Cyprus Music

Tyllirkotissa (), Traditional Song, Michael Tterlikkas (Μιχάλης Ττερλικκάς )

, singer, composer

  • Anna Vissi, singer
  • Lia Vissi, singer (older sister of Anna Vissi)

    The Cyprus State Orchestra (Aspect of Cyprus)

  • Medieval music

    Cyprus changed hands numerous times prior to the medieval era, and was an important outpost of Christianity and European civilization during the Crusades. The tumultuous history of Cyprus introduced a variety of styles, including France, Turkey, and Greece. The island's peak as a cultural capital of Europe occurred from 1359 to 1432.

    During that peak, Pierre I de Lusignan made a three year tour on Europe, bringing with him an entourage of musicians that impressed Charles V in Rheims so much that he donated 80 francs in gold to them. On his return to Cyprus, Pierre I brought with him the French Ars Nova and, later, the Ars Subtilior. French musicians became well established in Cyprus, and the city of Nicosia became a capital of the Ars Subtilior style. Janus I de Lusignan saw Cypriot music evolve into its own variety of music. His daughter, Anna, brought a manuscript after her marriage to Louis, Count of Geneva, which contained 159 folios with over two hundred polyphonic compositions, both sacred and secular. The manuscript is now a part of the collection of the National Library of Turin.

    Traditional music

    Folk music on Cyprus is similar to the folk music of Greece and music of Turkey, and includes dances like the sousta, syrtos, zeibekikos, tatsia, and the karsilama suites. Note that unlike Turkey and Greece, there are suites of four karsilama dances, different for men and women, some of them other than the standard 9/8 tempo. Traditional music is modal, based on the makams. Both Turkish and Greek Cypriots use the violin as the main solo instrument, accompanied by the lute for Greek Cypriots and the ud for Turkish Cypriots. Accordion, percussion and penny whistle (pithiavli) are also used. Notable performers of Greek Cypriot folk music include singers Michael Tterlikkas and Christo Sikkis. A niche artist of traditional music is Gianni Delfinogamis, a champion of many tshiatísta (Cypriot Greek: τσιατίστα, "spite [song]") competitions. The tsiatísta is improvised antiphonal singing akin to the Cretan mantinada, with satirical and comedic intent, usually performed between friends or relatives poking fun at each other. Greek-Cypriot folk music is most closely related to the folk music of the Aegean Islands and especially so to the music of the Dodecanese.

    Rock and metal music

    Heavy metal music

    First era

    Basically, the history of Cyprus rock and heavy metal music begins a few years after the war of 1974, during the late 1970s. This period is known as the First Rock Era of Cyprus. One of the pioneers of the rock/metal scene in Cyprus is the band known as Kimstyle TR (TR standing for Teenage Revolution). This band was the first to bring and introduce live rock shows to the Island. The bands first pop/rock single was called "The Lady & The Parrot" which was so ahead of its time, for the standards of Greece and Cyprus, that the lyrics were found offensive; therefore, it was banned by CyBC TV and copies of the single were burnt by the customs authorities. This spawned many teenagers to start forming bands & that brought competitions amongst them in the movie theatres. Kimstyle and Kim Nicolaou's Rock & Reggae show (first of its kind broadcasted by CyBC), who later influenced the group Armageddon in the mid 1980s, with their traditional heavy metal sound are considered to have taken rock music on the Island one step further. The most long-running band till today, they have managed to be synonymous to the Cyprus metal scene throughout the years, with quality releases and a few visits abroad. Nowadays, they have moved more into the progressive side of metal.

    In the early 1990s, Godblood started the local Black metal scene, acting firstly as a school-band, and later on continuing with their small record label 'Throne Productions'. They have disbanded and only some can recall some shows they had in Cyprus with bands from the Greek scene like Rotting Christ and an international festival in Israel in the late 1990s. In Heavy/Power metal there were bands of great quality such as Diphtheria and later Arryan Path leading the genre.

