Κατά σύμπτωση έγινε συζήτηση για το Uskudar και στο eefc-list, και ο Ελληνοαμερικάνος Joe Graziosi έδωσε μερικές ενδιαφέρουσες πληροφορίες που είχε την καλοσύνη να μου αφήσει να μεταφέρω εδώ.
Hi to all
I just saw the thread regarding the documentary “Whose is this song?” and thought I would add a few cents from my own experience. The song Uskudara Gidereken was well known among aficiοnados and musicians in the New England Greek and Near Eastern music scene in the 1960s and 1970s and few people doubted its Turkish provenance. Even in the documentary “Whose Song is This?”, the Mytilini Greek whom Adela Peeva first encounters, upon being asked if the song is Greek says it is from “Minor Asia”, i.e. Asia Minor (Mikra Asia in Greek) without further elaboration as to its “ethnic” origins.
Among the numerous USA recordings from the decade of the 60s are the instrumental version Uskudar with the then very popular Greek American clarinetist Gus Vali (and his Casbah Ensemble) on the LP Dance Bellyrina, Dance UAS 6302. A version sung with Greek lyrics was recorded by the fiery vocalist Betty Daskalaki, “Mi Mou Ksanapis Yia Agapi” (Don’t Talk to me again of Love) on the LP Boujouki ke Kaymi No 5 ST-LP-777. This was part of a large series of LPs of mostly bouzouki based popular and rebetic songs on the Standard Colonial label; for a while out of Woburn, Mass. Most of the artists on these recordings were part of a large wave of musicians and singers from Greece, many well known, who migrated to the States in the mid-50s to early 60s to try their luck in the thriving Greek and Near Eastern club scene of the times.
My favorite USA recording however, was a 78 RPM from the 1940s from the late Dino Pappas’ collection; “Eskoutari” by Virginia Mangidou on Kalos Diskos 302-B. Virginia Mangidou was a Greek from Istanbul who recorded extensively in the States and owned her own recording label. Skoutari or Eskoutari is the popular Greek name for Chrysoupolis from which the Turkish Uskudar derives (the Istanbul suburb on the Asiatic shore opposite the old city). It is also the only Greek version of the song I know whose lyrics follow closely the originial Turkish in subject matter. Supposedly Marika Papagika recorded an even earlier Greek version in the States in the 1920s called “Apo Kseno Topo”, but I haven’t heard it yet nor do I recall it in Dino’s collection.
The most influential Greek recording however was the 1970s field recording from Playia, Plomariou on the island of Mytilini done by Mary Vouras and Simona Karas for the Society for the Dissemination of National Music and released on the LP Songs of Mytilini and Chios, LP SDNM 110. This was because these series of LPs coincided with a revival of interest in traditional folk and old rebetic/ smyrneic songs by young mostly urban (Athens) based musicians and singers and this particular version became the standard for this new wave. The Mytlini version, known as “Apo tin Athina os ton Pirea” is an island style syrto which changes into a Ballos Amanes, just as in the documentary. This version is the basis for the recent recording, a Greek- Turkish collaboration between Christos Tsiamoulis (who has been to the States at least twice for the World Music Concert series) and Halil Karadurman, the CD “Where Nostalgia Hurts” ML 0708 (Greece). Here, Tsiamoulis (ud and vocals) sings the Greek Mytilini version and Karadurman (kanun) the well known Turkish, then Tsiamoulis “returns” to the Greek with the well known Ballos Amanes “Oraia Pu’ne tin Avghi” (made famous by the Naxiote singer Irini Legaki -Konitopoulou and made known more recently among the Balkan Camp crowds by Christos Govetas and Brenna MacCrimmon).
Among the Turkish language recordings is the version “Uskadara Giderken” by Sema Icli, LP Tourkika Traghoudhia Olympic BL 1054, Athens, Greece. This was part of a large series of Turkish songs recorded in Greece in the early 1960s on 45 RPMs on the RCA label. The singers were primarily Turkish, Ali Ugurlu being the most important, but also including the Laiko “superstar” Stelios Kazantzides at the height of his popularity. Kazantzides was the son of Turcophone Pontian refugees, as was his former fiance, Sevasti Papadopoulou, who, under the artistic pseudonym, Sevas Hanoum, became famous in the clubs of 1950s Athens singing Turkish songs. The musicians on these RCA recordings were Greek refugees from Turkey among whom were the violinist Dimitris Ladopoulos or “Manisalis” (from Manisa, Izmir) and the ud player Yannis Soulis (I believe from Izmir). The kanun player was either Nikos Sahinidis or Nikos Stefanidis (both from Turkey).
I believe there was also a Turkish USA recording on the Colonial Standard label with the clarintist Saffet and the singer Lutfi. There was an instrumental Chifte telli recorded by Saffet called “Skoutari”, but this is a different melody - see Exotic Music of the Near East, Standard Stereo LP-950.
I’ll probably have a compilation CD ready for Ballkan Camp with these and other Greek Turkish equivalents. Oh, and I can’t forget the Arabic version “Yia Banat Iskandaria” by the Egyptian Mohammed El-Bakkar on the LP Port Said AFSD 5833 (USA). If there was one Arabic LP found in Greek American homes in the 60s and 70s this was it.