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dances different tune

Music of Cyprus

The music of Cyprus includes a variety of classical, folk and popular genres. Recent trends have seen the rise of Ayia Napa, a resort, as a home for club music, similar in its evolution to that of the island Ibiza.

Medieval music

Cyprus changed hands numerous times prior to the medieval era, and was an important outpost of Christianity and European civilization during the Crusades. The tumultuous history of Cyprus introduced a variety of styles, including France, Turkey, and Greece. The island's peak as a cultural capital of Europe occurred from 1359 to 1432. During that peak, Pierre I de Lusignan made a three year tour of Europe, bringing with him an entourage of musicians that so impressed Charles V in Rheims that he donated 80 francs in gold to them. On his return to Cyprus, Pierre I brought with him the French Ars Nova and, later, the Ars Subtilior. French musicians became well established in Cyprus, and the city of Nicosia became a capital of the Ars Subtilior style. Janus I de Lusignan saw Cypriot music evolve into its own variety of music. His daughter, Anna, brought a manuscript after her marriage to Louis, Count of Geneva, which contained 159 folios with over two hundred polyphonic compositions, both sacred and secular. The manuscript is now contained within the National Library of Turin.

Classical music

Notable composers include:

Traditional music

Folk music on Cyprus is similar to the folk music of Greece and music of Turkey, and includes dances like the sousta, syrtos, zeimbekikos, tatsia, and the kartsilamas suites. Note that unlike Turkey and Greece, there are suites of four kartsilamas dances, different for men and women, some of them at tempo different than 9/8. Traditional music is modal based on the makams. Both Turkish and Greek Cypriots use the violin as the main solo instrument, accompanied by laouto (form of lute) for Greek Cypriots and ud for Turkish Cypriots. Accordion, percussion and penny whistle (pithiavli) are also used. A less known artist of traditional music is Yiannis Delfinogamis (surname meaning "Dolphin Lover"), a champion in the tshiatista competition. He is unknown to the greater public but was very well known by a small circle of people who have seen him perform on occasions free of charge or free donation.

Rock and metal music

Metal music

First era

Basically, the history of Cyprus rock and metal music begins a few years after the war of 1974, during the late 1970s. This period is known as the First Rock Era of Cyprus. One of the pioneers of the rock-metal scene in Cyprus is the band known as Kimstyle TR (TR standing for Teenage Reveloution). The band was fronted by English/Cypriot Kim Nicolaou who was the first to bring & introduce Live Rock shows to the Island. The bands 1st Pop/Rock single was called The Lady & The Parrot which was so ahead of its time, for Greece & Cyprus, that the lyrics were found offensive & therefore it was banned by CyBC & copies of the single were ceased & burnt by the customs authorities. This spawned many teenagers to start forming bands & that brought competitions amongst them in the movie theatres. It was due to Kimstyle & Kim Nicolaou's Rock & Reggae show (1st of its kind on CyBC) that influenced the group Armageddon in the mid 1980s with their traditional heavy-metal sound to take Rock Music on the Island one step further. The most long-running band until today, they have managed to be synonymous to the Cyprus metal scene throughout the years, with quality releases and a few visits abroad. Nowadays, they have moved more into the progressive side of metal. In the early 1990s, Godblood started the local Black Metal scene, acting firstly as a school-band, and later on continuing with their small record label 'Throne Productions'. They have disbanded and only some can recall some shows they had in Cyprus with bands from the Greek scene like 'Rotting Christ' and an international festival in Israel in the late 1990s. Power metal was among the most popular genres on the island at that time with bands such as ' Diphtheria' and 'Arryan Path' leading the genre. There were also a couple of active thrash metal bands at that era giving great live shows such as Regicide (supporting 'Epidemic') and Scotoma Eventually, the 1990s were a very active period for the scene in general. Some other bands worth mentioning are 'Zenith', 'Accidentals', 'To Marazi Tis Fotoullas', 'Tade', 'Aposynthesis', etc. Rock-metal bands of the 1990s entailed 'Reckless', 'Alarm Rock Club', 'Underground Rock club', 'Mythos', 'Cocoa', 'Savino', 'Infinity', 'Kingstom', 'Woodstock', 'Streets-Underground', 'No Name', etc.

