Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A beautiful sixties Greek soundtrack: Hellespontus - Stavros Xarcharkos (1966)

This is a classy set of original Greek folk music from 1966 composed by Stavros Xarcharkos. The dominant presence of the bouzouki on most tracks lends the album a strong Greek, traditional feel, but there is a welcome addition of unorthodox tones for this style of music such as electric guitar and glockenspiel. As the liner notes say, Xarcharkos has a ‘talent for blending unusual instrumentation with the warm melancholy of beautiful songs’. There’s a lot of range here, from slow, spooky bazouki numbers such as Horos Tou Sakaina - which when I first heard it, I was sure was the source material for Secret Chief’s 3’s Ship Of Fools* - to fast, odd-metred folk dances like Fos Tis Avgis and Ipomoni.

This LP was originally released in 1966, but was reissued in 1972 when one of the tunes was appropriated as the theme song to the successful BBC drama series The Lotus Eaters. It is from this reissue that this rip was made, which I was fortunate enough to find at the Phillip Island Vinnies Store.

*It's probably not.

Label: EMI
Released: Originally 1966, this reissue sometime after 1972.