2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents the next action of the Mystery 100 The Sacred Songs cycle, “As if you are in a foreign country!…”, curated by Lambros Liavas, professor of Ethnomusicology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, on Saturday, September 16 at Elefsina Railway Station.

The “Mystery 100 The Sacred Songs” of September are connected with the symbolic period of “the Cross” (September 14), when – according to tradition – the caravans for the foreign land started from Epirus and Macedonia, with the established ritual of separation. The feeling of “nostalgia” (the pain of moving away and the desire to return) runs through the history of Greek immigration and is expressed in the songs in a shocking way.

Thus, the first part of the musical performance “As you go to foreign lands!” focuses on a representative selection of foreign songs and dances from various regions of Hellenism with a special emphasis on Epirus. In the songs of xenity, individual and collective feelings are captured in front of this central – and often unavoidable – social phenomenon, with its heavy practical and moral consequences. They reflect the stories, passions and feelings of the people, while many of them are the creations of those who stayed behind, especially the women, with the “protagonists” being the mother and the wife of the stranger.

The second part of the performance is dedicated to the other dimension of the “foreignness” associated with the refugee, as the day of the “Cross” also coincides with the climax of the Burning of Smyrna. Here the selected “Sacred Songs” come to underline the role and importance of music as an identity and ark of memory for refugee Hellenism. They follow the loss and trauma of the refugee, to end up settling in the new homelands, where the refugees, through song and dance, gained the courage to rebuild their lives and significantly influenced the local musical traditions.

The musical performance “As you go to foreign lands” will be symbolically performed on the train tracks at the Elefsina Railway Station.

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