    There were also a couple of active Thrash metal bands during that era giving great live shows such as Regicide (supporting Epidemic) and then Scotoma. Eventually, the 1990s were a very active period for the scene in general. Some other bands worth mentioning are Zenith, Accidentals, To Marazi Tis Fotoullas ("the languor of Fotoulla"), Tade [ˈta.ðe] (literally "such and such"), and Aposynthesis ("disintegration").

    Second era

    Some active bands (with releases of albums) of the 2000s that have appeared in magazines and webzines around the globe are the following:

    * full volume band
    * [1]
    * [2]
    * Arryan Path
    * Armageddon
    * Blynd
    * Bludgeond
    * Crestfallen
    * Diphtheria
    * Prodigal Earth
    * R.U.S.T.
    * Scotoma
    * Sulphur
    * Winter's Verge
    * Quadraphonic

    Bands with material ready to be recorded and active live status are: Inferno, Soulsteal, Terminal Disease, Kannibal .[2] In June 2006, Rocka Rolla Cafe opened in the heart of Nicosia where metalheads from all the country gather to listen to their favorite music. Even though the island of Cyprus may pose almost no significance at all for international bands, acts like Scorpions, Sepultura, Deep Purple, Nightingale, Rage, Omen, Anathema, Mystic Prophecy and Rotting Christ have visited the island for numerous live appearances.

    Rock music

    Some popular rock bands in Cyprus are Katadotes (Καταδότες "Informers"), Full Volume, Quadraphonic, Johnny & the Liars (Punk/Alternative rock), Maenads, Forty Plus, Triple Jam and Krokes (both are Greek rock bands), Ophiochus (Instrumental Funk/Rock), and ScarletSnowPrelude (Post-rock/Ambient).


    Haji Mike is a dub poet based in Cyprus. Beginning his recording career in London in 1990, he was featured on Andy Kershaw and John Peel and appeared at Womad and Womex. In 1992-1993, his music took off in Cyprus and he repatriated back to the land of his birth. Simultaneous to an artistic career Haji Mike finished a Phd in Cultural Studies at Birmingham's CCCS which later led to teaching at Intercollege/The University of Nicosia and The University of Cyprus.

    Releasing 3 LPs and 5 12" singles since 1990, Haji Mike has worked with many people in many countries. In 2004 he formed Olive Tree Music in 2004 with Turkish Cypriot poet Zeki Ali. The pair teamed up with several local musicians and worked with US producer Stand Out Selector forming a group together called Poetz4Peace. Poetz played the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in USA and various events in Cyprus. Haji Mike also worked with Imiskoumbria, Izit, Simon Booth, Sugar and Harri Kakouli. Over the last 5 years he has focused more on online releases and podcasting working with people via,[3] such as Stand Out Selector - USA, Bandulu Dub - Portugal, Mutley - UK, Jah Billah - Croatia, Don V.Louie - UK, Sonic Crime - Cyprus & Greece and Stephanie - Cyprus. Recent collaborations include being included on the Standing Firm Compilation in the USA via Sick Donkey Productions, as well as the Sonic Crime's remix of 'Thalassa' by the songstress Lia Vissi. Always one to challenge conservatism in audiences, Haji Mike avoids pop formulas and the fakeness of a fickle music industry. In October 2008, he returned to live radio on Astra Radio [4] producing and presenting a weekly reggae show called OuterNational, broadcast each Monday night 9-11.

    Also, a duo named Intibah is experimenting with the psychedelic side of reggae by using unusual instruments such as theremins, dijiritu, birimau, Greek lyre, MCing and also the classic guitar, bass and percussion. The Intibah duo has released a single album by their own expenses distributing it for free.

