Making Music

Amos Lassen

Grammy Award-winning producer and musicologist Chris King is legendary. He is the most obsessive collector of old 78 records living today and knows how,  using modern technology, to unlock their secrets and remaster them for a 21st century audience. For many years, King has lived in a world of nostalgia, listening to music from a distant past. But when in Istanbul in 2009, he picked up a few old LPs and heard music unlike anything he had ever heard before.  He describes it as a “dissonant instrumental played with an uncontrolled abandon” and he learned that it hailed from Epirus, a remote region straddling northwestern Greece and southern Albania. This discovery of  raw folk music, he believes, connects us with our most ancient ancestors that would transform his life. 

Paul Duane’s “While You Live, Shine” takes us on a voyage of deep discovery into the oldest music in the Western world. The title of the film comes from the Song of Seikilos, the world’s oldest recorded piece of music. 

The transcendental tune is carved into a stone pillar discovered in Turkey and remains alive in Epirus, where Greeks come every summer to play, dance and sing. Chris King traveled there to immerse himself in its ancient culture, attending festivals and dances and speaking with musicians and shepherds.  Gradually, he uncovered the roots of this unique musical tradition, and answered the question: why do we make music?

The documentary is an introduction to some of the most hypnotic and beautiful music you’ve never heard, an immersive trip into an isolated and half-forgotten land, and a portrait of a man who has found his spiritual home on the other side of the world.  The story of Chris King and his research over folk Greek music of Epirus has at a universal meaning and importance that comes from treating music as a heritage element. The music reflects the past and maintaining all the aspects of it, is a duty and responsibility. BY doing so, we can preserve our ethnic identity and aspire people who can scratch through the true listening the surface of a whole culture.

Leave a Reply