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Various Artists
Why The Mountains Are Black - Primeval Greek Village Music: 1907-1960
Third Man Records
Catalogue Number
Release Date
March 4, 2016


Jack White and his Third Man Records label present a compelling compilation of music you’ve probably never heard before: the obscure sounding Greek folk songs were compiled by Christopher King, Grammy laureate for his production skills in the historical album category, who showcases the gems of his extensive private archive of 78 rpm gramophone records. Recorded between 1907 and 1960 in very basic studios in Athens, Greece, New York and Chicago, the 28 songs are dominated by shepherd-pipes, bagpipes, and mythical zurnas. The resulting hypnotic free jazz vibes stem from the music’s function: the songs were supposedly intended to put people into a therapeutic trance, and get them to dance. Not difficult to imagine, given that for example the sound of the frame drum and zurnas on ‘Kalamatianos’ has a squelching quality to it — not unlike acid house’s very own Roland 303.

Third Man Records

Alternative / Indie / Post-rock

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