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The Past, Present, and Future of Mirologia in Epirus

An online only seminar about the past, present, and future of mirologia in Epirus will be presented by Christopher C. King, an ethnomusicologist, writer, producer, and advocate of traditional music, on Thursday 21 July 2022, at 7 pm, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

Mirologia (literally "words of fate") were very early forms of folk verse that developed in the pre-classical Greek-speaking world. They became songs that were sung over the recently deceased as well as part of the Homeric tradition of epic poetry. Indeed, they are the earliest known forms of verse accompanied with musical notation in the western world. In certain parts of mainland Greece, mirologia became standardized songs in the demotic tradition while retaining its earlier function as graveside laments.

The lyrical form of mirologia developed in Epirus into two forms of music: vocalized songs and instrumental dirges. This practice continues into the 21st century. Because folk music must evolve in order to be relevant and vital, we must consider how mirologia will change in the future.

In the course of twenty-three years, Christopher C. King has produced over 351 CD collections of historical folk music from around the world. In 2002 he won a Grammy in the Historical Production category and has been nominated seven more times. In 2018 he wrote a book about the traditional folk music of northwestern Greece, Lament from Epirus (published by W.W. Norton), and in the same year «Ηπειρώτικο Μοιρολόι» was translated into Greek by DOMA publications. Mr. King’s book and related traditional southern Balkan music collections have received widespread critical acclaim. Over the last twelve years, he has brought international attention to the mirologi of Epirus, the songs and dances of Greece, and the deep cultures that still thrive in the southern Balkans. Bringing the New York Times to Epirus in 2014, coordinating a major documentary in the region in 2017, and presenting the music of Greece across Europe and America from 2018-2019, Mr. King is a tireless and devoted advocate of the music of the southern Balkans.

Mr. King has worked as a digital preservation specialist for the Library of Congress and the Mayrent Institute of Yiddish Culture. Additionally, he has been a professional museum consultant in the United States and has presented his work in a variety of publications and venues including TEDx, the New York Public Library, the Gennadius Library, Megaron Music Library (with Lambros Liavas), the Library of Congress, and the Paris Review of Books. He is the Editor (Chair) of the illustrious Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal. Over the course of the last ten years, he has built the largest, most complete collection of southern Balkan music on the 78 rpm disc format. In the Spring of 2022, Mr. King was awarded a Public Diplomacy Grant by the US State Department to deliver lectures in Greece on the contributions of Greek-Jewish women to Greek folk music. In the Fall of 2022, he will be managing the US tour of Isokratisses, an all-woman ensemble of Greek-Albanian polyphonic singers.

When: Thu 21st July 2022, 7 pm
Online Platforms: Youtube, Facebook

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