Cyprus – Music
Like gastronomy, Cypriot music reflects the long history of the island and the culture of the different people who have lived there. Both traditional music and contemporary music is similar to the one of Greece, Turkey and has Arab influences.
Traditional musical instruments: The violin and the lute are the main instruments prominent in both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and are still played in weddings and village festivals.
Folk music: Greek-Cypriot folk music is most closely related to the Nisiotika (the folk music of the Aegean Islands) and especially so to the music of the Dodecanese. The traditional music of Cyprus is also greatly influenced by the music of the Greeks of Asia Minor. Music is linked with traditional dances too, some of which include the tatsia, sousta, syrtos, ballos, zeibekiko, karotseris, sinalik, chiftetteli, arabkyes, mandra dance, and the karsilama. Since the 70’s folk music revived and was fused with other genres by many artists such as Michalis Violaris, Michalis Terlikkas, Kyriakou Pelagia, etc.
Chiatistá: The chiatistá is improvised antiphonal singing like the Cretan mantinada, with satirical and funny themes. They were usually performed between friends or relatives poking fun at each other. Nowadays there are also chiatista competitions in many village festivals. https://bit.ly/3IDkqIV
Contemporary music scene:
The contemporary music scene of Cyprus is linked with the Greek music scene and many Greek Cypriot artists ended up working and collaborating with artists there. The contemporary music scene is an echo of the traditional music of Cyprus. The most popular genres include Laiko which is influenced by rhythms of Nisiotika, Rebetika, Hasapiko, Zeibekiko, Kalamatianos, Syrtaki etc Entehno which is a genre that fuses folk rhythms with lyrical themes, rock, and pop which while keeping some folk elements were influenced by western culture and of course everything in between!
One of the most important Cypriot composers is Marios Tokas, who wrote some of the most iconic songs of the contemporary Greek music scene. He also collaborated with the Turkish Cypriot poet Neşe Yaşın and composed music for the poem she wrote about the struggle of loving a divided country and which became a song for the peace and reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
From the newer generation, one of the most acclaimed composers is Giorgos Theophanous who wrote music in different genres ranging from Laiko and Entexno to pop music.
New generation of artists:
Alkinoos Ioannidis is one of the most acclaimed musicians of the post-war generation (post 70’s). His music is mostly Entehno although he experiments with fusions of other genres such as laiko and rock. In most of his songs, he is the composer and the writer of the lyrics which are mostly poetic. He has also interpreted traditional Cypriot songs which he helped to popularize to even younger generations.
Another example of fresh blood and a new perspective of Cypriot music are Monsieur Doumani, a Cypriot band from Nicosia which focuses on developing Cypriot traditional music and reworking traditional Cypriot folk songs. They have won the “Best Group” award in the Songlines Music Awards 2019 among others and have performed in various music festivals abroad such as WOMEX, WOMAD Charlton Park, Konzerthaus Vienna, Rudolstadt-Festival, Havana World Music Festival, etc.