Smyrniopoula

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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”.

Historical sources underline the close relations between Italian-speaking and Greek-speaking music. The conversations that developed with specific places, such as the Ionian Islands, the Dodecanese and Patras, as well as their results, are enough to highlight the strong ties between the two ethno-cultural groups. Furthermore, relationships were forged in places where the two ethnicities lived together, such as, for example, in the case of cosmopolitan Smyrna (Izmir) in the Ottoman Empire, or that of New York, where Italians and Greeks immigrated. When researching the historical material, it seems that one particular city in the Italian peninsula developed special relations with the large urban centers where Greek-speaking musicians played a leading role: it was Naples, with its famous Canzone Napoletana. “Smyrniopoula” belongs to a corpus of songs from which the Greek protagonists borrowed music and/or lyrics from pre-existing Neapolitan-speaking songs. In many cases, the appropriations concern not only Neapolitan-speaking songs but the Italian language as a whole, since, often, the original Neapolitan-speaking songs were translated into Italian, from which the loan arose. These songs arrived at the Greek-speaking world either directly or indirectly, through other repertoire networks. In any case, the circulation of musics is already a reality before the 20th century with theatrical and musical performances tours, but also with the networks of music publishing houses. Discography is not only embedded in this context, but plays a key role in its transformation. The appropriation by Greek musicians is twofold: on the one hand are the lyrics, which are now in Greek (often, in fact, they have nothing to do with the original ones), and, on the other hand, are the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms but also in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapt what they hear to their own condition, based on their own capabilities. After all, the mandolins, the guitars, the marches, polyphonic song and the bel canto singing style are characteristics that reveal the influences of the Canzone Napoletana on the Greek-speaking urban popular song. It should also be noted that, in various cases, often due to the great international success of the songs, the network that is finally formed is extremely complex and does not only concern Greek-Italian relations.


According to the available sources, “Smyrniopoula” was recorded for the first time in 1908 in Constantinople (Istanbul), by the group Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Smyrnaean Estudiantina) and for Odeon (
CX 1881 – No 58579). At this point, it should be noted that scholars are often confused about the names of the groups, whose number increased rapidly in a short time. Quite often, the same group seems to use more than one name (like the Estudiantina Sideris). The most problematic identification is often made between the Estudiantina Sideris or the Estudiantina Vasilakis with the Smyrnaiki Estudiantina.

The fact that Sideris and his estudiantina performed in Smyrna (Izmir) may prompt scholars to label it as “smyrnaiki” (i.e. from Smyrna [Izmir]); on the record labels, however, its name is printed as “Smyrnaiki Estudiantina”. An exception, based on the data collected so far, are two recordings made in December 1911, in Smyrna (Izmir), by the Estudiantina Vasilakis for Gramophone. In these two recordings, the group is printed on the labels as “Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Vasilakis’)” (see
Kalyviotis, 2002, Ordoulidis 2021b, “Karolina” and “Hip Aidi”, 2353y – 3-14711). The above concerns the records and their labels. The documents of the record labels themselves however also constitute primary sources. For example, Gramophone's documents regarding recordings have been indexed by Alan Kelly, and the results of this research are included in his online database. Unlike records, the evidence under study in Kelly's work adds new information: specifically, 17 records were found, where in the field "Session Performer(s)" one can read "Smyrneiki Estudiantina (Vasilaki)". Nevertheless, in these 17 records are also included some for which we have the record in our possession, in which the term "Smyrneiki" (Smyrnean) is absent from the label. It is possible that the record labels chose to list the term "Smyrneiki" on the labels for only one of the two bands in order to avoid confusion among buyers.

These two groups (the Smyrnaiki Estudiantina and the Estudiantina Vasilakis) had aesthetic musical differences that render their identification problematic. Smyrnaiki Estudiantina’s style is what Kokkonis describes as “à la greca”, which moves between the two large, quite fluid, of course, poles of “à la turca” and “à la franga” (
Kokkonis, 2017: 97). The Estudiantina Sideris' style is clearly faithful to the “à la franga” musical and cultural concept. The discrepancies concern the placement of the singers’ voices, the selection and use of instruments, the repertoire that was being recorded and the performance practices. In fact, quite often each estudiantina group is identified with its own singer(s) (for example, G. Tsanakas with Smyrnaiki Estudiantina and Giorgos Savaris with the Estudiantina Vasilakis).

Another recording of “Smyrniopoula” was made by the group Elliniki Estudiantina (Greek Estudiantina) in March 1909, in Smyrna (Izmir), for Gramophone Concert Record (
12804b – 6-12688). The database of the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music and the one of Alan Kelly contain two more recordings which we have not yet been able to be located:

- Elliniki Estudiantina (Greek Estudiantina), 12301b, Constantinople (Istanbul), February 28, 1909
- Mlle Simonides, 12410b – 4-13521, Constantinople (Istanbul), March 8, 1909


For the first one, given the absence of a record code, we can assume that it was not released on the market.

