papagkikas Kostas)
Recording date:
07/1919
Recording location:
New York
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Columbia (USA)
Catalogue number:
E-4779
Matrix number:
85354-1
Duration:
2:58
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_E4779_ValsOraionOchaio
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Vals Oraion Ochaio", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=11127

In the 1860s, when the American Civil War breaks out with the racist slave trade at stake, North America had already turned into an unprecedented cultural melting pot. In any case, the movement of populations to the “New World” (sometimes forcibly and sometimes voluntarily) and the multinational settlement and colonization was a constant condition that started from the 16th century and defined the history of the continent. In essence, the now post-Civil War presidential confederation of states, the United States of America, is a microcosm of the globe: a “successful Babel”. Naturally, a unique syncretism also dominates in the field of music. The genesis of discography builds a condition that favors conversation and osmosis between the innumerable ethno-cultural groups that make up the population. These processes will lead to the reinterpretation, updating and renewal of old musical trends that arrive in the United States, and, at the same time, to their re-exportation to the “old worlds”, thus setting up a uniquely multi-layered network. Richard Spottswood’s now monumental multi-volume work “Ethnic Music on Records” vividly reflects the extraordinary record production in the USA. 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 enter into a creative dialogue in a variety of ways, and often introduce in-between and/or new “places”. The contribution of forcibly transported slaves from the African continent to the musical scene of America, and especially their role in the formation of the genres that are now considered as part of the “national music of the USA”, was more than crucial. Folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, soul, jazz, fox trot, rock ‘n roll, charleston, minstrel show, but also symphonic music, waltz, tango, music for the cinema, Italian, Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish-speaking and other idioms are recorded and flood the global record market. In this endless body of recordings, we come across instances where Greek-speaking musicians arrange American songs. This appropriation is twofold: on the one hand are the lyrics, which are now in Greek (often, in fact, they has nothing to do with the original ones), and, on the other hand, the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms and in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapt what they hear to their own condition and aesthetics, based on their own capabilities and needs.

This recording is an adaptation with Greek lyrics of the American song "Beautiful Ohio", set to music by Mary Earl, one of the pseudonyms used by Robert A. King, and lyrics by Ballard MacDonald.

The musical score was published in 1918, in New York, by the Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. Inc. publishing house.

It was recorded many times in American historical discography (see, for example, here). Among the earliest recordings were those made on September 4, 1918 in New York by the Prince's Orchestra (Columbia 49490 - A6081), and, a little later, on November 20, 1918, in the same city, by Henry Burr (Columbia 78183 - A2701).

The instrumental or song version of the song can also be found in historical discographies of other countries:

- "Lykkelige timer", Orpheum Duo, Oslo, August 8, 1919 (Gramophone 5835ak - 7-289039)
- "Lyckiga stund", Torsten Lennartsson, Stockholm, November 18, 1919 (Gramophone 300am - 7-82078)
- "Lykkelige timer", Axel Boesen, Copenhagen, November 26, 1919 (Gramophone 358am - 7-282249)
- Black Diamonds Band, London, 1920 (Gramophone y 21917 e -  X-2-40342 1993)
- "Hermoso Ohio", El Loco Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel], Germany, 1954 (Polydor D 2674 - 200-104 B)
- "Lykkelige timer", Åse Wentzel og Thor Raymond,  Norway, 1955 (Odeon CLN 460 - ND 7263)

According to the data collected so far, it is the only recording of the song in Greek historical discography.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[English lyrics: MacDonald Ballard Greek lyrics: Unknown]
Singer(s):
Papagkika Marika
Orchestra-Performers:
Violin (Makedonas Athanasios), cello (Sifnios Markos), cimbalom (Papagkikas Kostas)
Recording date:
07/1919
Recording location:
New York
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Columbia (USA)
Catalogue number:
E-4779
Matrix number:
85354-1
Duration:
2:58
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_E4779_ValsOraionOchaio
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Vals Oraion Ochaio", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=11127

See also