Music on the Island of Crete ☼

Anoula’s travel notebook.

Cretan traditional and modern music.

If there is a place where you must spend a musical evening, this place is called the Bouzoukia.
The Bouzoukia is a place where a curious instrument called the Bouzouki is played by Greek musicians.
The Bouzoukia is like a private club with a big room and a big stage where a singer, wearing a sequin suit dances with enthusiam with a troop of mad dancers playing an odd choregraphy. When dancers disapear, spectators can come to dance on the stage. Dancers can be a couple or a group dancing in a circle.

Spectators of the Bouzoukia buy carnation flowers to throw on the singer, or to throw on other spectators, this  demonstration allows people to show their enthusiasm for other people, male or female.

When the spectator isn’t dancing, you can find him sitting at very long tables where he can eat and drink.

Be careful, the entrance to the Bouzoukia is free, but you have to pay the show by eating and drinking. Coming to the show just to have a drink isn’t well considered.

You will see mainly Cretans in Bouzoukias (out of the tourist season).

To conlude, Bouzoukia is a place where friends and families meet each other, for celebrations and weddings, you won’t find it just in Crete but everywhere in Greece.

Music has a major role on the Island of Crete. Walk in the streets and you will see many advertisings about concerts. Most of the time, this posters are showing curious characters coming directly from a Katzantzaki’s book : a man with brown hair and mustache, handing a Lyra. Don’t miss him!

You can listen to music at every celebration. Traditional music is often mixed with modern music.
There are many popular and traditional Cretan singers such as : Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis and Yannis Markopoulos.

There are also great Lyra players such as Giorgos Papadakis, Mikhalis Alephandinos, Vassilis Skoulas and Manolis Karpouzakis.
There is a music label in Heraklion, that is selling cheap Cretan music: don’t forget to bring one back from your trip!