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Concert and Storytelling Performance

  |   Jottings

On the 8th December, despite a day, afternoon, and early evening of winter rain, the Synagogue was filled with locals and others to enjoy an evening of Sephardi music played on traditional instruments. This was an integral part of a richly textured series of tales of the Sephardic journey to the southern Balkans in the 15th century after the expulsion of the Jews of Spain. The performance and selection of music and personal experiences of Sephardi Jews formed the core of the programme that was written and performed by Elias Giannikopoulos with music played by Dimitris Psonis.  Both created an atmosphere that was literally spell-binding as the Synagogue was almost tangibly reminiscent of a time longpast when story-tellers provided the links of traditions now lost and apparently and unsuccessfully replaced or smothered by the TV and other multi-media. Of such success was the evening that we hope to be able to bring back both performers in the Spring of 2016.


6th – 10th December.  The well-planned visit of Melek Saharaiyah also overlapped with the concert. Melek participated in the seminar that N. Stavroulakis gave a paper at in Athens and that was sponsored by the French School of Archaeology two months ago.  In the course of this seminar he was sufficiently intrigued by what we are doing at Etz Hayyim that he organized this visit that fortunately coincided with the concert. He is a highly successful free-lance creator of documentaries esp. for the new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisationsin Marseilles. His and their interest in us is that we are part of a general growing concern over the indifference to the rich cultural, religious and even ethnic strands that make up the Mediterranean in toto even as a quiet response to the technocratic values that seem to stem out of a Europe that seems more and more indefinable. The Museum in Marseilles has seen an enormous success in only two years and has had some 2,000,000 visitors since its opening. The choice of Marseilles for its creation and locus reveals the dominating spirit and vision of its creators:located geographically central in the Mediterranean it was founded in the 6th century BCE by Greek colonists as Massalia and has acted an entrance into Europe that enriched the interior or Gaul, or as it was later called, France, from Hellenic, Hellenistic and Roman times.

Nicholas Stavroulakis