William Dalrymple’s article at Financial Times

A journey through centuries of Crete’s history via its elegiac musical traditions

A couple of years ago I came across an extraordinary CD while idly thumbing through the stacks of a music store in Istanbul. On its cover was a beautifully fretted pear-shaped fiddle made of mulberry wood and decorated with fine filigree inlay. It was of a shape and curve I had only seen once before, years earlier on the Anatolian leg of a journey along the Silk Route to China. The spike fiddle had then been played by a pair of elderly Pontic Greeks from the hills behind Trebizond and I had loved the sad, moving and oddly timeless music of the two brothers: it seemed to contain all the tragedy of the Greeks of Asia Minor in its falling Byzantine maqam scales and its sweeping, sawing bow strokes.
Jun 2012