When dancing spills onto streets
One of the joys of my life is that we often return to the same islands, enjoying their villages and towns, and dining at our favourite restaurants. The feeling of returning home never gets old and our friendships with locals continues to grow.
The town of Sami on Kefalonia is not at the top of the list of towns one would see, but we have had many wonderful evenings there. I still remember our first visit to a very fabulous restaurant, where we sat happily listening to two Greek musicians, one playing the traditional bouzouki and the other singing, weaving their story in song. Hypnotic tunes quickly drew everyone to the dance floor.
At the end of the evening, when talking to our host and sipping on cold water, he told us that he had paid for the musicians every Saturday evening for the entire season but this had been the best night. He thanked our group for coming as previously, no one had ever danced!
On our next visit when we arrived at the taverna, our patron had a surprise for us. Not only had he booked the same musicians but he had asked a friend to lead us in the traditional dances. She was a traditional dance teacher and it was clear that she loved her job. A beautiful woman who shared her passion for her dance culture to the rally guests. The night was so fantastic, the dancing spilled onto the streets and felt like we were in a movie. What a golden memory!
These events cannot be scripted, they happen spontaneously and almost by osmosis. The traditional songs are sung by all. We have sat in music venues all around Greece, marvelling at the number of people, young and not so young, who know the words to every song played. Singing as a group around the table invites the sense of comradery and the passion it generates is contagious, it doesn’t even matter if one doesn’t speak the same language.
The special moments that connect me with this part of the world have little to do with the actual place itself. It is more the events and the people within that make traveling to the Ionian islands much like I’ve just returned home.