Sing in Me Muse

Sing In Me, Muse, and Through Me Tell the Story:
Greek Culture Performed

by Maria Hnaraki

Available NOW at
Published by Zorba Press
Paperback, 7″ x 10″, 308 pages
Nonfiction, Published October 2013
Price: $ 20
ISBN: 9780927379168

Sing In Me, Muse, and Through Me Tell the Story: Greek Culture Performed is a collection of ethnographic essays that meditate on Greece through the looking glass method. The book investigates how ancient mythologies shape modern identities at the crossroads of East and West while it also provides an ample description, both broad and deep, of various aspects and incarnations of Greek folklore performance, such as song, literature, music and dance.

In an era of globalization, Greeks insist upon going local by proudly celebrating their multifaceted past as they carry it into a turbulent present. From the time of Homer to contemporary forms of resistance, the poetics of Greekness provide an excellent ground for investigating the ecology of expressive behaviors that may inhabit any mountain or plain. When Greeks, for instance, sing the olive tree and speak without words through music and dance, performance becomes a means of dialogue and communication that raises ecological awareness of one’s place by also creating a strong sense of belonging.

Back cover of book by Maria Hnaraki

In a part of the world where life revolves around the centripetal idea of freedom in opposition to any form of tyranny, a community is willing to be sacrificed for a slice of bread. As the Greek future is predicated upon a stubbornly unfinished past, ultimately, one is at the same time exalted and despondent, grounded and soaring, rationale and passionate — elements in counterbalance that define the very essence of being Greek.

All in all, being Greek in the 21st century offers fertile territory for re-discovering the fundamental nature of life by actually experiencing Greece’s truly rich, “baked” realities that have been so much stigmatized as being in “crisis.” By building bridges and understanding the wealth and uniqueness of Greek culture, the clues to our own identities may unfold, albeit via labyrinthian pathways, capable of leading us to a catharsis, by realizing that, after all, nothing in our cosmos is … Greek.

Praise For The Book
I created my company, Ecos, out of love of our planet. This is exactly the driving force behind Maria’s book: pure love of her homeland, but, in extension, a sustainable world as well. I deeply share her ecological ethics and environmental sensitivity as well as her pathos for our island which can more than now function as a “back to our roots” compass to everyone’s life. For readers who wish to think… green, “live your life to the fullest as a genuine Greek” should the motto be!
—Dr. Van Vlahakis, Founder/CEO of Earth Friendly Products

Modern Greek art music is certainly not well known outside of Greece, except perhaps for “Zorba’s dance” in the Cacoyannis movie. Nor is Modern Greek literature very well known outside, except for Cavafy and Kazantzakis. What Maria Hnaraki’s book shows is how very many combinations exist at least inside Greece—that is, how many instances of Greek literature have been set to music by Greek composers. For all of these, her pioneering study gives full analyses of both music and text.
—Dr. Peter Bien, Professor Emeritus and Kazantzakis Scholar, Dartmouth College

Maria Hnaraki, a specialist in Greek folklore studies and ethnomusicology, has given us a highly readable book, chockfull of historical detail and folkloric color, musical temperament, and dance rhythms. This is a rich guide that will attract a broad readership and entice it with its cultural vivacity, its pearls of historical and folk wisdom, its engaging approach to food and local ecology. Seasoned with passion and yes, Cretan pride, the book offers a poikilia of chapters, beautiful illustrations, and a handy glossary and index, all in an affordable format.
—Dr. Gonda Van Steen, Cassas Professor in Greek Studies, University of Florida

Greece is politically in negative headlines, but this book by Maria Hnaraki proves: Hellas and its culture are eternal, inexhaustible and universally valid. She shows a way which can help us get out from the labyrinth of the present turmoil toward a value system which the world so urgently needs in order to master its crises: Without springs of Greek culture, we have no future.
—Arn Strohmeyer (German writer and Greece lover)

News About the Book and Author Maria Hnaraki
An Interview with Maria Hnaraki in the Greece in America Newsletter

Praise From Greece
From A Newspaper in Crete