Dialogues in Rhyme: The Performative Contexts of Cretan Mantinádes

Abstract

In Crete, the strong local identity has helped a communicative form of oral poetry, the mantináde, survive to the present day. Emblematic of the performance and composition of these short rhyming couplets is a multilayered dialogism—performative, referential, and textual—that also pervades modern arenas (poems are very popular in the media and even exchanged as text messages). In order to understand how dialogism is embedded in the tradition, this article presents mantinádes as traditionally sung and recited in a wide range of performative discourses.

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A view of the Milopótamos valley and the Psilorítis mountain range.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

The workshop of Antónis Stefanákis in Zarós. Stefanákis constructs all kinds of stringed instruments.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

Antónis Stefanákis still makes reed pipes and he is most likely the last one in Crete to play this pastoral instrument.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

A paréa in Ierápetra, with Egglezonikolís on the violin. The photograph was taken during the first half of the 1960s.

Photo: courtesy of Vaggélis Vardákis.

Antonis Papadomanolákis on the laoúto and Kostas Kiritsákis on the lyra.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

The lyra-player alternates between singing and playing.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

The panigíri of Saint George (the 23rd of April) in Así Goniá, 1997.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

A marriage glénti in an open-air kéntro in Anógeia, September, 2006.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

A local ensemble in a baptismal glénti held at the village society’s festival hall. Milopótamos, October, 2004.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

Parents, godparents, and close relatives begin the first dance to the sirtós tune.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

The paréa of the father and godfather singing mantinádes at the end of the evening.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

A paréa in Ierápetra during the early 1960s. Manólis Egglezákis plays the violin.

Photo: courtesy of Vaggélis Vardákis.

A contemporary paréa in Rethymnon on the 3rd of November, 2007.

Photo: by Dimítris Politákis, courtesy of Geórgos Sifákis.

After midnight, a paréa has gathered around the two musicians who began the performance, and new performers now take turns.

Photo: Venla Sykäri.

Mantinádes sung to the kontiliés with one lyra and two laoúta.

Recording used courtesy of Geórgos Sifákis.

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