Greece has a long tradition of music, going back to ancient years. Several gods and goddesses were connected with music and dance and the very word music comes from the Nine Muses of ancient Greece. They were the course of inspiration for all artists and even today many artists speak of their Muse. We also have many musical terms from the Greek language: harmony, melody, tune, choir, orchestra, chromatic, scene, lyre, hymn, psalm, rhythm. A common question young Greeks ask one another is "Do you listen to Greek or foreign music?". They separate the two, and even though you can like both, it is more often one or the other. During its long journey through the ages the Greek music adapted elements from the Romans, the Byzantium and later from the Renaissance. In the 19th century the Greek musing is moving forward with composers like Nikolaos Mantzaros (the composer of the Greek National Anthem) and Spyridon Samaras the composer of the Olympic anthem, both of those composers where from the Ionian islands. The Ionian islands beeing closer to Italy had affections from the Italian serenades those serenades later became the so called "Kantades" of Athens of the beginning of the 20th century.
During the early 50s the Greek music, or certainly what you could hear in the mass media of radio and films, was the Laika (music based on the bouzouki) with sounds that the Greeks from Asia Minor brought with them back in the 1920s. The Greek soft music (elafra mousiki) with flavours of western European sounds, the most representative of which came from the songs of Manos Hadjidakis and Mimis Plessas that was sung by famous performers like Nana Moushouri, Tzeni Vanou, Giannis Vogiatzis and others, was also very popular. Also, during this time, the music of famous duos and trios like the Katsamba Brothers and Trio Athena became fashionable. Their particular sound was an imitation of Spanish and Mexican music which they transformed into Greek. , As well as this, there was the other kind of music, the Demotica or Greek folk music which unfortunately negative memories for many older Greeks as Demotica was promoted as Greek nationalist music during the seven years under the dictatorship. Hopefully, as the years have gone by, these bad connotations are beginning to fade.
From the 1970s and 1980s onwards, the Greek music became more and more distant from the original sounds of the 1950s and 60s. This decade saw the introduction of new sounds, digital recordings with sound effects and the absolute domination of the synthesiser keyboard pushing away the original folk instruments of 25 years before.
However, traditional Greek flok music continures to thrive as it is such a vibrant enjoyable sound, Greeks continue to listen to it.
Italian folk music has a deep and complex history. National unification came quite late to the Italian peninsula, so its many hundreds of separate cultures remained un-homogenized until quite recently compared to many other European countries. Moreover, Italian folk music reflects Italy's geographic position at the south of Europe and in the center of the Mediterranean Sea: Arabic, African, Celtic, Persian, Roma, and Slavic influences are readily apparent in the musical styles of the Italian regions. Italy's rough geography and the historic dominance of small city states has allowed quite diverse musical styles to coexist in close proximity.
Southern Italy's music traditions are alive and well, and their distictive sounds can still be heared in places like Sicily.
Sicily is home to a great variety of Religious music, including a cappella devotional songs. from Montedoro and many brass bands like Banda Ionica, who play songs from a diverse repertoire. Harvest songs and work songs are also indigenous to the agricultural island, known as "Italy's granary". In the rural agricultural communities that define the the regions of Southern Italy, work was the rule and free times the exception. Under the scorching sun, from dawn till dusk, the people would work the land. In those times, usually of solitude, they would sing to entertain themselves. During those songs, they would touch upon all the great issues, making a mental recapitulation of the day or their lives. Sicily's historical connections lie not just with mainland Italy, but also the ancient Greeks. The result has been a diverse and unique fusion of musical elements on the island.
Mothers were often forced to carry their children in the field with them or keep them peaceful while they were busy with housekeeping. Lullabies, therefore, were a staple of their daily cycle and they would be also a way to take pride in the little ones or wish for their future: a good marriage, an easy life.