Karotsieris

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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”.

The present-day region of Romania, and especially the historical part of Wallachia, developed strong ties with the Greek-speaking world, at least since the time when the Ottoman Sultan in Constantinople (Istanbul) appointed Greek-speaking Orthodox Phanariotes as its governors. After all, it is no coincidence that the male populations from the Greek-speaking lands, mainly from the region of Epirus, migrated to the region of Romania. The results of these connections are visible even in today’s active repertoires, such as, for example, in the region of Zagori. In the urban popular actualizations, as those appeared in Greek discography, the cases that demonstrate the relationships that developed between the dances of the doina, the hora and the sirba with their Greek counterparts, that is, the skaros, the hasapiko and the serviko, are noteworthy (see in detail the extremely interesting text by Giorgos Kokkonis, 2017b: 133-161). These vast entities are found en masse, even in the “shifts” part of the à la greca manedes, that is, in their last part. Besides, there are plenty sources that name the then famous violinist Govanikas, who was born in the island of Mytilene and lived for several years in the town of Galatsi in Romania, as the musician who established the legendary “Minore” in Smyrna [Izmir]. In addition, encounters between the Greek-speaking Orthodox and the Eastern Ashkenazi Jews were also witnessed in the Romanian territories. The products of these inter-influences are also visible in historical discography. We should not forget the geographical position of Romania, since it is a key hub of the routes that start from the Baltic and reach the Mediterranean, but also from the center of Europe to the Russian Empire. In such context, 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. Discography is not only embedded in this context, but plays a key role in its transformation.

Giorgos Kokkonis writes about "Karotsieris" (or Karotseris) (2017: 136 and 148–150), attempting "a first approach to the penetration of Romanian folk music traditions in the Greek corresponding ones, based on discographical sources […] The song seems to have been particularly well-known in Constantinople (Istanbul) and, in fact, realted to the district of Kurtuluş (formerly known as Tatavla meaning 'horse stable'). The melody, however, predates: it is the famous 'Hora Morii', also known as 'La Moara la harta-scarta', whose theme was used by George Enescu in 1901 in his first Rhapsody (Romanian Rhapsody No 1 in A major, Op. 11) [see here at 05:48''], incorporating folk melodies from the lăutari tradition. To whom does the paternity of this particular melody belong? The question is difficult to answer, given the oral dissemination and the constant 'renegotiation' of the musical content of folk traditions such as this one, which are spread over a large geographical area. Researchers lay emphasis on the location of the earliest recording, however, as much as it sheds light on the routes of dissemination, it is not enough to confirm its origin. In this particular example, the complete structure in the performance of the song from the lăutari tradition is what primarily makes its origin from there obvious. What is particularly interesting, however, is that musicians from Constantinople not only appropriated the derivative melodies, but also 'capitalized' on them as an element of identity, through discography; thus, they became known as Politiko chasapiko [see herehere and here], Tatavliano chasapiko [see here and here], Galatiano chasapiko [see here] and Politiko syrto [see hereherehere and here]. In all the above, the melodies are either common or varied, but they are maintaining the characteristic rhythmic and morphological composition which defines the duo chasapiko-sirba (Serbian)".

The musical theme of “Karotseris” has been extremely popular in the Greek-speaking repertoire; as a result, it appears in other songs as a small, transitional theme. See for example: “
To kalokairi tora”, “I Marika i daskala”, “Fotia kai niata”, “Tampachaniotikos manes” (shift), “Akou Duce mou ta nea”, “Varvara”, "Romaiiko glenti".

An extremelly interesting recording comes from the archive of Stavros Kourousis. This recording, which was most possibly made in Milan, can be found in the CD that accompanies Aristomenis Kalyviotis' book Spanies ichografiseis mikron etaireion 1905-1930 (2020). The recording was made for La Fonografia Nazionale, possibly in 1920s (A 5298). The military-type band Banda Orfeo performs the basic-initial melody along with only one from the quite many parts that we hear in other recordings of this particular tune.

On July 17, 1924, the instrumental piece titled "דאס טייערסטע אין בוקאווינא" (Das teuerste in Bukowina, Victor B 30393 – 77776) was recorded by Victor. The leading figure of this performance was Naftule Brandwein and his orchestra. As we can read in the extremelly interesting and orderly Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings archive, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the record was issued in the market in January 1925.