Two recordings were made in New York for Columbia: the first on April 26, 1911 (19315-1 - E834) under the title "Smyrniopoula" and performed by P. Armandos, and the second by George Chelmis around November 1917 (58999 – E-3804). The title in this version is “Evmorfi mou Smyrniopoula”.

According to Franco Fabbri (
2016: 33 and 2019: 79), the song (entitled “Nanninella”) is attributed to Vincenzo Di Chiara (music) and Antonio Barbieri (lyrics) and was a great success at Elvira Donnarumma’s performances at the Eldorado Theater in Naples in 1906. According to the same source, in 1909, it was recorded by the vocal ensemble Figli di Ciro (Gramophone V 92475, matrix no. 13347½b, Naples 22.5.1909). The song was also recorded by Lufrano in the first decade of the 20th century in Naples (Pathé 84384).

The musical score was included in "
La tavola rotonda, Piedigrotta 1906", p. 13–14 (a literary, illustrated, music newspaper that was published every Sunday), published by the F. Bideri publishing house in Naples on September 6, 1906. “Piedigrotta”, which is written on the headline of the newspaper, refers to one of the most famous and oldest religious festivals that took place in Naples. During the festival, a music competition took place, which, in the 19th century, turned into a dynamic festival. This festival took the form of a commercial mechanism which played a key role in shaping and promoting Neapolitan song.

In the Greek
musical score, which was released by the S. Christidis publishing house in Constantinople (Istanbul), the song is mentioned as an adaptation by P. Tsampounaris (or Tsampounaras) with lyrics by G. Lamprynidis. In addition, according to the musical score published by Georgios D. Fexis’ publishing house entitled "Asma dikaiosynis", the song "Nanninella", adapted by Theofrastos Sakellaridis and with different lyrics by Bampis Anninos and Giorgos Tsokopoulos, was included in the first show of the revue “Panathinaia” (written by Bampis Anninos and Giorgos Tsokopoulos, music by Theofrastos Sakellaridis). It premiered on July 6, 1907 at the "Nea Skini" theater by the Kostas Sayior troupe and had as its main theme the immigration wave to the USA.

The fact that the database which emerged from the research conducted by Alan Kelly contains the following two recordings is extremelly interesting:

- Dikeossini, YANGOS PSAMMATIANOS, 10723b – X-2-102659, Athens Greece, 1907-10
- I Dikeossini (Panathinea), ESTUDIANTINA GRECQUE, 13403b – 3-14580, (Izmir) Turkey, 1909-05

Also, in the book Spanies ichografiseis mikron etaireion 1905-1930 (2020: 94), Aristomenis Kalyviotis includes a recording of the song, under the title "I dikaiosyni ek ton Panathinaion", which was made in Athens in 1908 by Alex. Kandreviotis (Apollon A 135). Another recording has been found so far, which was performed by M. Kofiniotis in Athens probably in 1908 under the title "TA PANATHINAIA: I dikeosini" (Odeon Gx 146 - X 58525).

This evidence reveal the fast reflex actions of the discographical network, as regards cases of popular songs which are introduced in the Greek repertoire, they are printed as musical scores, they are included in shows and, ultimately, they are introduced in discography. If nothing else, folk-popular musicians behace as the radios of the time, by recording great hits.

About thirty-four years after the first presentation of the song in Naples and its publication in a musical score, Markos Vamvakaris would use the melody of the couplet of "Nanninella" as a couplet in his song "Eisai afrati san fratzola". The recording, which Vamvakaris signed under the pseudonym A. Rokos, was made in Athens in 1940 by the composer and Apostolos Chatzichristos, accompanied by a popular orchestra conducted by Spyros Peristeris (Odeon Go 3557 – GA 7294 / A 247187 b).

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and 
Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
[Di Chiara Vincenzo Adaptation: Tsampounaras Panagiotis]
Lyrics by:
[Neapolitan lyrics: Barbieri Antonio
Greek lyrics: Lamprynidis G.]
Singer(s):
Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Smyrnaean Estudiantina)
Orchestra-Performers:
Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Smyrnaean Estudiantina)
Recording date:
1908
Recording location:
Constantinople (Istanbul)
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Odeon
Catalogue number:
No-58579
Matrix number:
CX-1881
Duration:
3:14
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10¾ in. (27 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Odeon_58579_Smyrniopoula
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Smyrniopoula", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5153

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”.

