Symi's Summer Soundtrack

It was very very quiet on Symi when I walked down the Kali Strata to work this morning – hardly surprising really as the band at the Alethini played their last notes at 3 o’clock this morning. August the fifteenth is a big holiday in Greece and celebrates the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin. Here on Symi this is always marked with a big party with live traditional music at the Alethini church on the Pedi Road. The locals might be celebrating the fact that the Blessed Virgin went to sleep and went to heaven but anyone within a wide radius of the Pedi road was entertained by traditional Greek dance music until long after most people’s bedtime.

When I first came to Symi in 1993 Saturday night was traditionally bazouki night and live music with singing and traditional instruments were a feature of Symi’s summer soundtrack. Then laws about live music changed, and so did people. Open air bazouki evenings became a thing of the past and the local young people headed for sound-proofed clubs in which to bop to techno music and hip hop like their counterparts all round Europe. It is only on name days and other traditional celebrations that the hills echo with the happy plinkety plink of traditional Greek dance music. These days it may be amplified to a deafening volume but the essential Greece is still there. Long may it last.

On a different but still nostalgic note, the Michalaki, the little fisher boy sculpted by Kostas Valsami as a gift to the people of Symi, was relocated earlier this year from his original position next to the clock tower at the entrance to Yialos. Nowadays he is more prominently positioned at the head of the harbour, overlooking the point of departure for the water taxis and excursion boats. His original position may have been obscured by vehicles waiting for ferries and other clutter but was more appropriate for his past time as fisherman.

This photograph shows what an hour or so with a hook and line while waiting for the Dodecanese Seaways catamaran to come in can achieve without much effort. Fish and photo supplied by Dominic Lillicrap.

Have a good week.



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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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