Australia Greece

MANASIS presents: RECITAL- The Hymn To Freedom in its Entirety

Under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and the National Committee for the Bicentenary of the Greek Revolution (Australia),

The Hymn To Freedom in its Entirety
(all 158 verses)

On the 23rd of March, 1821, Greek soldiers under the united and combined leadership of Mavromichalis, Nikitaras, Papaflessas and Kolokotronis, besieged the city of Kalamata liberating it from Ottoman Rule, thus rendering it the first officially liberated city in all of Greece, and all of the Ottoman controlled lands.

The Greek National Anthem, or as it is correctly titled “The Hymn to Freedom” (Ymnos Eis Tin Eleftherian), consists of 158 verses in total (we generally only ever sing the first two), and not only combines elements of romanticism and classicism but also draws largely on the epic battles of the 1821 Hellenic Revolution- The War of Independence. It is the longest of any National Anthems world-wide, and was written by the famous Greek poet Dionysios Solomos on the island of Zakynthos in 1823. One year later, it was officially printed in the Sacred City of Messolonghi. Put quite simply, it is an incredible piece of poetic mastery.

In 1828 the famous Greek composer Nikolaos Mantzaros set the Hymn to music, with a score consisting of a 3/4-time signature- the “Tsamikos” rhythm, being the most popular and patriotic style of song and dance of the era.

The Hymn to Freedom of the now “Hellenic Republic”, commands emotions of uplifting patriotism and pride.

For young Greek-Australians, and descendants of migrant Greeks around the world, the Greek National Anthem, together with the Prayer of Our Father, form the foundation for a platform of intangible customs and traditions.

This project is not only our school’s contribution to the bi-centenary calendar of events, but an experience which all 158 participants, their families and our wider school community will cherish and reflect on for years to come. It has brought our students closer to their cultural heritage, instilled pride in them (and certainly anyone who views the production), given them a greater sense of belonging within our network and a greater sense of understanding of their own ancestry.

On behalf of our dance school, first and foremost I would like to congratulate our 158 student participants, and thank their parents and in many cases their grandparents also for the assistance and guidance they provided. Most in our network are well aware of the adoration I have for my own (memory eternal) grandparents, and how much of the work we do as a dance school is centralised around creating opportunities of dialogue and interaction between our students and their own grandparents. Furthermore, our ‘students’ are not simply our students, but in consideration are an extension of my own family and everything my family (in particular my father- our school’s Founder and Former Director Alkis Manasis, and my mother- our school’s costume maker Sylvia Manasis) has offered to the development of the Greek-Australian cultural identity over the past 4 decades. It was for this reason I allocated the opening (1st) verse to my son Alkis, and the closing (158th) verse to my daughter Zachária, with our other 156 participants all fitting in between them.

Secondly, I would like to thank Mr. Kosta Pinirou of Joe Sparrow Media (our dance school’s official videographer/editor), for collating, editing and producing the RECITAL video. Projects such as this require cultural sensitivity, and a shared belief in their purpose. Mr. Pinirou over the past few years has captured some of our dance school’s most incredible moments and continues to follow, document and produce all of our official video and media footage.

Finally, I would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the National Committee for the Bicentenary of the Greek Revolution, for giving our school the opportunity to be a formal participant in the festivities through our submission of the RECITAL- our absolute honour.

On the 23rd March 1821, the City of Kalamata was officially liberated from Ottoman Rule- the first city in all of Greece, in what initiated our nation’s ultimate battle for freedom- the War of Independence. Now, at this exact moment 200 years later, we the fortunate descendants of such heroic ancestors stand in awe of their sacrifices, honour their grandeur, and recite their Hymn to Freedom.

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