Ypo ton Marokinon ilion

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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”.

One of these fascinating networks concerns French songs, which were appropriated by Greek musicians, among others. The appropriation 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, the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms and in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapt what they heard to their own condition, based on their own capabilities. The French ecumene lends its chansons, which carry a dynamic tradition of songwriting and performance. Paris, Montmartre and the cabarets artistiques influence the music of the world. The atmosphere from the Chat Noir, which had been operating since 1881, also reaches the Greek world. Music venues of this type, the famous “cafés chantants”, appeared in Athens but also in other urban centers of the Greek state. These French songs were exported to 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 also plays a key role in its transformation.

This recording is an adaptation with Greek lyrics of the French song "Sous le soleil Marocain", set to music by Romain Desmoulins (Marseille, September 1, 1881 - Paris, January 3, 1939) and lyrics by Lucien Dommel (Lucien Kleinpeter, Paris, June 14 1882 - Paris, April 10, 1964) and his wife Valfy (Valentine Kleinpeter-Philippo, 1890-1935).

The musical score of the song was published in Paris by the Éditions Dommel.

Interesting information about the song and its historical context is recorded on the website of the Center des Musiques Traditionnelles Rhône-Alpes:

«The song was written in 1925 and is now considered part of the communist song repertoire. At that time, France was involved in the Rif war (Berber, rural and mountainous region of northern Morocco), one of the darkest pages of our history that left little mark on the collective memory. In Moroccan territory under French rule since 1912, the French and Spanish armies opposed from 1921 to 1926 the Army for the Liberation of the Muslim World, a Rif insurgency led by Abd el-Krim.

At the beginning of the same decade, as opposed to imperialism, the Communist Party of France (PCF) joined the Third International. One of the conditions was to support the anti-colonial revolutionary movements. In 1925, all the French and Spanish leftists joined forces in massive strikes and demonstrations in which the youth especially participated, combining their support for Abdelkrim with anti-capitalism. In France, the central slogan was around Finance Minister Caillaux's 'central action committee against the Rif war and taxes'.

"Sous le soleil marocain" was written in this competitive context in 1925, the year France became involved in the Rif conflict, which began in 1921 with the Battle of Anual, where Abd el Krim crushed the forces of the Spanish General Sylvestre. The song is part of a corpus attributed to the PCF, in which we find other songs with even clearer titles, such as "Le Maroc aux Marocains" ("Morocco to the Moroccans"). Calling for the restoration of peace, the independence of the Rif Republic and the withdrawal of French troops, these popular anti-militarist songs were considered by the government to be songs that disturbed public order. Arrests were numerous, and Riff's more openly anti-war songs were censored as soon as they became public knowledge.

In the lyrics of "Sous le soleil marocain" we find the three main pillars of the PCF of the time: anti-capitalism, anti-militarism, anti-colonialism. [...]

Although the memory of the Rif War had already been deliberately hidden since the end of the conflict, "Sous le soleil marocain" retained its place in the French repertoire. The song was certainly relatively acceptable, despite the fact that it came from an ideology that was far from unanimously tolerated. Paradoxically, stripped of its political dimension, the song could be placed in the repertoire of "colonial" or "exotic" songs because it essentially uses a relatively stereotypical structure reminiscent of pro-colonial songs, which nevertheless serves the opposite purpose. [...]».

It was recorded several times in French historical discography. For example:

Perchicot, France, 1925 (Disque Francis Salabert 492 - 118)
Mr Gelnard, France, 1925; (Disque Excelsior R16-2 - 13)
Berthe Delny, Paris, September 15, 1925 (Gramophone BT 1794-1 - 233303 - K3049)
Paul Godwin Orchestre, probably in Berlin, 1925 (Reneyphone 2073 at - F 40545)

The Greek musical score, with lyrics by Aimilios Dragatsis (they have nothing to do with the original ones) and under the title "Kato apo ton ilio tou Marokou", was published in Athens by the Gaitanos - Konstantinidis - Starr publishing house.

According to the data collected so far, the song under the title "Kato apo ton ilio tou Marokou" was recorded two more times in Greek historical discography:

- Giorgos Vidalis - P. Theodosiou, Athens, 1927 (Odeon GO 477 - GA 1233)
- Giorgos Savaris - Tzon Miliaris - Lousien, Athens, 1927 (Columbia UK 8077)

The label of the record reads "Gaitanos & Sia" ("Gaitanos & Co"), probably a reference to the publisher of the song's musical score. This reference perhaps testifies to the complex relations that arose between the previously powerful music publishing houses and record labels. It is probable that the publishing houses, which perhaps were among the few entities with recognized copyrights on musical works, would receive part of the recording rights in this new context of the recording industry.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[French lyrics: Dommel, Valfy Greek lyrics: Dragatsis Aimilios]
Singer(s):
Athinaiki Estudiantina (Athenian Estudiantina)
Orchestra-Performers:
Homocord Orchestra
Recording date:
02/10/1928
Recording location:
Athens (?)
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Homocord
Catalogue number:
G. 4-32055
Matrix number:
G 831
Duration:
2:42
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Homo_G4_32055_YpoTonMarokinonIlio
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Ypo ton Marokinon ilion", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5231

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”.