Historical sources underline the close relations between Italian-speaking and Greek-speaking music. The conversations that developed with specific places, such as the Ionian Islands, the Dodecanese and Patras, as well as their results, are enough to highlight the strong ties between the two ethno-cultural groups. Furthermore, relationships were forged in places where the two ethnicities lived together, such as, for example, in the case of cosmopolitan Smyrna (Izmir) in the Ottoman Empire, or that of New York, where Italians and Greeks immigrated. When researching the historical material, it seems that one particular city in the Italian peninsula developed special relations with the large urban centers where Greek-speaking musicians played a leading role: it was Naples, with its famous Canzone Napoletana. “Smyrniopoula” belongs to a corpus of songs from which the Greek protagonists borrowed music and/or lyrics from pre-existing Neapolitan-speaking songs. In many cases, the appropriations concern not only Neapolitan-speaking songs but the Italian language as a whole, since, often, the original Neapolitan-speaking songs were translated into Italian, from which the loan arose. These songs arrived at the Greek-speaking world either directly or indirectly, through other repertoire networks. In any case, the circulation of musics is already a reality before the 20th century with theatrical and musical performances tours, but also with the networks of music publishing houses. Discography is not only embedded in this context, but plays a key role in its transformation. The appropriation by Greek musicians is twofold: on the one hand are the lyrics, which are now in Greek (often, in fact, they have nothing to do with the original ones), and, on the other hand, are the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms but also in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapt what they hear to their own condition, based on their own capabilities. After all, the mandolins, the guitars, the marches, polyphonic song and the bel canto singing style are characteristics that reveal the influences of the Canzone Napoletana on the Greek-speaking urban popular song. It should also be noted that, in various cases, often due to the great international success of the songs, the network that is finally formed is extremely complex and does not only concern Greek-Italian relations.


According to the available sources, “Smyrniopoula” was recorded for the first time in 1908 in Constantinople (Istanbul), by the group Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Smyrnaean Estudiantina) and for Odeon (
CX 1881 – No 58579). At this point, it should be noted that scholars are often confused about the names of the groups, whose number increased rapidly in a short time. Quite often, the same group seems to use more than one name (like the Estudiantina Sideris). The most problematic identification is often made between the Estudiantina Sideris or the Estudiantina Vasilakis with the Smyrnaiki Estudiantina.

The fact that Sideris and his estudiantina performed in Smyrna (Izmir) may prompt scholars to label it as “smyrnaiki” (i.e. from Smyrna [Izmir]); on the record labels, however, its name is printed as “Smyrnaiki Estudiantina”. An exception, based on the data collected so far, are two recordings made in December 1911, in Smyrna (Izmir), by the Estudiantina Vasilakis for Gramophone. In these two recordings, the group is printed on the labels as “Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Vasilakis’)” (see
Kalyviotis, 2002, Ordoulidis 2021b, “Karolina” and “Hip Aidi”, 2353y – 3-14711). The above concerns the records and their labels. The documents of the record labels themselves however also constitute primary sources. For example, Gramophone's documents regarding recordings have been indexed by Alan Kelly, and the results of this research are included in his online database. Unlike records, the evidence under study in Kelly's work adds new information: specifically, 17 records were found, where in the field "Session Performer(s)" one can read "Smyrneiki Estudiantina (Vasilaki)". Nevertheless, in these 17 records are also included some for which we have the record in our possession, in which the term "Smyrneiki" (Smyrnean) is absent from the label. It is possible that the record labels chose to list the term "Smyrneiki" on the labels for only one of the two bands in order to avoid confusion among buyers.

These two groups (the Smyrnaiki Estudiantina and the Estudiantina Vasilakis) had aesthetic musical differences that render their identification problematic. Smyrnaiki Estudiantina’s style is what Kokkonis describes as “à la greca”, which moves between the two large, quite fluid, of course, poles of “à la turca” and “à la franga” (
Kokkonis, 2017: 97). The Estudiantina Sideris' style is clearly faithful to the “à la franga” musical and cultural concept. The discrepancies concern the placement of the singers’ voices, the selection and use of instruments, the repertoire that was being recorded and the performance practices. In fact, quite often each estudiantina group is identified with its own singer(s) (for example, G. Tsanakas with Smyrnaiki Estudiantina and Giorgos Savaris with the Estudiantina Vasilakis).

Another recording of “Smyrniopoula” was made by the group Elliniki Estudiantina (Greek Estudiantina) in March 1909, in Smyrna (Izmir), for Gramophone Concert Record (
12804b – 6-12688). The database of the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music and the one of Alan Kelly contain two more recordings which we have not yet been able to be located:

- Elliniki Estudiantina (Greek Estudiantina), 12301b, Constantinople (Istanbul), February 28, 1909
- Mlle Simonides, 12410b – 4-13521, Constantinople (Istanbul), March 8, 1909


For the first one, given the absence of a record code, we can assume that it was not released on the market.

