Greek Folk Songs: The Bridge of Arta

altDr Stavroula Nikoloudis, Greek Studies coordinator at La Trobe University, will present a lecture entitled Greek Folk Songs: The Bridge of Arta, on Thursday 25 July 2019, at the Greek Centre, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

Greek folk songs, or demotic songs, are creations of the ‘demos’ (= people). As part of the oral poetic tradition, they offer invaluable insights into traditional village life, beliefs and value systems. Such songs, first attested in written form in the fifteenth century but in existence well before that, are part of a long oral story-telling tradition dealing with issues from everyday life and conveying messages to its audiences that still resonate with us today.

This lecture concentrates on the folk song known as ‘The Bridge of Arta,’ a ballad about the trials and tribulations associated with the construction of a bridge and the turmoil that this project brings to the master builder and his wife. By exploring the form and content of ‘The Bridge of Arta,’ this presentation aims to highlight the continuing value and relevance of the study of Demotic Songs, and the Humanities more generally, for our contemporary society. Themes to be covered include a survey of the characteristic features of Greek folk songs as found in this ballad, as well as its potential messages about public and private responsibilities, the role of women, life choices, emotions, human relationships, family, marriage, and more.

Dr Stavroula (Stephie) Nikoloudis has a BA (Hons) and MA from The University of Melbourne and a PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. As an archaeologist, she specialises in the Aegean Bronze Age and the Linear B script, which reflects the oldest surviving form of the Greek language, ca. 1450-1200 BCE. In July 2018 she took on the role of Greek Studies coordinator at La Trobe University. Her primary research to date explores issues of socio-economic organisation, identity and cultural diversity in the Mycenaean world. Her teaching centres on Ancient and Modern Greek language and literature. She has taught modern Greek at tertiary level in Australia and the United States and is especially interested in questions relating to identity and cultural diversity, migration, diachronic language development and language education.

When: Thursday 25 July, 7.00pm
Where: Greek Center (Mezz, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)

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