Another important persona on the scene was Robert Kamasa and his rock/metal shows in big radio stations. He helped kids know better whats going on around the world at a time where internet or international magazines didn't exist at all at the island. Tapes with his shows you can find in each and every collection of metalheads of that era.

Second era

Active bands after the millennium with releases, all appeared in magazines and webzines around the globe are:

Winter's Verge is one of the few Cypriot bands to ever sign a contract with an international label. In September 2007 the band moved into the Prophecy and Music Factory Studios in Kempten in southern Germany, to record their debut album Eternal Damnation. The album was released on the 14th of March, 2008, by Limb Music Productions. More bands with material ready to be recorded and active live status are: Prodigal Earth, Inferno, R.U.S.T., Soulsteal, Terminal Disease. In June 2006, Rocka Rolla Cafe opened in the heart of Nicosia where metalheads from all the country gather to listen to their favorite music. Even though the island of Cyprus may pose almost no significance at all for international bands, acts like the Scorpions, Sepultura, Deep Purple, Nightingale, Rage, Omen, Anathema, Mystic Prophecy and Rotting Christ have visited the island for numerous live appearances.

Rock music

Some popular rock bands in Cyprus are Katadotes, Full Volume, Quadraphonic, Johnny & the Liars (Punk/Alternative), Maenads, Forty Plus, Triple Jam, AMNESIA (Greek) and Krokes (Greek rock), ScarletSnowPrelude (Post-Rock/Ambient). And Cyprus' Metal Scene is basically consisted of: Armageddon, Sulphur, Bludgeond, Arryan Path, Scotoma, Prodigal Earth, Blynd, Winters Verge, Rust, Fassaria, Dementor, No Limits and other bands.

Reggae

Haji Mike is the leading reggae artist in Cyprus. Beginning his recording career in London in 1990, he was featured on Andy Kershaw and John Peel and appeared at Womad and Womex. In 1992-1993, his music took off in Cyprus and he repatriated and worked on Radio and TV doing music shows. He has released three solo LPs and formed Olive Tree Music in 2004 with Turkish Cypriot poet Zeki Ali. The pair teamed up with several local musicians and worked with US producer Stand Out Selector forming a group together called Poetz4Peace. Poetz played the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in USA and various events in Cyprus. Haji Mike also worked with Hmiskoubria, Izit, Simon Booth, Sugar and Harri Kakouli. More recently the first reggae sound system was set up by Roots Crew, who have established an authentic heavyweight reggae sound system. The Roots Crew play at their own events and in venues that support reggae music. Haji Mike appears with them live when available.

Also, a duo named Intibah is experimenting with the psychedelic side of reggae by using unusual instruments such as theremins, dijiritu, birimau, Greek lyre, mcing and also the classic guitar, bass and percussion. The Intibah duo has released a single album by their own expenses giving to people for free.

Hip-Hop

The first attempt at rap music was by a group in Cyprus called Vaomeni Esso (Βαομένοι Έσσο or "Locked Indoors") formed in around 1993. They rapped mainly in Cypriot Greek and performed in public, but they never circulated recordings of their songs. Around the same time, Hadji Mike blended dance music with traditional Cypriot melodies. While most of Hadji's music is reggae, with some hip hop thrown in the mix, he became very popular as an MC and was the first person from Cyprus to release songs independently on his own label with success.

One of the members of 'Locked Indoors', Yiannis Wu, released two solo albums as Mastermind, Τελευταίες Μέρες (or "Last Days") in 1997 and Απαγορευμένες Γνώσεις (or "Forbidden Knowledge") in 1999. Both of them were released by All Records. He also released an independent LP, Αόρατος Πόλεμος (Invisible War) in 2004. Both Albums produced by the heavyweight Hip Hop Producer Cyprus has ever seen Xenios Zonias a.k.a.DJ X-Method www.x-method.com. On these albums, Wu raps in standard Greek not in the Cypriot dialect. Invisible War marked a big change in Wu's work content-wise with heavy apocalyptic messages about religion, the world and doomsday. By the beginning of the new millennium, many new DJs and producers appeared and tried to make hip-hop well known in Cyprus. Among them were DJ Magos (HCH), DJ Fingaz, DJ Ponokefalos, DJ Net and DJ PhatCat. The most well respected Cypriot hip-hop producers are: Geo Beats (D.R.I.G.), (DJ X-Method - 1989-present day), Sniper (So Solid Crew), Magos (HCH), Ponokefalos, Ice (FTW) and Mazout (IUT/AII).

HCH (Hardcore Heads) were a crew of breakers, writers and MCs consisting of (Zac, ON, Pico, Magos, Blackys, Xaros, Panikos). Some of the members formed a hip-hop group, also called HCH, in 2001, and they circulated their first EP (Totally DiY) in 2003. Prior to the release of the EP the crew made successful appearances in many clubs in Nicosia such as Club Treno instantly gaining 'street respect' due to the nature of their hardcore style similar to well known Greek Hiphop crews such as Terror-x-crew. The lyrics alternate between Standard Greek and the Cypriot dialect, and are critical of capitalism, the military and the music industry (hence their name HardCoreHeads). The MCs are Charos, ON, k Gamma, Pico, Zak and Magos. Magos is also the DJ/producer. Unfortunately, HCH did not continue as they were respected far and wide as the first underground hip-hop group to do things for themselves and by themselves.

Among the oldest crews in Nicosia are I.U.T (Invisible Underground Threat nowadays known as AII), F.T.W (Fuck the World) and CyMafia who have existed since 2000. They have released many songs on the internet, also circulated hand-to-hand by underground tapes and CDs. All the three bands/crews together with Lyrical Eye performed live for their first time at Exis Club in Larnaca in 2001 which was the first well-organised live event that had occurred in Cyprus (by that time) by Cypriot MCs.

Lyrical Eye is one of the few fully Cypriot MCs that actually raps fluently in the English language. The artist began performing live before the year 2000 with Big group at the time Universal Soldiers at venues such as Sabia and Spartacus club. The rapper has performed in over 50 different venues across Cyprus and has taken his live performances around Europe. He has performed live at the biggest hip-hop festival in Europe called the HipHop Kemp during the summer of 2006 in the Czech Republic.

Lyrical Eye has also managed to reach the finals in one of the biggest songwriting competitions worldwide (ISC). The artist is currently working with big labels and completing the long anticipated solo album which will be released in June 2007 which features some of the best producers in Europe such as Anno Domini, OP, TK, Kane and many other big names MB59 (Musdy and Bulmy) are two Turkish Cypriot youths who wrote the first song in the Turkish Cypriot dialect, Genclik Ateshi (Youth Fire) which was released by Olive Tree Music on 'The Cyprus Thing Vol 1' compilation. MB59, Sofoz, and Haji Mike also made the first song in Greek, Turkish and English, called 'WorldWIde Ting'. Sofoz Mc is a new breed of MC in Cyprus with heavy philosophies and at times a fast lyrical flow. From Larnaca, Sofoz has not released solo work but has been featured on numerous projects via Olive Tree Music, a non-profit music label formed by Haji Mike and Zeki Ali. He represented Cypriot hip hop in Europe and he had various collaborations with other European and not only rappers. His first album is expected this coming year (2007) and he is open for new collaborations and invitations for concerts. You can find his songs at [].

POTS (Part of the Soul), made up of Fuck-it (also known as Funkit) and Archangelos are an underground hip hop group that has released songs on the internet and organised their own gigs. MC X-Force is a young Turkish Cypriot MC who began more as a junglist and drum and bass MC. Featured alongside Sofoz, Funkit, Bulmy, St3phani3, maxiMOOM, Haji Mike and Zeki Ali on the SOS produced tune 'Music Is Joy'. X-Force has now turned more to hip hop beats.

DNA (Δημιουργοί Νέας Αντίληψης or "Creators of New Perception") is a group that released a CD in 2006 through their own discography label, AK SOUNDplan, although they have had songs on the internet for a few years. Two of the MCs of the group, Megahz and Decayer, are in charge of They have played live in many shows and also at Hip Hop Kemp (Czech Republic) in both 2005 and 2006 (together with Cypriot MC Lyrical Eye, who raps in English). It is the first Cypriot HipHop group that released their "sihnotites" record in vinyl.

Sniper is the most successful artist in the hip-hop genre to date started out at a very young age as a DJ in Ayia Napa. Sniper soon found himself in the chart topping So Solid Crew. As an MC and Producer Sniper has achieved more than most musicians from Cyprus over the last 20 years. Currently based Greece, running a studio and label with links to Jay-Z in the USA. Sniper is building a legacy in Cyprus and putting the island on the map of music world wide.

D.R.I.G is an upcoming crew that consists of local and foreign rappers and producers that have been formed in 2002 in a music hot spot Ayia Napa (Cyprus). They specialized in the hip-hop genre and are currently recording an album of both English and Greek tracks. The album is called 'KALI FASI'. The album provides a smash single 'OLOI PAME' which is also recorded as a music video clip. Till now the crew's tracks can be heard on the 'Rise of Cyprus Hip Hop' mixtape, but this is temporary, soon their album is going to be in release all over Cyprus and Greece. The main members of the crew are Drew, R.A.C., Icy Ice and Geo Beats. Added to that are also ScaR, M.S.E., Jacek, 12inch, Dj MG and many more. The D.R.I.G have worked and collaborated with a lot of hip-hop artists like, Tang Ram, So Solid crew, Thitis, Zetel, Neutrino (So Solid Crew), Lyrical Eye, Wu, Mario Mental, Sniper, Des and many others. D.R.I.G have been heard through radio stations and night clubs (Black and White, Ice Ku...) in Cyprus. They are now based in Greece and are collaborating with local artists eg 'Sniper'. The D.R.I.G are coming through with a lot of material and bring a new sensation to rise the scene of hip-hop in Cyprus, Greece and brake internationally. They are forming a movement on different cultures and styles. Keep your eyes and ears open for the new sensation D.R.I.G. (Ta Paidia Tis Geitonias).

Ponokefalos (Headache), another member of Vaomeni Esso, took up the microphone again in 2002. He also produces beats, and DJs in Nicosia and Limassol. Recently he has released songs on the internet with Kinisiotherapeftis (Kinesiotherapist) in the Cypriot dialect. He also made a mix-CD as a DJ which was sold at events where he played.

Drum and bass

Probably the newest genre of music to enter the Cyprus music scene. Founded in 2006, frustrated by the lack of variety on the island, Newformz (UK), Phat Phinxxx (CY) and Manni Gee (AU), joined together in order to provide locals with an alternative form of music previously unheard of in Cyprus. Several residencies in different bars have been held over the years rolling around the concept of electronic dirty funk. In 2008 Manni Gee placed third in the annual Guaba DJ competition, making his mark & proving DnB is no where near dead!

progressive rock

Progressive rock is the newest genre of music who has entered the Cyprus music scene. It was founded in 2004 by Quadraphonic & in 2007 from 3 members of the progressive rock/metal band Illusion's Edge. Illusion's Edge are performing in Cyprus in selected and mostly self organized festivals.

Quadraphonic (a.k.a. Q4) is a Progressive Rock/Metal band that is well known around the island. Formerly known as Volcano, Q4 was born in Cyprus in the summer of 2004 by ex- members of metal bands Zoner (ex-Regicide), Godblood, Fallen Angel and Horny Mary. With a wide variety of influences concentrated mainly on Progressive Rock, Funk, Oriental and Metal, these 4 musicians have created an original type of music free from labels that describe contemporary music today. With 2 Demo releases under their name and one Promo CD, Quadraphonic continue to play various gigs all over Cyprus. They are currently working on a full length album that is due to be released in the beginning of 2009.

Electronic and World Music

In 2008 the electronic and world music dro Mikros Kosmos arrived in Cyprus and recorded their first album in Nicosia. The album is released in the United States by Sort Of Records and combines meditative Middle-Eastern melodies, earthy Mediterranean folk dances, Brazilian jazz harmonies, Andean rhythms, gently manipulated ambient recordings and found sounds. The duo is made up of Yianna Georgiadou (voice) and Seth Mehl (piano, erhu, percussion, programming). Their first performances presented live remixes for laptop and voice of classic Greek rembetika, with performances at New York City's Golden Festival, Pittsburgh's Woodlab gallery series, and elsewhere in the United States. Mikros Kosmos's full-length original album moves away from the classic rembetika with an affection for minimal arrangements and a lyrical abstraction uncommon in the history of Greek music.

External links

References

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