Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey into Europe's Oldest Surviving Folk Music” as Want to Read:
Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey into Europe's Oldest Surviving Folk Music
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey into Europe's Oldest Surviving Folk Music

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In a gramophone shop in Istanbul, renowned record collector Christopher C. King uncovered some of the strangest—and most hypnotic—sounds he had ever heard. The 78s were immensely moving, seeming to tap into a primal well of emotion inaccessible through contemporary music. The songs, King learned, were from Epirus, an area straddling southern Albania and northwestern Greece ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lament from Epirus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lament from Epirus

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  15 reviews

Sort order
Eva Pliakou
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ένα αριστούργημα, όχι μόνο για λάτρεις της παραδοσιακής μουσικής, όχι μόνο για Ηπειρώτες. Ένα οδοιπορικό στην ιστορία της Ηπείρου, μια προσωπική μαρτυρία για τη μυστηριακή σύνδεση που μας ενώνει με τόπους, μουσικές και ανθρώπους. Ένα βιβλίο που σε κάνει να ξαναπιστεύεις στη ζωή.
Περισσότερα εδώ:
Petros Topouzis
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ξεκινάμε με την παραδοχή ότι ο άνθρωπος δεν είναι συγγραφέας – είναι παραγωγός μουσικής και μανιώδης συλλέκτης δίσκων 78 στροφών (δεν νομίζω ότι έχει γράψει άλλο βιβλίο εκτός από αυτό). Ορθώς λοιπόν χαρακτηρίζει το βιβλίο του από το εξώφυλλο κιόλας ως προσωπικό «οδοιπορικό» χωρίς να διεκδικεί άλλο χαρακτηρισμό για το έργο του.
Τα παραπάνω τα γράφω για να ξέρει ο καθένας τι να (μην) περιμένει και τι να δικαιολογήσει αν επιλέξει να το διαβάσει.
Όσον αφορά το βιβλίο λοιπόν, είναι εξαιρετικό! Και είνα
Ombledroom είναι η θεία Κούλα
Ένας Αμερικάνος συλλέκτης δίσκων 78 στροφών από την Βιρτζίνια πάει διακοπές στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, πέφτει πάνω σε κάτι δισκάκια της δεκαετίας του '20 με κλαρίνα και βιολιά από την Ήπειρο, γράφει ένα βιβλίο για τη δημοτική μουσική της Ηπείρου, του Αλέξη Ζούμπα και του Κίτσου Χαρισιάδη, τη μουσική μπλουζ του του Blind Willie Johnson, τη μουσική των ουράνιων σωμάτων, του Πυθαγόρα και του Voyager 1, τη μουσική που παρηγορεί, τη μουσική που φέρνει κάθαρση, τη μουσική που θεραπεύει την απώλεια, που απ ...more
Chris Giotitsas
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Being from Epirus myself I find this account of a outsider turned insider quite moving considering how I also left home years ago. While my own relationship with the land and its people is complicated to say the least I found the author's enthousiasm for the music awakening memories of events from my youth (like my grandfather singing) which I did not truly appreciate at the time.

Can't say whether the viewpoint presented in the book regarding the local customs would be shared by people actually
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating exploration of the folk music of Epirus that touches on anthropology and, more broadly, cultural history, in order to interrogate the very meaning of music and how it relates to society in general. One of the finest music books that I've read.

Some examples of the music in question:
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book five stars not because I agreed with everything it said, but because everything it said was interesting. It first got my attention in the New York Review because while I don't think you could say my grandfather and grandmother were actually FROM Epirus (they weren't Greek! my grandfather hated Greeks almost as much has he hated Turks!), they came from right on the edge of it where Albanian, Aroman, Greek, Turk, Roma, Christian, Muslim, Jew mingled in a combustible sort of social ...more
Vuk Trifkovic
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great stuff! Lovely story of Epirus and its music in specific and the Balkans in general. Crumb's illustrations put a little extra too.

