The wealth of musical tradition of Kasos is impressively big regarding its size. The musical idiom of Kasos has been created by the exceptional result of the composition of influences from Crete and the Dodecanese, the old time and the West, as the island was a significant crossroad between Eastern and Westerner Mediterranean.
The musical instruments local people use, are mainly the Dodecanesean lyre and the lute. However the songs are totally special. “Skopoi” as Kasian people name them, are lyric in melody and simple in structure, avoiding the tendency to show-off, without however achieving it at all. Many Kasians are great folk masters. You can find it out every September at the international meeting of lyre and instruments with bow, organized in Kasos.
Music is an essential part of anyone living in Kasos. It has been a companion at moments of everyday routine, small or big, at time of joy but at the same time in pain and loss. Serenades are still alive and describe with rhyme and often derisive way, all the incidents taking place on the island.
Manolis Kalomoiris himself will observe the natural tendency of Kasian people to music: «Καταδεικνύεται όθεν, ότι οι Κάσιοι πάσης τάξεως και ηλικίας κατεγίνοντο πολύ εις την Μουσικήν δια την οποίαν φαίνεται είχον και ιδιαίτερον τάλαντον. Εις τας πολλάς του ασχολίας ο Κάσιος δεν ελησμονεί την λύραν του, αλλ’ απ’ εναντίας επάνω εις τα χορδάς της εύρισκε την ανακούφισιν του».
If someone is looking for a place which at the same time maintain pure the old local individuality and the assimilating with admirable balance the external influences he will find all of them in Kasos. History can approve this:
At 1928 the Dodecanesean community at Egypt releases at Port-Saint the first (and last unfortunately…) volume of Dodecanesean lyre. It’s about a monumental effort of recording the melody and poetic tradition of Kasos. It‘s been reported that in the island more than 63 different melodies were played!
This great book, has been looked after an important Kasian (for any aspect of Dodecanesean problem) Nikolaos G. Mavris. It has been completed due to E. Papadopoulos’ help, director at many schools at the Egyptian community. Moreover the great Greek musician of that time Manolis Kalomoiris helped. He is reporting that in one of his tours in Crete for studying country music, Cretans musicians told him that <>. You must consider that we are talking about an isolated island, with 5 small villages with not so many residents, located at the north-eastern part of its only 66 infertile square kilometers…
Mr Kalomoiris is so excited that not only does he care of and give his knowledge on music, but he also begins a series of concerts and lectures in Alexandria, Suez, Ishmael and later in Athens, so as the public come closer to Kasian and Dodecanesean music, pointing that <<… Greek composer of the future doesn’t have but to bend and drink the Immortal water of various but one and indivisible Greek music>>. And also that these melodies have <<… all the thyme of Greek mountains and all the brine of Greek sea>>.