Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

A musician tunes her lyre before a concert with reconstructed ancient instruments at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. (Reuters)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

  • The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum.
  • Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events.

ATHENS: Hymns sung to the Greek gods thousands of years ago resonated from ancient musical instruments in Athens on Thursday, transporting a transfixed audience to antiquity.
The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum as part of World Music Day celebrations.
A family of musicians, Lyravlos have recreated exact replicas of the ancient instruments from natural materials including animal shells, bones, hides and horns.
Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events. Today only some 60 written scores of ancient Greek music have survived, said Lyravlos member Michael Stefos.
Stefos said they interpret them as best they can, relying on the accuracy of their recreated instruments.
“Joking aside, ancient CDs have never been found,” he said.
Their performance included a hymn to the god Apollo, pieces played at the musical festival of the ancient Pythian Games in Delphi and during wine-laden rituals to the god Dionysus.
Michael’s father Panayiotis Stefos, who heads the group, travels to museums at home and abroad studying ancient Greek antiquities and texts in order to recreate the instruments.
“Usually each instrument has a different sound. It is not something you can make on a computer, it will not be a carbon copy,” said Stefos.
The difference with modern day instruments?
“If someone holds it in their arms and starts playing, after a few minutes they don’t want to let it go, because it vibrates and pulsates with your body,” he said.
French tourist Helene Piaget, who watched the performance, said it was “inspiring.”
“One sees them on statues, on reliefs, and you can’t imagine what they might sound like,” she said.
World Music Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the summer solstice.


The Six: Musicians in the UAE

Updated 17 February 2019
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The Six: Musicians in the UAE

DUBAI: It was an eventful weekend for music fans in the UAE, as numerous chart-toppers hit the stage in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Macklemore

Headlining RedFest DXB with Camila Cabello, this American rapper rose to fame in 2013 when his single “Thrift Shop” topped the US Billboard chart.

Afrojack

Also known as Nick Van de Wall, the Dutch DJ kicked off a weekend party at BASE Dubai, commanding a wild crowd with his best beats and tunes.

Jonas Blue

The English DJ, who has partnered with stars such as Zayn Malik, performed at RedFest due to a last-minute shakeup, replacing Jess Glynne, who had to pull out.

G-Eazy

This American rapper thoroughly enjoyed his stay in the UAE, sharing Instagram stories of the Burj Khalifa and views around Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

DJ Snake

The French DJ and producer, who rose to fame after partnering with Lady Gaga for her “Born This Way” album, was also on the bill in Dubai.

Arturo O’Farrill

This multi-Grammy winner Cuban musician serenaded the Abu Dhabi crowd on Valentine’s Day in an open-air evening of classic mambo, performing alongside the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.