Panos Panopoulos, professor of anthropology at the University of the Aegean specializing in music and dance, has apparently made many trips to the Greek Island of Naxos over the years, to study sound and listening in the creation of social identity. This has resulted in a slew of academic papers, including one particularly enlightening and entertaining about the belling of livestock.
In the process, he cultivated particularly abiding friendships with the people of Philoti in the highlands. Together with colleague Yorgos Samantas, he returned once more to the island where Zeus played as a child, to capture a full panorama of the sound of life in this village of some fifteen hundred souls. And under a constant chorus of cicada buzz under the August sun, the two have captured “the celebratory ambience of summer extroversion,” as Panopoulos prettily puts it. The fifteen moments in time swing between beast and man: the clanging and bleating of the domesticated animals, a donkey chowing down on pears, the tuning of a violin, the braying loudspeaker before a meeting of the village association – what Samantas calls the “paradoxical conversations and resonances” between nature and culture.
In a time of enervating lockdown, the perfect vehicle for armchair travel to what is for the majority of us an exotic locale. A small set of photographs nicely enhances this aural travelogue.