On November 7, 1927, the instrumental piece entitled “
Karotseris” was recorded by Orthophonic – Victor in New York [BVE 40605 – Victor 80322 (Greek audience) / Orthophonic S 327 (Greek audience) / Victor 19021 (Romanian audience)]. Lazaros Constantine played the violin, who also appeared on Orthophonic’s records as Constantin, Constantinof, Constantinos and Lazajos Constantine. Michael Corm plays the piano.

Apart from its Romanian origin and its strong ties with the local repertoire, the tune can be found in other repertoires as well. 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), which refers to the melody of “Ego thelo prigkipessa”. What is impressive is the fact that, in this potpourri, another melody familiar to the Greek repertoire, that of Karotseris, can be heard.

On July 18, 1941, V. Selinescu’s gypsy orchestra recorded in America the instrumental song "
Sarba Calului" (Columbia CO30051 – C64-4 – 36241). After the first minute, Karotseris’ melody comes to the fore again.

The first 50 seconds of the song
 "Gib mir Bessarabia" (Columbia CO 37069 – 8242 F), that is, "give me Bessarabia", refers to the melody of “Ego thelo prigkipessa”. From the second minute of the recording, the orchestra performs Karotseris’ infamous melody. This is a recording that took place around October 1946, in New York, for Columbia. Contributors: Aaron Lebedeff and Sholom Secunda’s orchestra.

In America, where the present recording took place (a repress from Columbia’s [USA] record 56190-F), the “national” repertoires live a new, parallel life. This situation is not static and, to a large extent, is molded by discography, which attends to and “tunes” the overlapping relationships that have already developed in the “Old World”. Repertoires communicate with each other once again; a familiar and already dynamic condition in Europe. Discography will have a catalytic impact on the circulation of musics, which was already a reality before the 20th century with theatrical and musical performances tours, and also with the networks of music publishing houses, thus shaping a new condition. This time, the resulting network is adjusted in a programmatic manner, under new terms and via new paths.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and 
Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Instrumental
Singer(s):
Instrumental
Orchestra-Performers:
Ierotheos Skizas Mandolinata
Recording date:
03/1928
Recording location:
New York
Dance / Rhythm:
Chasapikos
Publisher:
Columbia (UK)
Catalogue number:
11730
Matrix number:
W 205829
Duration:
3:51
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
12 in. (30 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_11730_Karotsieris
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Karotsieris", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=4703

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”.

The present-day region of Romania, and especially the historical part of Wallachia, developed strong ties with the Greek-speaking world, at least since the time when the Ottoman Sultan in Constantinople (Istanbul) appointed Greek-speaking Orthodox Phanariotes as its governors. After all, it is no coincidence that the male populations from the Greek-speaking lands, mainly from the region of Epirus, migrated to the region of Romania. The results of these connections are visible even in today’s active repertoires, such as, for example, in the region of Zagori. In the urban popular actualizations, as those appeared in Greek discography, the cases that demonstrate the relationships that developed between the dances of the doina, the hora and the sirba with their Greek counterparts, that is, the skaros, the hasapiko and the serviko, are noteworthy (see in detail the extremely interesting text by Giorgos Kokkonis, 2017b: 133-161). These vast entities are found en masse, even in the “shifts” part of the à la greca manedes, that is, in their last part. Besides, there are plenty sources that name the then famous violinist Govanikas, who was born in the island of Mytilene and lived for several years in the town of Galatsi in Romania, as the musician who established the legendary “Minore” in Smyrna [Izmir]. In addition, encounters between the Greek-speaking Orthodox and the Eastern Ashkenazi Jews were also witnessed in the Romanian territories. The products of these inter-influences are also visible in historical discography. We should not forget the geographical position of Romania, since it is a key hub of the routes that start from the Baltic and reach the Mediterranean, but also from the center of Europe to the Russian Empire. In such context, 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. Discography is not only embedded in this context, but plays a key role in its transformation.

