My Ithaca

Traveling through Laistrygonians , Cyclops, and an angry Poseidon !

Reading once again yesterday the exceptional , meaningful poem of Ithaca (Ithaka)  written by Constantine P. Cavafy, I clearly remember the reason  I initially started this blog, which is being also written in my first ever post:

"And this is the main reason of the blog's existence.

To post the process of the bouzouki making , step by step, picture by picture, heart beat by heart beat, together with the luthier's inspiration, in this mystical rite between man and old woods, hopping at the end, that the memories from the sound I grow up with, will come alive, the first time I will touch the pick and I will hit the strings in a Re minor chords.

The journey begins! "

In one of my personal email conversations with one of the most famous and respectful Master Greek luthiers back in August 1st 2011, I had explained  the particular reasons of the "Memories" journey and  this blog's existence:

"My main desire  is to create if possible one bouzouki instrument per year.
Not from an egoistic, internal complex of wealth, or from a crazy desire collecting dozens of musical instruments in my house. 
Rather from the internal need  to experience, even as a viewer,  the truly mystical Art of traditional lutherie through different forms of musical instruments, but also through different talented hands of worthy instrument makers.

This  Journey which lasts  4-6 months  from the conception of a design  until the completion of the  musical instrument's construction, is somehow a life journey for me, sailing me through traditions and memories which are so hard to find as an immigrant  in foreign lands.
Perhaps at the end, the journey is more important even from the destination, the result, the musical instrument itself."

Four years almost in this journey, four instruments later , keeping strong my vision and the internal desire.
To my surprise I discovered  that many more traditional lutherie enthusiasts around the world  wanted to walk side by side with me on this journey, in this quest back in time.

And like any other journey the road was full of  obstacles , Laistrygonians , Cyclops and an angry Poseidon  who forced me to make sacrifices in order to continue this journey, by selling some of these memories, the musical instruments themselves.

But I have no regrets !
From a tetrachordo of the Golden 1950s era, to a trichordo of the 1940s era, to the Politko of the 1880s era, to finally the Stathopoulos of the 1910s era, this journey was nothing less than simply amazing !

The ones who have received "The Art Book",  are able to experience this journey with every detail, step by step  going way back the 1880s.

This journey made me more wised, more educated, and even more fascinated with the old Rebetiko era!

Just for the Politiko bouzouki for example the steps and designs before its creation and later for the version V2, numbering more than 2 dozens! Here are few of the steps:

Original tear shape bowl design for Politiko
Runner up for the original Politiko version
Original Politiko version  order
Politiko bouzouki version V 2.1
Politiko bouzouki version V 2.2
Politiko bouzouki version V 2.3
"As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)


Popular Posts