Thursday, March 26, 2009

Papou Panos

I know I posted a rather frustrated entry yesterday.  Today I shall try to remedy this.

It's very rainy and English outside, so much so that the White House has turned grey!
However, tomorrow promises to be glorious and warm and sunny.

Now, on to the meat of this post.  It's kind of especially for Tea N Crumpets because she's Eastern Orthodox, and my Cypriot Papou (grandpa) was a Greek Orthodox priest for a while, so it is in my blood even though I was brought up Anglican.

Here is Panayiotis (or Panos for short).  Love the bow tie.  On the right, he looks very young (the other fellow is his cousin Nick). 

Panos was a little man, fiesty and affectionate - he stood only up to my father's shoulder, and my Dad is not much taller than me (I'm 5'3" / 63 cm).  He had olive skin and blue eyes.  I have just noticed, he looks like a dreamer.

I never met him, for he died of a heart attack following a house fire, the year before I was born.  I would have loved to hear his accent, and maybe hear him sing.  

He trained to be a priest in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus in the early 1900s, and his pure voice was famous in the area.  However, he did not stay.  As Cyprus was a British protectorate, he immigrated and found a new life in London running two restaurants.  He was a good cook at home and could whip up a feast from nothing, all the while singing his sacred music and chasing everyone out of the kitchen.

When I was a toddler, I scared my mother when I would sit under the dining table and sing my heart out, something sounding very much like Papou.

This video is from 2006, but I still talk like this - because Tea N Crumpets rightfully imagines me with an English accent.  (There is sometimes a slight mix of Texan in there though.)

Today I can still sing my heart out, in both Greek and English and a couple of other languages, but it took many many years for me to discover Greek Orthodox chants for myself.  I too have a pure voice, like a choirboy, with no vibrato - I know this from singing Handel's Messiah every year at home.  

Panos Kavarnos is Greece's current angelic voice.  If you can wear headphones while listening to this, or listen in HD, even better. It gives me goosebumps all over.  Surely this must be what heaven sounds like.  Or if not, I hope one day Kavarnos is appointed God's Choir Director!


Jo said...

Lovely post, Liv! So glad somebody is calling you all the time! :)

Will have to listen to the link at home. I love Gregorian chanting, though, so I'll likely enjoy this!

Funny thing: My Great grandfather was a Greco-Roman wrestler that moved from greece to Hawaii. Totally non-religious although his family was Greek Orthodox. He raised my grandmother and she raised my father in the Episcopal church!

Interesting, no?

nikkipolani said...

Ah, there you are! I don't know what I ever imagined what your voice might sound like. I'm sure I'd be surprised by all my bloggy friends' voices. Best wishes for your interview tomorrow. Even better that you're talking directly with the director.

Christopher said...

Oh my GOD you have the cutest voice ever!

Olivia said...

Jo - LOL I figured anyone who doesn't have good eyesight won't be able to read that line, which is me being cryptic!

I hope you enjoy the video.

Would you ever do a little family history blog? Greco-Roman sounds so ancient - you mean he was Greek and Italian? Nice mix!


Nikki - I posted this vid way back when I recorded it, and am beginning to think actually...that my voice is now a little richer than it was then. Perhaps it's time for a new clip!


Kissy - LOL! Thank you! :)

michelle G said...

oh lovely music.

Selba said...

Ah... finally, your voice!!! all this time, I was wondering your accent :D You really have a sweet voice...

I like the music... so sacred.

Olivia said...

Mich - I can't stop listening to it.


Selby - I guess you guys weren't reading in 2006?

Thank you :)

I'm glad you like the music.

Selba said...

Hmmm.. I think I started to read your blog in 2006. I remember it started with the flower tea post where MM introduced both of us :)

Christopher said...

Come by and say hello sometime...or are you drowning in flowers? (wink) xoxo

Glo said...

Wow ~ another interesting ancestor of yours ~ you have such a rich heritage. It was lovely to "hear" from you as well :) This is the big interview day, so thinking of you and looking forward to hearing how they were bowled over by your brilliance :)

AmitL said...

Hi,Olivia...the best part of this post was,naturally,'hearing'from you!!:)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I think I saw that video of you before, but I'd forgotten what you sound like! Thanks for the refresher!

I'd like to hear more of your Anglo-Texan...what would you call it...a cross between a burr and a drawl?

A brawl?
(Definitely not a "durr", Ralph!)