Giorgos Kokkonis writes about "Karotsieris" (or Karotseris) (2017: 136 and 148–150), attempting "a first approach to the penetration of Romanian folk music traditions in the Greek corresponding ones, based on discographical sources […] The song seems to have been particularly well-known in Constantinople (Istanbul) and, in fact, realted to the district of Kurtuluş (formerly known as Tatavla meaning 'horse stable'). The melody, however, predates: it is the famous 'Hora Morii', also known as 'La Moara la harta-scarta', whose theme was used by George Enescu in 1901 in his first Rhapsody (Romanian Rhapsody No 1 in A major, Op. 11) [see here at 05:48''], incorporating folk melodies from the lăutari tradition. To whom does the paternity of this particular melody belong? The question is difficult to answer, given the oral dissemination and the constant 'renegotiation' of the musical content of folk traditions such as this one, which are spread over a large geographical area. Researchers lay emphasis on the location of the earliest recording, however, as much as it sheds light on the routes of dissemination, it is not enough to confirm its origin. In this particular example, the complete structure in the performance of the song from the lăutari tradition is what primarily makes its origin from there obvious. What is particularly interesting, however, is that musicians from Constantinople not only appropriated the derivative melodies, but also 'capitalized' on them as an element of identity, through discography; thus, they became known as Politiko chasapiko [see herehere and here], Tatavliano chasapiko [see here and here], Galatiano chasapiko [see here] and Politiko syrto [see hereherehere and here]. In all the above, the melodies are either common or varied, but they are maintaining the characteristic rhythmic and morphological composition which defines the duo chasapiko-sirba (Serbian)".

The musical theme of “Karotseris” has been extremely popular in the Greek-speaking repertoire; as a result, it appears in other songs as a small, transitional theme. See for example: “
To kalokairi tora”, “I Marika i daskala”, “Fotia kai niata”, “Tampachaniotikos manes” (shift), “Akou Duce mou ta nea”, “Varvara”, "Romaiiko glenti".

An extremelly interesting recording comes from the archive of Stavros Kourousis. This recording, which was most possibly made in Milan, can be found in the CD that accompanies Aristomenis Kalyviotis' book Spanies ichografiseis mikron etaireion 1905-1930 (2020). The recording was made for La Fonografia Nazionale, possibly in 1920s (A 5298). The military-type band Banda Orfeo performs the basic-initial melody along with only one from the quite many parts that we hear in other recordings of this particular tune.

On July 17, 1924, the instrumental piece titled "דאס טייערסטע אין בוקאווינא" (Das teuerste in Bukowina, Victor B 30393 – 77776) was recorded by Victor. The leading figure of this performance was Naftule Brandwein and his orchestra. As we can read in the extremelly interesting and orderly Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings archive, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the record was issued in the market in January 1925.

On November 7, 1927, the instrumental piece entitled “
Karotseris” was recorded by Orthophonic – Victor in New York [BVE 40605 – Victor 80322 (Greek audience) / Orthophonic S 327 (Greek audience) / Victor 19021 (Romanian audience)]. Lazaros Constantine played the violin, who also appeared on Orthophonic’s records as Constantin, Constantinof, Constantinos and Lazajos Constantine. Michael Corm plays the piano.

Apart from its Romanian origin and its strong ties with the local repertoire, the tune can be found in other repertoires as well. 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), which refers to the melody of “Ego thelo prigkipessa”. What is impressive is the fact that, in this potpourri, another melody familiar to the Greek repertoire, that of Karotseris, can be heard.

On July 18, 1941, V. Selinescu’s gypsy orchestra recorded in America the instrumental song "
Sarba Calului" (Columbia CO30051 – C64-4 – 36241). After the first minute, Karotseris’ melody comes to the fore again.

The first 50 seconds of the song
 "Gib mir Bessarabia" (Columbia CO 37069 – 8242 F), that is, "give me Bessarabia", refers to the melody of “Ego thelo prigkipessa”. From the second minute of the recording, the orchestra performs Karotseris’ infamous melody. This is a recording that took place around October 1946, in New York, for Columbia. Contributors: Aaron Lebedeff and Sholom Secunda’s orchestra.

In America, where the present recording took place (a repress from Columbia’s [USA] record 56190-F), the “national” repertoires live a new, parallel life. This situation is not static and, to a large extent, is molded by discography, which attends to and “tunes” the overlapping relationships that have already developed in the “Old World”. Repertoires communicate with each other once again; a familiar and already dynamic condition in Europe. Discography will have a catalytic impact on the circulation of musics, which was already a reality before the 20th century with theatrical and musical performances tours, and also with the networks of music publishing houses, thus shaping a new condition. This time, the resulting network is adjusted in a programmatic manner, under new terms and via new paths.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and 
Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Instrumental
Singer(s):
Instrumental
Orchestra-Performers:
Ierotheos Skizas Mandolinata
Recording date:
03/1928
Recording location:
New York
Dance / Rhythm:
Chasapikos
Publisher:
Columbia (UK)
Catalogue number:
11730
Matrix number:
W 205829
Duration:
3:51
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
12 in. (30 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_11730_Karotsieris
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Karotsieris", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=4703

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