Μαρίκα Παπαγκίκα (Marika Papagika)

**Taken from last.fm**

Marika Papagika Μαρίκα Παπαγκίκα (September 1, 1890 – August 2, 1943) was a popular Greek singer in the early 20th century and one of the first Greek women singers to be heard on sound recordings.

Marika Papagika was born on the island of Kos near Turkey on September 1, 1890. In late 1913 or early 1914, she recorded for the Gramophone Company in Alexandria, Egypt. Only one of those recordings have so far been found.

She emigrated to America through Ellis Island in 1915 with her husband, Kostas (Gus) Papagika, a cymbalom player who was also her accompanist. In July 1918, she made her first trial recording in the States for Victor Records, though her first published Victor recordings were made in December of that year. In July, 1919 she also began recording for Columbia Records. Marika Papagika was thus among the first to record Greek music in the USA.[1] She also recorded a number of songs in Turkish. By 1925, Marika and Kostas had opened a nightclub on in New York on W. 34th St near 8th Ave, called Marika’s, likely the first café-aman—a gathering place characterized by Greek cuisine and Greek music—to appear in the States. Marika’s wasn’t just a café-aman, but a speakeasy for Greek people as well as for other Mediterranean immigrants. Marika’s attracted not only Greeks as regular patrons, but also Albanians, Arabs, Armenians, Bulgarians and Turks.

Illustration by R. Crumb

Below is the song, Epirotiko Mirologi, from phantom violinist Alexis Zoumbas. He was born in Epirus, Greece in 1883. The following text is an excerpt from an article by Christopher King about the life of Alexis Zoumbas. Read the whole article right here.

Villagers and musicians from Epirus believe that a unique body of melodies, played principally with the clarinet and violin, give psychological healing to all those who listen to them: a harmonic panacea. The two tunes most strongly identified with Epirus are the mirologi and the skaros, both improvised pentatonic instrumentals, with free melody and meter but regionally defined tonal emphases and embellishments. They’re ancient and primal. The mirologi was originally a vocalized funerary lament, sung over the body or next to the grave of the deceased for several years until the earth consumed the flesh; after that, the bones were exhumed, bathed in wine, and placed in the village. Mirologi are found throughout ancient Greek literature, in the epic poems and tragedies. At some point, the keening of mourning women was transformed into an instrumental that’s central to Epirot music and culture. This dark, melismatic piece is played at the beginning and at the end of the traditional feast-dances in Epirus, the paniyeria. (From the Paris Review http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2014/09/22/talk-about-beauties/)