Monday 1 June 2020


by Pavlos Andronikos

Cyprus Invaded & Partitioned

A particularly disheartening phenomenon in contemporary Cyprus is the push by a small but vocal group of Cypriots who consider themselves “progressive” to de-Hellenise the identity of the Greek Cypriots.

They claim to be opposed to “nationalism”, but seem in fact to be primarily opposed to Greek nationalism which they want to eradicate by denying the Hellenic identity of Cypriot Greeks. With regard to Turkish nationalism they have something of a blind spot—it does not bother them anywhere near as much as, by their own lights, it should.[1] In fact they seem to have adopted the perspective of Turkish propaganda which holds that all the problems of Cyprus have resulted solely from the actions of Greek nationalists.[2] They also seem to have adopted the claims of British propaganda from the 50s that the Greek Cypriots are not really Greek, they just think they are.[3]

In the sense that yes, a Cypriot’s first and foremost loyalty should be to Cyprus, their aim is laudable, but it is not at all clear to me why loyalty to Cyprus should necessitate both a denial of the Hellenic and Turkish identity of most of the population, and a revision of the island’s history which suppresses and/or rejects the Hellenic nature of the majority indigenous community. However laudable the motivation, lies and distortions do not cease to be lies and distortions.

Born-again Cypriotism gained ground among Greek Cypriots after the Turkish invasion and partition of the island in 1974, and is to a large extent motivated by a desire to see the island reunified. But can real unity be achieved by allowing Turkey to dictate the terms of reunification?

In this regard it is noteworthy that despite its commitment to Cypriot nationalism, the born-again Cypriot mindset is not loyal to the Republic of Cyprus. Its reconciliationist devotees are quite willing to agree to the dissolution of that entity and the replacement of it with a federal semblance of “unity” which is in essence an apartheid legitimisation of the partition imposed by the Turkish troops, and which would make Cyprus a hostage to Turkish interests regardless of the wishes of the majority population.

Can reunification be achieved by adopting the misrepresentations of British and Turkish propaganda, and denying the Hellenic character of our culture and identity? Is that a reunification we can, or want to, live with?


[1] See Sener Levent, “Et tu, Akis Lordos?...” in Politis 7 July 2016. Available in English translation at In this article Sener Levent tackles Greek Cypriot “reconciliationists” who criticised him for “raking up” the past when he reported newly discovered Turkish atrocities of 1974.  Their sentiments he tells them are pleasing to the chauvinists on the Turkish side. “You are fighting on the same front”, he says. “Your words spread honey on the bread of all of them. You will never be able to bring peace to this island in this way.”

[2] For a better understanding of the Turkish contribution to the problems of Cyprus see the compilation of excerpts “Turkey’s Role in Cyprus in the 1950s” (ed. Pavlos Andronikos) at

[3] On the Hellenic character of Cyprus see Pavlos Andronikos, “Changing Perceptions: Cyprus, A Greek Island” at

[4] Warning: Do not confuse accepting that Greek-speaking Cypriots are Hellenic in character (but in a Cypriot way) with a desire for Cyprus to be a province of Greece. Nobody is arguing for enosis here.

Friday 15 May 2020


by Pavlos Andronikos

An anthology of songs and music by Australians from Greek backgrounds with the title In a Strange Land was recently released on the internet. It can be freely downloaded for non-commercial personal use from:

In a Strange Land is an honest and contemporary collection showcasing the innovative ways in which Greek Australians have engaged in the creation of music in their “strange” new land. The album ranges widely in styles from traditional Greek folk to the electroacoustic soundscapes of Stephen Adam. Greek rock is represented by the songs of Stelios Tsiolas, and opera by Irine Vela’s choral piece from the opera Little City. There is a touch of jazz in Christella Demetriou’s “Night”, and George Xylouris and Mairéad Hannan delightfully combine the sound of Cretan folk instruments with cello and double bass.

The Composers

The anthology contains sixteen tracks by ten composers including:
  • Irine Vela and Achilles Yiangoulli, members of the Aria-awarded band the Habibis, which performed in the film Head On.
  • The late Costas Tsicaderis, who had a long association with the Melbourne cultural support group and music cafe The Boite, and contributed four tracks to The Fig Tree CD (winner of the 2004 National Folk Recording Award).
  • George Xylouris, a talented multi-instrumentalist from the famous Cretan musical clan whose surname he bears, and Mairéad Hannan, familiar for her major contribution to the Australian musical film One Night the Moon. Both are members of The George Xylouris Ensemble.
  • Stelios Tsiolas, who has presented and conducted numerous concerts throughout Australia, and was assistant conductor to Mikis Theodorakis for the presentation of the oratorio Axion Esti at Perth Festival with the West Australia Symphony Orchestra.
  • Christella Demetriou, who recently had a fine album released in Greece of poems by Sappho and Cavafy set to her music.
  • Stephen (Στέλιος) Adam, co-producer and main sound engineer, who is highly regarded in electronic music circles for his electroacoustic compositions and his pioneering experiments with computers in music.
  • Andrew Kyriakopoulos, a relative newcomer to Greek music, who demonstrates remarkable skill in the creation of computer and synth-based arrangements.
  • Pavlos Andronikos, initiator and co-producer of the anthology, and formerly senior lecturer and head of Greek at Monash University. He has been a keen musician for a very long time, and has had his songs performed at numerous concerts for the Greek community in Melbourne.