One of these fascinating networks concerns French songs, which were appropriated by Greek musicians, among others. The appropriation 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, the performance practices: different instrumentation, different singing style, often differences in melodic and rhythmic forms and in the harmonies. Greek musicians adapt what they heard to their own condition, based on their own capabilities. The French ecumene lends its chansons, which carry a dynamic tradition of songwriting and performance. Paris, Montmartre and the cabarets artistiques influence the music of the world. The atmosphere from the Chat Noir, which had been operating since 1881, also reaches the Greek world. Music venues of this type, the famous “cafés chantants”, appeared in Athens but also in other urban centers of the Greek state. These French songs were exported to 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 also plays a key role in its transformation.

This recording is an adaptation with Greek lyrics of the French song "Sous le soleil Marocain", set to music by Romain Desmoulins (Marseille, September 1, 1881 - Paris, January 3, 1939) and lyrics by Lucien Dommel (Lucien Kleinpeter, Paris, June 14 1882 - Paris, April 10, 1964) and his wife Valfy (Valentine Kleinpeter-Philippo, 1890-1935).

The musical score of the song was published in Paris by the Éditions Dommel.

Interesting information about the song and its historical context is recorded on the website of the Center des Musiques Traditionnelles Rhône-Alpes:

«The song was written in 1925 and is now considered part of the communist song repertoire. At that time, France was involved in the Rif war (Berber, rural and mountainous region of northern Morocco), one of the darkest pages of our history that left little mark on the collective memory. In Moroccan territory under French rule since 1912, the French and Spanish armies opposed from 1921 to 1926 the Army for the Liberation of the Muslim World, a Rif insurgency led by Abd el-Krim.

At the beginning of the same decade, as opposed to imperialism, the Communist Party of France (PCF) joined the Third International. One of the conditions was to support the anti-colonial revolutionary movements. In 1925, all the French and Spanish leftists joined forces in massive strikes and demonstrations in which the youth especially participated, combining their support for Abdelkrim with anti-capitalism. In France, the central slogan was around Finance Minister Caillaux's 'central action committee against the Rif war and taxes'.

"Sous le soleil marocain" was written in this competitive context in 1925, the year France became involved in the Rif conflict, which began in 1921 with the Battle of Anual, where Abd el Krim crushed the forces of the Spanish General Sylvestre. The song is part of a corpus attributed to the PCF, in which we find other songs with even clearer titles, such as "Le Maroc aux Marocains" ("Morocco to the Moroccans"). Calling for the restoration of peace, the independence of the Rif Republic and the withdrawal of French troops, these popular anti-militarist songs were considered by the government to be songs that disturbed public order. Arrests were numerous, and Riff's more openly anti-war songs were censored as soon as they became public knowledge.

In the lyrics of "Sous le soleil marocain" we find the three main pillars of the PCF of the time: anti-capitalism, anti-militarism, anti-colonialism. [...]

Although the memory of the Rif War had already been deliberately hidden since the end of the conflict, "Sous le soleil marocain" retained its place in the French repertoire. The song was certainly relatively acceptable, despite the fact that it came from an ideology that was far from unanimously tolerated. Paradoxically, stripped of its political dimension, the song could be placed in the repertoire of "colonial" or "exotic" songs because it essentially uses a relatively stereotypical structure reminiscent of pro-colonial songs, which nevertheless serves the opposite purpose. [...]».

It was recorded several times in French historical discography. For example:

Perchicot, France, 1925 (Disque Francis Salabert 492 - 118)
Mr Gelnard, France, 1925; (Disque Excelsior R16-2 - 13)
Berthe Delny, Paris, September 15, 1925 (Gramophone BT 1794-1 - 233303 - K3049)
Paul Godwin Orchestre, probably in Berlin, 1925 (Reneyphone 2073 at - F 40545)

The Greek musical score, with lyrics by Aimilios Dragatsis (they have nothing to do with the original ones) and under the title "Kato apo ton ilio tou Marokou", was published in Athens by the Gaitanos - Konstantinidis - Starr publishing house.

According to the data collected so far, the song under the title "Kato apo ton ilio tou Marokou" was recorded two more times in Greek historical discography:

- Giorgos Vidalis - P. Theodosiou, Athens, 1927 (Odeon GO 477 - GA 1233)
- Giorgos Savaris - Tzon Miliaris - Lousien, Athens, 1927 (Columbia UK 8077)

The label of the record reads "Gaitanos & Sia" ("Gaitanos & Co"), probably a reference to the publisher of the song's musical score. This reference perhaps testifies to the complex relations that arose between the previously powerful music publishing houses and record labels. It is probable that the publishing houses, which perhaps were among the few entities with recognized copyrights on musical works, would receive part of the recording rights in this new context of the recording industry.

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[French lyrics: Dommel, Valfy Greek lyrics: Dragatsis Aimilios]
Singer(s):
Athinaiki Estudiantina (Athenian Estudiantina)
Orchestra-Performers:
Homocord Orchestra
Recording date:
02/10/1928
Recording location:
Athens (?)
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Homocord
Catalogue number:
G. 4-32055
Matrix number:
G 831
Duration:
2:42
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Homo_G4_32055_YpoTonMarokinonIlio
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Ypo ton Marokinon ilion", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5231

See also