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The sung poetic improvisation in Olympos (Karpathos, Greece) : Contemporary dynamics of a paraliturgical ritual




In the village of Olympos, located in the north of the Greek island of Karpathos in Aegean Sea, the sung poetic improvisation, known as mantinades, takes on a particular character. It is developed during ritual festivals called glentia, either during informal meetings of men in the coffee-house, or at the time of the celebration of orthodox religious festivals with the whole community. Part of the wide musical repertoire of the village, this sung poetic improvisation respects underlying codes, and the themes that are developed echo the everyday life of the community which lived self-sufficiently for a long time. Through a corpus recorded in the field at the time of three important religious holidays for the village, this work proposes, on the one hand, to show the role played by the sung poetic improvisation within a community of which a majority of its members lives currently in emigration and, on the other hand, to highlight the links that this improvised performance has with the orthodox liturgy which gives rythm to the life of the village.

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