The Lyricists

Many of the lyrics are by the composers themselves, but seven of the tracks are a setting to music of lyrics by the writers and poets Dimitris Tsaloumas, Nikos Ninolakis, Michalis Pais, Daniel Keene, Ekaterini Mpaloukas, and Georgia Heracleous.
The lyrics vary in style from the minimalism of Andrew Kyriakopoulos’ “I’m leaving” and George Xylouris’ “There are Moments” to the richly poetic “The Pomegranate” by Dimitris Tsaloumas and “With the Lips of Heartache” by Michalis Pais. So too does subject matter vary, on the one hand Ekaterini Mpaloukas’ “On Your Balcony” evokes Greek village life, whereas Stelios Tsiolas’ “Day After Day” is about working in a car factory.
Inevitably nostalgia for what has been left behind is a theme, as in “They’ve Taken the Sun” by Nikos Ninolakis, and “The Same Sun” and “One Earth” by Georgia Heracleous, but Christella Demetriou’s “For Yianni” offers a different kind of nostalgia—a yearning for a lost love. Incisive social comment is offered in Stelios Tsiolas’ “Five Horseflies” and “Day After Day”, and in Daniel Keene & Irine Vela’s “Words Are the Poison”.
All of the lyrics, as well as translations, can be found at

The Singers

On most tracks the composers have elected to sing their own songs and the results are impressive. Andrew Kyriakopoulos and Achilles Yiangoulli are both fine singers as well as composers. Christella Demetriou’s bittersweet voice is perfect for her two songs; Stelios Tsiolas couldn’t have found a more suitable rock singer, and George Xylouris’ bass-tinged voice is striking indeed in “There Are Moments”. It is hard to imagine any of these songs being sung differently.

Costas Tsicaderis has used other singers in the past—a much earlier recording of “The Pomegranate” was sung by Rena Hatzilepou—but it is good to have on this album two previously unheard recordings of him singing his own songs in his unique inimitable style. They may have been his last studio recordings.

The guest singers include Archie (Αργύρης) Argyropoulos, who is well known around Melbourne for his participation in various bands, particularly Rebetiki and Apodimi Kompania. He offers an excellent and thoroughly convincing interpretation of “On Your Balcony”. On that song Helen Sinis sings background vocals, but in the last verse she shares the lead so that, with the two singing alternate lines, a happy ending is suggested despite the lyrics.

Helen Sinis also takes the lead vocal in the second half of “With the Lips of Heartache”, where her richly expressive and passionate singing represents the voice of the lost daughter, whilst Markos Markou sings the narrative of the first half in appropriately sombre and sad tones.

Irine Vela’s “Words Are the Poison”, which stands out for its use of a full choir and its fluid choral and instrumental writing, features a number of strong soloists. The opening zeibekiko section is sung in Greek by Achilles Yiangoulli over a bouzouki accompaniment played by Irine herself. He is joined by Gioconda Vatcky singing a counterpoint melody in Spanish, and then an instrumental interlude ending in a cymbal crash introduces a change of time signature, and ushers in the magnificent sound of the full Canto Coro choir and the soloists Jeannie Marsh and Glenn Hadyn singing in English. This song and the synth “choirs” of the final track which follows it, Stephen Adam’s “Bluebeard”, constitute a fitting climax to the album.

Some Responses to the Album

According to one of the featured composers who is currently living in Greece, “People have been making really good comments about it!”

Here are some of the comments I have received:
  • “What an impressive production it is.”
  • “Loved the album. I … now have it on my i-pod.”
  • “Wow! I just listened to your CD and enjoyed it very much. It was a wonderful mixture of traditional and modern flavours.”
  • “I think the audio mix is great!”
  • “What an excellent idea!...This CD has so many beautiful songs on it!!”
  • “The more I hear your CD the MORE I LIKE IT, and of course I loved IMMEDIATELY the more lyrical songs.!!!” 
My own response is similar to the last comment. The more I hear the album the more I like it, and since I have been heavily involved in the making of the album, that is remarkable. I should by rights be getting tired of hearing it, but that isn’t the case at all. It still “sends me”. It is a fine album, with many highlights, and it amply demonstrates that the contribution of Greek-Australians to the rich tapestry of Australian musical culture is one of both substance and quality. 


