Xanthi: Speech and music for the rich tradition of Pomaks

The Pomaks have their own special culture, with a number of traditions of years, which they hold to date in … Launching a new partnership in the city of Xanthi, in an effort to enhance the cultural character of Thracian Folklore Festivals (T.E.L.), the Foundation for Thracian Art and Tradition (I.T.P.) and the Philoprody Association of Xanthi (F.E.X.) with the collaboration of the Cultural Association of Pomaks Xanthi, co-organized in the context of this year’s Thracian Folklore Festivals a special event of speech and music dedicated to the tradition of the Pomaks. The world-renowned impressive tobacco warehouse of F.E.X. was filled with sounds from the rich music tradition of Pomaks and, as stressed, the director of I.TH. T.P. Andreas Madzacos “is worth grasping the thread that leads people to creative joy and social progress through synergies. That is why the event we co-hosted was intended to highlight our tradition. I think we’ve forgotten a little bit about the real concept of Thracian Folklore Festivals and focus only on carnival events. But this is the goal of the T.L.E., at least in the first week, to refer to our tradition, our roots, to get to know it better and to love it.” The participating artists Guided by four distinguished Xanthiotis (Nikolao Kokka, Hercules Psomadopoulos, Emine Bouroutzis and Anastasios Daskalopoulos) from the area of Letters and Arts, those who attended the event were guided by the rich tradition of Pomaks, knowing at the same time the relationship of the cycle of time and life with their musical culture. They also had the opportunity to learn about the musical traditions of other regions of Greece and the Balkans. Dr Nicholas Kokkas, who works as an educator in Thrace and deals with the recording of the oral tradition of the Pomaks, made a very interesting speech about the historical cultural tradition. He is a doctor of the Department of History and Ethnology of the Faculty of Classical and Humanities of the ICU. Hercules Psomadopoulos was involved from an early age with the Thracian gyda and the horse, while as of 2018 he teaches traditional music and in the current school year teaches gyda at Komotini Music School. As part of his scientific and research work, he participated in the editing of a album of pomacian music with 14 songs from Pomakohoria in Xanthi. Emine Bouroutzi, raised in the mountainous Dimario, is an accomplished performer of pomacian music and president of the cultural club Pomaks Xanthi. With her voice she has traveled the music tradition and culture of Pomaks outside Thrace, to the seat of the European Parliament. Anastasios Daskalopoulos, during his studies in Crete, came into contact with popular and traditional music playing rebetika, as well as lute. Returning to Xanthi, he collaborated with many musicians of the wider region, while accompanying musical cultural clubs in Greece and abroad. He’s an expert teacher of traditional instruments. The event was curated by Nikos Kosmidis, the contact and public relations officer of I.TH.T.P. and Damian Karageriadou, secretary of the board of directors of Fex. The social tutorials of the I.T.P. In recent years, the Foundation for Thracian Art and Tradition has implemented various actions for the Pomacians of Xanthi and Komotini in their places of residence. The objectives of the actions are to cultivate respect for the different identities, the cultural wealth of the region, to promote social cohesion and solidarity, and to assist students who do not have a mother tongue in Greek. In this context an annex to the I.T.P. was created. in the village of Sminthi with educational activities of social tutorial for primary students, with parallel cultural and educational activities. Through the teaching of the Greek language, students are helped to understand all their courses at their school in Greek, so that they do not face difficulties later in high school and high school. The courses were then extended to high school and high school students. It is noted that after the end of the school year, in the months of June and July, the tutorials do not interrupt their operation, but continue with various actions, for the environment, history, nature, music, etc., in order through friction with activities, students practice in the Greek language.