    Hip hop

    The first attempt at rap music was by a group in Cyprus called Vaomeni Esso (Βαομένοι Έσσο - "Locked Indoors") formed in around 1993. They rapped mainly in Cypriot Greek and performed in public, but they never released recordings of their songs. Around the same time, Hadji Mike blended dance music with traditional Cypriot melodies. While most of Hadji's music is reggae, with some hip hop thrown in the mix, he became very popular as an MC and was the first person from Cyprus to release songs independently on his own label with success.

    One of the members of Locked Indoors, Yiannis Wu, released two solo albums as "Mastermind", "Τελευταίες Μέρες" ("last days") in 1997 and "Απαγορευμένες Γνώσεις" ("forbidden knowledge") in 1999. Both of them were released by All Records. He also released an independent LP, "Αόρατος Πόλεμος" ("invisible war") in 2004. Both Albums produced by the heavyweight Hip Hop Producer Cyprus has ever seen Xenios Zonias a.k.a.DJ X-Method [5]. On these albums, Wu raps in standard Greek not in the Cypriot dialect. "Invisible War" marked a big change in Wu's work content-wise with heavy apocalyptic messages about religion, the world and doomsday. By the beginning of the new millennium, many new DJs and producers appeared and tried to make hip hop well known in Cyprus. Among them were DJ Magos (HCH), DJ Fingaz, DJ Ponokefalos, DJ Net, DJ PhatCat and Daidalosone. The most well respected Cypriot hip hop producers are: Geo Beats (D.R.X), DJ X-Method (since 1989), Sniper (So Solid Crew), Magos (HCH), Ponokefalos, Ice (FTW), Mazout (IUT/AII), DJ IOA (POTS) and Daidalosone.

    HCH (Hardcore Heads) were a crew of breakers, writers and MCs consisting of (Zac, ON, Pico, Magos, Blackys, Xaros, Panikos). Some of the members formed a hip hop group, also called HCH, in 2001, and they released their first EP ("Totally DiY") in 2003. Prior to the release of the EP the crew made successful appearances in many clubs in Nicosia such as Club Treno instantly gaining 'street respect' due to the nature of their hardcore style similar to well known Greek Hiphop crews such as Terror-x-crew. The lyrics alternate between Standard Greek and the Cypriot dialect, and are critical of capitalism, the military and the music industry (hence their name HardCoreHeads). The MCs are Charos, ON, k Gamma, Pico, Zak and Magos. Magos is also the DJ/producer.
    I.U.T logo

    Among the oldest crews in Nicosia are I.U.T (Invisible Underground Threat nowadays known as AII), F.T.W (Fuck the World) and CyMafia who have existed since 2000. They have released many songs on the internet, also circulated hand-to-hand by underground tapes and CDs. All the three bands/crews together with Lyrical Eye performed live for their first time at "Exis Club in Larnaca" in 2001 which was the first well-organised live event that had occurred in Cyprus (by that time) by Cypriot MCs.

    Lyrical Eye (Stefan Eliades) is one of the few fully Cypriot MCs that actually raps fluently in the English language. The artist began performing live before the year 2000 with Big group at the time Universal Soldiers at venues such as Sabia and Spartacus club. The rapper has performed in over 50 different venues across Cyprus and has taken his live performances around Europe. He has performed live at the biggest hip hop festival in Europe called the HipHop Kemp during the summer of 2006 in the Czech Republic. Lyrical Eye has also managed to reach the finals in one of the biggest songwriting competitions worldwide [6]

    MB59 (Musdy and Bulmy) are two Turkish Cypriot youths who wrote the first song in the Turkish Cypriot dialect, Genclik Ateshi (Youth Fire) which was released by Olive Tree Music on 'The Cyprus Thing Vol 1' compilation. MB59, Sofoz, and Haji Mike also made the first song in Greek, Turkish and English, called 'WorldWIde Ting'. Sofoz Mc is a new breed of MC in Cyprus with heavy philosophies and at times a fast lyrical flow. From Larnaca, Sofoz has not released solo work but has been featured on numerous projects via Olive Tree Music, a non-profit music label formed by Haji Mike and Zeki Ali. He represented Cypriot hip hop in Europe and he had various collaborations with other European and not only rappers. His first album is expected this coming year (2007) and he is open for new collaborations and invitations for concerts.

