There may be more accurate ways to learn about the history of a particular region than through its traditional folk songs, but surely none more entertaining. This collection was put together by the Volos Municipal Center for History's record label, Volos. Costis Drygianakis oversaw the production. Born out of a desire to underline the 120th anniversary of the annexation of Thessalia to the Hellenic state, Thessalia: Persons and Events Through the Traditional Folk Songs culls 14 songs pertaining to historical events and heroic figures. If the lyrics have been preserved, the music has gone undocumented on paper or record, so the musicians and singers involved had to re-create the songs from their knowledge of folk forms. Except for a song recorded in 1930 by Melpo Merlier and three more recorded by Yiorgis Papageorgiou in the early '90s, the material was freshly recorded in the studio specifically for this project. Featured singers include Christos Tzitzimikas and Yiannis Gouziotis. The instrumentation, traditional to this region, consists mostly of klarino (a clarinet), violin, laouto (a lute), and defi (a tambourine). Most of the songs are related to the adventures of various kelfis, Robin Hood-like bandits during the Turkish occupation and the Russian-Turkish wars (late 18th century), plus heroes of the Greek revolution of the 1820s and the events that led to Thessalia's entrance in the Greek confederation in 1881. Songs are presented in chronological order of their subject, and extensively presented and contextualized in the 78-page booklet which includes essays and lyrics in both Greek and English. Because of its focused subject, the restrained number of sources for the recordings, and their modernity, this collection is much more satisfying a listen than the Magnesia set Volos released simultaneously.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture