Nikos Ordoulidis, The ‘ecumene’ of the Greek estudiantinas. Conference on the Social, Cultural and Economic History of İzmir and the Region, Hrant Dink Foundation, Izmir, 24-25 November 2017.
The first well-known Greek speaking estudiantina was created by Aristidis Peristeris and Vasilios Sideris. They named their orchestra ‘Ta politakia’ and settled in Smyrna circa 1898. The ‘politakia’ is classified as a small type of mandolinata with intense Spanish influence; emulating a Spanish estudiantina that successfully toured Paris beginning in 1878, which subsequently toured Istanbul as well, in 1886. The photographic material proves the direct influence of the Spanish estudiantinas; however, the practices of the Greek estudiantinas are not practices of mimicry. In the character of Izmir musicians, that is, being aurally receptive to their acoustic environment, they set a course of their own, shaping prototype aesthetics, style and repertoire. From then onwards, many Greek music groups followed the model of the ‘Politikia’. The sound salvaged by the historical discography of the Greek estudiantinas is, to a great extent, the ‘sound of Smyrna’, whose environment could be considered the definition of cosmopolitanism of the period. This paper will try to present and elaborate on the historiography of the estudiantinas activity in Izmir, presenting information elicited from their recorded works, the musician members as well as to examine and evaluate the catalytic role that the artistic tensions of these music groups played in shaping Greek urban popular musics.