    POTS (Part of the Soul), made up of Fuck-it (also known as Funkit) and Archangelos were an underground hip hop group that existed for a very short period of time and had released songs on the internet and organized in at least two occasions their own gigs. Funkit had also been known during the period of 2003 - 2004 for his freestyle abilities in the cypriot dialect in which he went against the best freestyle rappers of the time (rappers like Trik IUT/AII) and in some cases beating them and gaining respect due to the nature of his funny lyrics.

    MC X-Force is a young Turkish Cypriot MC who began more as a "junglist" and DnB MC. Featured alongside Sofoz, Funkit, Bulmy, St3phani3, maxiMOOM, Haji Mike and Zeki Ali on the SOS produced tune "Music Is Joy". X-Force has now turned more to hip hop beats.

    DNA (Δημιουργοί Νέας Αντίληψης - "creators of new perception") is a group that released a CD in 2006 through their own discography label AK SOUNDplan, although they have had songs on the internet for a few years. Two of the MCs of the group, Megahz and Decayer, are in charge of They have played live in many shows and also at Hip Hop Kemp (Czech Republic) in both 2005 and 2006 (together with Cypriot MC Lyrical Eye, who raps in English). It is the first Cypriot HipHop group that released their sihnotites (συχνότητες - "frequencies") record in vinyl.

    Sniper is the most successful artist in the hip hop genre to date started out at a very young age as a DJ in Ayia Napa. Sniper soon found himself in the chart topping So Solid Crew. As an MC and Producer Sniper has achieved more than most musicians from Cyprus over the last 20 years. Currently based Greece, running a studio and label with links to Jay-Z in the USA

    D.R.I.G is an upcoming crew that consists of local and foreign rappers and producers that have been formed in 2002 in a music hot spot Ayia Napa. They specialized in the hip hop genre and are currently recording an album of both English and Greek tracks.[citation needed] The album is called "Kali Fasi". The album provides a smash single "Oloi Pame" which is also recorded as a music video clip. Till now the crew's tracks can be heard on the 'Rise of Cyprus Hip Hop' mixtape, but this is temporary, soon their album is going to be in release all over Cyprus and Greece. The main members of the crew are Drew, R.A.C., Icy Ice, Geo Beats. Besides them, there are also ScaR, M.S.E., Jacek, 12inch, Dj MG and others. The D.R.I.G have worked and collaborated with a many hip hop artists like Tang-Ram, So Solid crew, Thitis, Zetel, Neutrino (So Solid Crew), Lyrical Eye, Wu, Mario Mental, Sniper, Des and others. D.R.I.G have been heard through radio stations and night clubs (Black and White, Ice Ku...) in Cyprus. They are now based in Greece and are collaborating with local artists, e.g.: Sniper. They are considered to form a movement including many different cultures and styles.

    Ponokefalos ("headache"), another member of Vaomeni Esso, took up the microphone again in 2002. He also produces beats, and DJs in Nicosia and Limassol. Recently he has released songs on the internet with Kinisiotherapeftis ("kinesiotherapist") in the Cypriot dialect. He also made a mix-CD as a DJ which was sold at events where he performed.

    Daidalosone (Derived from greek mythical inventor "Δαίδαλος") Founding member of one of the first Graffiti crews in cyprus called "SBR" under the name "javone". Daidalosone is an instrumental hiphop beatsmith, in 2008 Daidalosone released his first free album called OneManArmy Vol.1.