This article first appeared in the newspaper The Greek Herald (Ο Ελληνικός Κήρυκας) in Sydney on 12 Feb. 2011.

See also the review by Dean Kalimniou on Diatribe.

Cover illustration and design: Pavlos Andronikos

Friday 8 May 2020


by Pavlos Andronikos

There was a time when footnotes were conveniently put where they should be—at the bottom of the page. You glanced down, read them, and carried on. Now they always seem to be gathered together at the end of the book, so that the procedure for reading them goes something like this:
  • turn to the back of the book,
  • realise you don’t know the number of the chapter you were in,
  • go back to where you were, and
  • leaf through the pages looking for the beginning of the chapter to discover the chapter number.
By this time you have forgotten the footnote number so you have to locate your page again, and finally, armed with chapter number and footnote number you go to the back of the book to read the desired footnote. Now, you just have to find the page you were on again, but by this time you’ve  lost the thread of what you were reading so that when you do locate your page you have to read it all over again. 

Illustration: P. Andronikos

The irony is that in the good old days before “word processing”—Who came up with that awful term?—printers (i.e., people not machines) had to go to a lot of trouble to typeset each page, yet they still managed to put footnotes where they should be. Nowadays, when page layout is done by computer, and it is so much easier to put footnotes on the page where they belong, publishers seem wilfully intent on making the life of footnote readers difficult.

Anyone would think authors don’t really want you to read their footnotes. Could it be that they include them just for the appearance of academic credibility?

I confess that I have often wondered if that is the case, just as I have often thought that the use of abbreviated Latin words and phrases such as ibid., op. cit., etc. may be merely a way of signifying academic credibility: “Look at me, folks, I can use these Latin abbreviations, just like the real academics of yore.”

Before computers, when one had to write everything out by hand and typesetting was painstaking manual labour, it made sense to use such abbreviations, but since all one has to do nowadays is copy and paste, there is no reason why each footnote should not contain either a full citation, or, as a minimum, author, title, and page number, with the other details in a bibliography. There is little more annoying than having to work back though a long string of ibids and op cits to find the source.

Postscript: I did once advise a postgraduate student I was supervising to use the system I am promoting here rather than the traditional Latin words and phrases. I was very disappointed when one of the thesis examiners decided that this was a nit he had to pick… but then he was a classicist!

In closing, I applaud The Chicago Manual of Style for stating that Latin footnote abbreviations are “rightly falling into disuse”. Good riddance!

Tuesday 5 May 2020


by Pavlos Andronikos

In Pavan K. Varma’s Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity (Penguin Books India, 2010) it is claimed that the Bollywood composer R. D. Burman copied Demis Roussos’ song “Say You Love Me”.
Even R. D. Burman’s hugely popular number ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ from Sholay is an almost complete copy of ‘Say You Love Me’ by the Greek singer Demis Roussos. [p. 160]

Varma does not seem to be aware that Demis Roussos’ song was an English version of a traditional Greek Cypriot song “Ta Rialia”.[1] This had been popularised by the singer Michalis Violaris, and was to an extent a new folk creation by Violaris based on and inspired by Theodoulos Kallinikos’ transcript of the song “Φωνή Αυκορίτισσα” (Melody, the Girl from Avgorou) in the book  Κυπριακή λαϊκή μούσα (“The Cypriot Folk Muse”, Nicosia, 1951).[2]
“Το τραγούδι αυτό πριν από πολλά χρόνια, το βρήκα πράγματι στο βιβλίο του Θ. Καλλίνικου, και μου άρεσε… Άρχισα να το δουλεύω το 1970, και σιγά σιγά διασκευάζοντάς το, του έδωσα τη μορφή που έχει στον δίσκο...” [3]

(Translation: “I actually found this song many years ago in Th. Kallinikos' book and I liked it… I started working on it in 1970, and, gradually adapting it, I gave it the form it has on the album…”)

It seems Rahul Dev Burman was within his rights in recording an Indian cover of the Greek Cypriot song “Ta Rialia” without permission, and was probably not breaking any copyright laws since the song is credited as traditional by both Michalis Violaris and Demis Roussos. However, the fact that the music of “Mehbooba Mehbooba” is credited solely to Burman as if it were an original composition is, at the very least, somewhat unethical.[4]

One last point: in my opinion Michalis Violaris was being modest in describing the song as a folk song adapted by himself. I think it is more accurate to think of it as a new creation by Violaris which builds on received folk materials, i.e., a new song created by Violaris in the folk idiom.