Two recordings were made in New York for Columbia: the first on April 26, 1911 (19315-1 - E834) under the title "Smyrniopoula" and performed by P. Armandos, and the second by George Chelmis around November 1917 (58999 – E-3804). The title in this version is “Evmorfi mou Smyrniopoula”.

According to Franco Fabbri (
2016: 33 and 2019: 79), the song (entitled “Nanninella”) is attributed to Vincenzo Di Chiara (music) and Antonio Barbieri (lyrics) and was a great success at Elvira Donnarumma’s performances at the Eldorado Theater in Naples in 1906. According to the same source, in 1909, it was recorded by the vocal ensemble Figli di Ciro (Gramophone V 92475, matrix no. 13347½b, Naples 22.5.1909). The song was also recorded by Lufrano in the first decade of the 20th century in Naples (Pathé 84384).

The musical score was included in "
La tavola rotonda, Piedigrotta 1906", p. 13–14 (a literary, illustrated, music newspaper that was published every Sunday), published by the F. Bideri publishing house in Naples on September 6, 1906. “Piedigrotta”, which is written on the headline of the newspaper, refers to one of the most famous and oldest religious festivals that took place in Naples. During the festival, a music competition took place, which, in the 19th century, turned into a dynamic festival. This festival took the form of a commercial mechanism which played a key role in shaping and promoting Neapolitan song.

In the Greek
musical score, which was released by the S. Christidis publishing house in Constantinople (Istanbul), the song is mentioned as an adaptation by P. Tsampounaris (or Tsampounaras) with lyrics by G. Lamprynidis. In addition, according to the musical score published by Georgios D. Fexis’ publishing house entitled "Asma dikaiosynis", the song "Nanninella", adapted by Theofrastos Sakellaridis and with different lyrics by Bampis Anninos and Giorgos Tsokopoulos, was included in the first show of the revue “Panathinaia” (written by Bampis Anninos and Giorgos Tsokopoulos, music by Theofrastos Sakellaridis). It premiered on July 6, 1907 at the "Nea Skini" theater by the Kostas Sayior troupe and had as its main theme the immigration wave to the USA.

The fact that the database which emerged from the research conducted by Alan Kelly contains the following two recordings is extremelly interesting:

- Dikeossini, YANGOS PSAMMATIANOS, 10723b – X-2-102659, Athens Greece, 1907-10
- I Dikeossini (Panathinea), ESTUDIANTINA GRECQUE, 13403b – 3-14580, (Izmir) Turkey, 1909-05

Also, in the book Spanies ichografiseis mikron etaireion 1905-1930 (2020: 94), Aristomenis Kalyviotis includes a recording of the song, under the title "I dikaiosyni ek ton Panathinaion", which was made in Athens in 1908 by Alex. Kandreviotis (Apollon A 135). Another recording has been found so far, which was performed by M. Kofiniotis in Athens probably in 1908 under the title "TA PANATHINAIA: I dikeosini" (Odeon Gx 146 - X 58525).

This evidence reveal the fast reflex actions of the discographical network, as regards cases of popular songs which are introduced in the Greek repertoire, they are printed as musical scores, they are included in shows and, ultimately, they are introduced in discography. If nothing else, folk-popular musicians behace as the radios of the time, by recording great hits.

About thirty-four years after the first presentation of the song in Naples and its publication in a musical score, Markos Vamvakaris would use the melody of the couplet of "Nanninella" as a couplet in his song "Eisai afrati san fratzola". The recording, which Vamvakaris signed under the pseudonym A. Rokos, was made in Athens in 1940 by the composer and Apostolos Chatzichristos, accompanied by a popular orchestra conducted by Spyros Peristeris (Odeon Go 3557 – GA 7294 / A 247187 b).

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and 
Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
[Di Chiara Vincenzo Adaptation: Tsampounaras Panagiotis]
Lyrics by:
[Neapolitan lyrics: Barbieri Antonio
Greek lyrics: Lamprynidis G.]
Singer(s):
Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Smyrnaean Estudiantina)
Orchestra-Performers:
Smyrnaiki Estudiantina (Smyrnaean Estudiantina)
Recording date:
1908
Recording location:
Constantinople (Istanbul)
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Odeon
Catalogue number:
No-58579
Matrix number:
CX-1881
Duration:
3:14
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10¾ in. (27 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Odeon_58579_Smyrniopoula
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Smyrniopoula", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5153

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