    Siopilos Afigitis (meaning Silent Narrator) recorded an E.P titled "To Treno" with three tracks ("To Treno", "Thripsala Zoi Mou" and "Paresthisi Skopias") all produced by X-Method and circularised by ALL RECORDS in 1997. He was also featured in one of John Wu's songs in 1999 and performed in numerous live gigs in Ayia Napa, Larnaca and Nicosia. Following 2000, Siopilos Afigitis dropped off the map for a few years returning in 2007. Since then he has amateurly recorded some new solo songs such as "I gefsi tou Hip Hop", "Anamniseis pou den Ezisa" and "Fantasma Oneiron". In October 2007, "Hiphopcrecy" was founded, an amateur hip hop band comprising of Siopilos Afigitis, OL' Skool & K. The songs produced by HipHopcrecy were mainly focused on social issues such as "Mihani tou Hronou" (released with a music video on youtube) "Dilimata" and also some uplifting and funky tunes such as "Kante to Rewind kai Dinamoste to". Since late 2007, HipHopcrecy has also produced some parodies in youtube, albeit not strictly hip hop in nature, but with great success with over 280.000 views in youtube. These include "Hadjithanasis (an eminem "Stan" parody), "Cyprus Suey" and "Last Christmas". In September 2009, "Siopilos Afigitis" also co-operated with "K" to produce the song "Kapnistos Solomos me Freska Saltsa Agrion Manitorion"), a cypriot dialected rap satire of modern cultural Cypriot society. This was Siopilos Afigiti's first attempt to rap in the Cypriot Dialect (above mentioned parodies excluded). The music video of the song is expected was released in youtube in September 2009 and made available for download from the website.

    Drum and bass

    The Cyprus musical scene of DnB is considered to have been founded in 2006, when Newformz (UK), Phat Finxxx (CY) and Manni Gee (AU), frustrated by the lack of variety on the island, joined together in order to provide locals with an alternative form of music previously unheard of in Cyprus. Several residencies in different bars have been held over the years rolling around the concept of electronic "dirty" funk. In 2008, Manni Gee placed third in the annual Guaba DJ competition. In 2009, Phat Finxxx was runner up in the island wide Energy FM summer DJ competition, followed by simultaneous events in early November in Pafos (Nexus @ Woodyz Music Bar) and Nicosia ( @ Ithaki) joining Phat Finxxx were Oria (UK) and PumpALotOfThis (UK)

    Progressive rock

    Progressive rock is one of the newest genres of rock music entering the Cyprus music scene. It is considered to have been founded in 2004 by Quadraphonic or in 2007 by the members of the Progressive metal/rock band Illusion's Edge.

    Quadraphonic (a.k.a. Q4) is a Progressive rock/metal band that is well known around the island. Formerly known as Volcano, Q4 was born in Cyprus in the summer of 2004 by ex- members of metal bands Zoner (ex-Regicide), Godblood, Fallen Angel and Horny Mary. With a wide variety of influences concentrated mainly on Progressive Rock, Funk, Oriental and Metal, this band has created an original type of music free from labels that describe contemporary music today. With two demo-releases under their name and one promo-CD, Quadraphonic continue to play various gigs all over Cyprus. They are currently working on a full length album that is due to be released in the beginning of 2009.

    Illusion's Edge are performing in Cyprus in selected and mostly self organized festivals.

    Electronic and World music

    In 2008 the electronic and world music group Mikros Kosmos ("small world") arrived in Cyprus and recorded their first album in Nicosia. The album is released in the United States by Sort Of Records and combines "meditative Middle-Eastern melodies, earthy Mediterranean folk dances, Brazilian jazz harmonies, Andean rhythms, gently manipulated ambient recordings".[7] The duo is composed of Yianna Georgiadou (voice) and Seth Mehl (piano, erhu, percussion, programming). Their first performances presented live remixes for laptop and voice of classic Greek rebetika, with performances at New York City's Golden Festival, Pittsburgh's Woodlab gallery series, and elsewhere in the United States. Mikros Kosmos's full-length original album moves away from the classic rebetika with an affection for minimal arrangements and a lyrical abstraction which is uncommon in the history of Greek music.

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