I know next to nothing about the Orthodox church. I appreciated that.
That was hypnotic!

steve on the slow train said...

I imagined your voice a little richer, but it's still lovely. Fascinating about your grandfather--too bad you couldn't have met him.

I read that during the debates over the new Book of Common Prayer, some wanted to remove the "filioque clause" from the Creed--that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as the Father. That's supposed to be the line that caused the Great Schism of 1054. But I don't think the Orthodox Churches would have re-established communion with us, as they couldn't accept women priests.

Miss Fluff said...

Such a great voice, and I love the accent! :)

Panos Kavarnos. A name, as strong and meticulously haunting as his voice. I'm definately going to try and iTunes him.

steve on the slow train said...

One more thing--Anglican chant is also beautiful. And, strangely enough, one of the most beautiful (and funny) Anglican chants was done by the Master Singers:

Olivia said...

Selby - I remember the flower tea, and MM saying you and I would get along because you blog about food!


Kissy - ok chico xoxo


Glo - I think it went well. I feel good about all my answers and the way I expressed myself, and I hope they liked that I described the tests as "fun". :-P


Amit - haha!


Minstrel - brawl? Durr? LOL!
I am glad you enjoyed the Orthodox liturgy.


Steve - I think my voice is a little richer now than it was 3 yrs ago. Time for a new video.

I'm not bothered about the filioque and think the BCP doesn't need changing yet either, but then I'm not all up on the politics of the Episcopal Church at the moment. However, if I were to think about it, I'd say the Holy Spirit came from the Father (logically, because the Son came from the Father also), which would make me Orthodox. Ha! Ah but then by extension if the Son is from the Father the Holy Spirit has some of the Son so could technically have come from him too. Eh, never mind. I'm in a theological knot now.


Miss Fluff - I love how you're stuck on the sound of his name. I do like the sound of Greek names when said out loud. It's kind of juicy. Kavarnos is a little hard to find and I believe he's mostly on Youtube.


Steve - seriously, the next time I watch the weather I will be giggling. But hopefully I won't go to church soon enough to remember this because I do not want to be giggling there too.

Olivia said...

steve - P.S. That weatherman at the beginning was Michael Fish, the one everyone loves to hate because he has never been forgiven for overlooking the big hurricane of 1987 that devastated much of the British Isles. He said, "Don't be silly, there's no hurricane." And the next morning we woke up and there had been one.

Tea N. Crumpet said...

You sound like I imagined!

My priest came from the Anglican church!

Selba said...

MM said that? really? But then during that time, my blog is more like a personal blog not food blog, I seldom blog about food...

Oh well... anyway, I'm glad to know you as a cyber friend and have been having great time in corresponding with you :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ahhh, you see, I was right to describe your blog as having all the good, food, history.

I've just finished reading your Indo. piece. Niiiice.

Your voice sounds the way I imagined!

Do you know, I can see your Papou in you, his eyes? I think you have your mother's smile too.

Crossing fingers and toes about yesterday's interview........

Olivia said...

Tea - that's awesome! On both points! :) What caused his conversion?


Selby - maybe there was a little bit of food? :)

But yes, I have enjoyed corresponding with you also, especially when you start your day and it's past my bedtime!


GG - you know, I'd never looked before myself, but there may be some shape of the face there also.

I am surprised you remember what my mother looks like. I think I have not so much her physical look as some essence of her in my attitude.

Can't remember if I mentioned it above, but the interview went well. I may mention it briefly in my next post. We (you know who) and I are going to the botanic gardens today, as it's raining.

Palm Springs Savant said...

You are indeed a fascinating individual person Olivia, very multi fasceted!

Olivia said...

Rick - thank you - very kind words indeed :)

Olivia said...

Woah, when was the last time I had more than 20 comments??

The Moody Minstrel said...

If you post it, they will come. ;-)

beginninghere said...

Liv, it is always fun to learn more about you and now to hear your lovely voice. It will be great to hear it in person at some point :) Also, I am happy to hear about your new friend. Those tulips are beautiful and so sweet of him to think of it. Have you any impressions of how Friday went? Sending you hugs.

Nabeel said...

Lovely picture of your grandpa .. people in that era, I dunno dignity reflects from their faces, dignity and pride in a sense.

Anyway loved your video post .. and you sound adorable. Kinda inspires me to do a video post .. but nahh, I just don't have anything interesting to talk about.