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Cypriot love poems are given a make-over on stage

The European Capital of Culture Pafos2017 may bring music to us from all over the world, but it still stays true to the island’s roots with a performance that takes a new approach to Cyprus folk poetry, adding theatrical and musical elements.

The people to bring us this show of passion for our roots are the art lovers that make up Cyprus Rhymes of Love. Directed by Chryso Charalambous to music orchestrated by Michalis Kouloumis, Elena Hatziafxenti provides the voice that delivers the poetry (either in song or as a narrator), while Michalis Kouloumis, Thodoris Pegeia Ziarkas and Yiannis Koutis provide the music.

A series of narrative love poems are presented to the public, perhaps for the first time to many, to keep tradition going, to keep these literary works alive, to sing about the joys and pains of love and to bring to our modern ear the beauty of our own folk poetry.

Cypriot epic poems are long, narrative works written in political verse – which are verses of 15 syllables. The verses rhyme and are written in the Cypriot dialect. There is a great amount of these narrative poems in Cyprus and they are considered to be the most important written recourses that we have on the Cypriot dialect reflecting information about the language, the history of Cyprus and other sociological and political information.

The performance was developed because of the need to study, understand and promote Cyprus’ folk poetry in a theatrical way. The need to bring traditional music to the forefront, and the ways in which Cypriot folk poetry can be connected to music, was also considered in the design of the performance. The travelling of these poems is also of importance, as this is the actual way these narrative poems reached the public as the folk poet used to travel to places where people would gather like festivals or other religious gatherings and he would sing his poem. The Cypriot dialect lends itself readily to a stage presence as it is very direct.

The performers and creators of Cyprus Rhymes of Love invite people to meet our epic poetry and enjoy “a unique theatrical experience to find out about the stories of Erotonikis and Kontoulla, Christofis and Eftyhia, Androniki, Aishie and Giorkos.”

Cyprus Rhymes of Love will perform their love songs in three locations that are linked to each other through their historical, archaeological as well as aesthetic properties. The first performance will take place on Thursday at Polemi village, the second on July 30 at Kallepia village and the third on August 2 at Pegeia village.

Cyprus Rhymes of Love
Performance of Cypriot folk poetry. July 27. Polemi village, Paphos. 8.30pm. Free. Tel: 26-932017
July 30. Kallepia village, Paphos. 8.30pm
August 2. Pegiea village, paphos. 8.30pm

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