“A potent tale of discovery and loss in the isolated mountain villages of northwestern Greece. . . . A singularly fascinating musical odyssey.” —Library Journal
“Lament from Epirus is a master class in listening. Record collector and music scholar Christopher King goes to northwestern Greece, drinks ‘perception-altering’ tsipouro, dances in the street, and brings back as many stories as records. . . . King captures the transcendence of both the music and the land." —Sasha Frere-Jones, writer and musician
Christopher C. King is a renowned collector of early-twentieth century 78 rpm records and an expert in the forgotten music they contain, especially Delta blues. On vacation in Istanbul, he wandered into a dark record shop, where he found an intriguing stack of discs with Greek labels. Back home in his listening room, his life changed and an odyssey began. He had to learn more, so he went to the source of the music: a mountainous area straddling southern Albania and northwestern Greece called Epirus.
LAMENT FROM EPIRUS: An Odyssey into Europe’s Oldest Surviving Folk Music follows King’s journey, over several visits, guided by hospitable locals and expats. He attends panegyria, the “feast dances” where Epirotic music and dancing are central, and drinks tsipouro, the local moonshine. The book is also the tale of King’s intellectual exploration of an eclectic array of historical figures who wrote about Epirus, from Pausanias and Pliny the Elder to Lord Byron. He learns that Epirus has a musical tradition going back to pre-Homeric times and is considered a wellspring of European culture.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHRISTOPHER C. KING, a Grammy-winning producer, musicologist, and prominent 78 rpm record collector, has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine and the Washington Post, and has written for the Paris Review and the Oxford American. He lives in Virginia.