The only thing it grates is the constant comparison with delta blues. Why must *every* musical tradition across the world be refracted through that comparison? Not a biggie, though. Go read.
Το γράμμα Ι The letter.i
Ένας αφοσιωμένος συλλέκτης δίσκων 78 στροφών απογοητευμένος από οτιδήποτε έχει να προσφέρει η σύγχρονη μουσική, βρίσκει την αυθεντικότητα και το νόημα της μουσικής στην Ήπειρο. Ο Κρίστοφερ Κινγκ μας ξεναγεί στην Ήπειρο με τα δικά του μάτια με τον τρόπο που μπορεί μόνο κάποιος που βρίσκεται για πρώτη φορά στη χώρα, πόσο μάλλον στα απομονωμένα ελληνικά χωριά στο βουνό στην άκρη της Ελλάδας.

Η γραφή του λυρική, κατά τόπους εξειδικευμένη με το χιούμορ να την συνοδεύει πιστά, καθιστά το βιβλίο του ξεχ
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Years ago, I read a long essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan about his discovery of the music of Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas. Finding their records after they were lost for decades sent Sullivan on a quest to find out who these women were, where they came from, and where they went. The essay sent me on my own dive into early blues and hot jazz, a dive I still haven’t really come up from yet. So reading about Christopher King’s moment in which he discovered Epirotic music, preserved on 78 records ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highest recommendation for this book. A beautiful homage & poetic examination of a music form that has gone on for centuries healing the spirits of the people living in the villages of Northwest Greece where it is played & nurtured. Also a good introduction to the Roma of the region & cultural rituals.
The author writes well & passionately on his subject & his personal travels & adventures add to the pleasure & insight of the book.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book.. I can't tell if the author is pulling a Bruce Chatwin or a Carlos Casteneda on us.. fascinating..

Epirote music (from Epirus in NW Greece) may provide some cultural cohesion for some populations in the area.. I'm not so sure about the altered state(s) it may induce..
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
While there are aspects of professional record collectors that are kind of unsavory (see the documentary on Joe Buzzard and the reality of acquiring the old 78’s from the people who preserved them — by withholding the true value from those people who of course tend to be poor—most of the prized 78’s are folk music/music of the poor and rural), it is still an interesting subject for anyone who has fallen in love with old strange music from the past. The role of the record collector still has to b ...more
Bobby Damore
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought it was strange that he focused so much on Epirus, as if the rest of Greek musical culture wasn't very similar to how he was describing Epirus. For example he went on and on about tsipouro, which is in fact an amazing liquor, but it can be found all over Greece - not just Epirus. Also, it exists in other countries under different names.

I also thought that comparing Epirotic music to the Delta Blues was a bit of a stretch. Rebetika has way more in common with the Blues and even then it's
Emmanouil Angelakis
I read this book in Greek which is translation of the original.

The subject of the book is the lament music and is written by king who is a philosopher by training and collector of old 78 rpm recordings.

He is making a very serious point about the purpose of music and the history of this particular genre . Despite the trend of the times he does not back up hid thesis with exhaustive scientific evidenced. His rather using his intuition and experience. In fact the book serves to much extend as a m
Olav Nilsen
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2018
Μιχάλης E.
rated it liked it
Dec 10, 2018
Chris A.
rated it liked it
Aug 15, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Mar 05, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2018
George Kotzoglou
rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Aug 06, 2018
The curious mind
rated it it was amazing
Dec 31, 2018
rated it really liked it
Apr 18, 2019
rated it really liked it
May 17, 2018
rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2019
Abraham Tsoukalidis
rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jul 03, 2018
Cristiana Gaspar
rated it did not like it
Aug 09, 2018
rated it it was ok
Nov 07, 2018
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Christopher C. King, a Grammy-winning producer, musicologist, and prominent 78 RPM record-collector, has written for The Paris Review and the Oxford American. Profiles of him have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Washington Post. He lives in Virginia.