Ach, Mari!

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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. This recording 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. One such case is the recording “Ach Mari”.

It is a Greek adaptation of the Neapolitan song "Maria Mari", set to music by composer Eduardo Di Capua (1865–1917) and lyrics by Vincenzo Russo (1876–1904). So far, four Greek historical recordings have been identified:

- Elliniki Estudiantina (Greek Estudiantina), Constantinople (Istanbul), March 5, 1909 (
Gramophone B 12347 – 6-12438)
- Giorgos Chelmis, New York, around November 1918 (this record, 
Columbia 84896 – E 4206)
- Giorgos Kanakis, New York, 1920 (Panhellenion P. 159 - 5024-B)
- Marika Papagkika, New York, November 1, 1920 (
Victor B 24544 – 73082)

The Italian original song "Maria Mari" seems to be a musical composition since at least 1894, when it was printed as a musical score by the
Bideri publishing house, in Naples. For more versions of the song see here. In Italian historical discography, the song dates back to at least 1900 (for a list of recordings see the database that emerged from Alan Kelly's research). For example:

- Ferruccio Corradetti (Corrado Ferretti), Milan, July 1901 (Berliner's Gramophone 3345a - 52256)
- Alfredo Cibelli, New York, 1903–1904 (
Columbia 1725 – A 526)
- Antonio Scotti, New York, March 22, 1907 (
Victor C 4325 – 6282 and Gramophone 052160 and DB 442)
- Francesco Daddi, New Jersey, March 26, 1908 (
B 6053 – 62428)

It has been recorded countless times in various regions, languages and aesthetical frameworks. For a list of recordings see here, here and herethe database that emerged from Alan Kelly's research and Yuri Bernikov's archive website.

Another recording, the issue of which opened up an exciting chapter in discographical research, is of particular interest: between 1908 and 1913, a record, which contained the song under consideration in instrumental form, was recorded in New York. The piece is performed by an orchestra consisting of wind instruments.

"Maria Mari / Greek First Regiment Band / E 2895 (catalog code) / 13879-2 (matrix code)"

can be read on the label of the record. If one searches for the above matrix code in the Discography of American Historical Recordings (
DAHR) database, they will come across something noteworthy, that is, a Columbia record with the following information on the label:

"Maria Mari / Canción napolitana / Banda de Policía de México / E 2585 (catalog code) / 13879 (matrix code)".

It is the same recording. In the first case, the record was obviously intended for the Greek market in America, and, in the second, for the Mexican one.


Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[Neapolitan lyrics: Russo Vincenzo]
Greek lyrics: Souris Filoktimon
Singer(s):
Chelmis Giorgos N.
Orchestra-Performers:
Orchestra
Recording date:
11/1918 (?)
Recording location:
New York
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Columbia (USA)
Catalogue number:
E-4206
Matrix number:
84896-1
Duration:
3:16
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_E4206_AchMari
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Ach, Mari!", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5462

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. This recording 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. One such case is the recording “Ach Mari”.

It is a Greek adaptation of the Neapolitan song "Maria Mari", set to music by composer Eduardo Di Capua (1865–1917) and lyrics by Vincenzo Russo (1876–1904). So far, four Greek historical recordings have been identified:

- Elliniki Estudiantina (Greek Estudiantina), Constantinople (Istanbul), March 5, 1909 (
Gramophone B 12347 – 6-12438)
- Giorgos Chelmis, New York, around November 1918 (this record, 
Columbia 84896 – E 4206)
- Giorgos Kanakis, New York, 1920 (Panhellenion P. 159 - 5024-B)
- Marika Papagkika, New York, November 1, 1920 (
Victor B 24544 – 73082)

The Italian original song "Maria Mari" seems to be a musical composition since at least 1894, when it was printed as a musical score by the
Bideri publishing house, in Naples. For more versions of the song see here. In Italian historical discography, the song dates back to at least 1900 (for a list of recordings see the database that emerged from Alan Kelly's research). For example:

- Ferruccio Corradetti (Corrado Ferretti), Milan, July 1901 (Berliner's Gramophone 3345a - 52256)
- Alfredo Cibelli, New York, 1903–1904 (
Columbia 1725 – A 526)
- Antonio Scotti, New York, March 22, 1907 (
Victor C 4325 – 6282 and Gramophone 052160 and DB 442)
- Francesco Daddi, New Jersey, March 26, 1908 (
B 6053 – 62428)

It has been recorded countless times in various regions, languages and aesthetical frameworks. For a list of recordings see here, here and herethe database that emerged from Alan Kelly's research and Yuri Bernikov's archive website.

Another recording, the issue of which opened up an exciting chapter in discographical research, is of particular interest: between 1908 and 1913, a record, which contained the song under consideration in instrumental form, was recorded in New York. The piece is performed by an orchestra consisting of wind instruments.

"Maria Mari / Greek First Regiment Band / E 2895 (catalog code) / 13879-2 (matrix code)"

can be read on the label of the record. If one searches for the above matrix code in the Discography of American Historical Recordings (
DAHR) database, they will come across something noteworthy, that is, a Columbia record with the following information on the label:

"Maria Mari / Canción napolitana / Banda de Policía de México / E 2585 (catalog code) / 13879 (matrix code)".

It is the same recording. In the first case, the record was obviously intended for the Greek market in America, and, in the second, for the Mexican one.


Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
[Neapolitan lyrics: Russo Vincenzo]
Greek lyrics: Souris Filoktimon
Singer(s):
Chelmis Giorgos N.
Orchestra-Performers:
Orchestra
Recording date:
11/1918 (?)
Recording location:
New York
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Columbia (USA)
Catalogue number:
E-4206
Matrix number:
84896-1
Duration:
3:16
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Col_E4206_AchMari
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Ach, Mari!", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5462

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See also