"Tsi neraidenias" - Thirty-three folk tales from the Cyclades

Modern fairy tales, written by famous authors, have little to do with fairy tales that come from oral tradition and folk tradition.

Aikaterini Giannaka's book "Tsi neraidenias", which was released a few days ago, takes us to another climate and another culture, gathering in its pages 33 folk tales from the Cyclades.

Critical helpers here are the former Deputy Minister of Education and MP of the Cyclades Nikos Levogiannis, who donated his unpublished collection of old folk tales, and the artist Elena Tonikidis, who is an art therapist, president of the Scientific Society of Art and Psychology Of Social Health of the University of the Aegean.

Each tale is prefaced by two fictional characters, Grandma Lala and her granddaughter Neraidenia, who highlight the importance of local and folk wisdom , as depicted in Cycladic narratives, along with the whole line of themes and motifs.

The light of the Aegean and the sea of Homer are combined with the intensely colorful compositions of Tonikidis, to highlight all the richness of Cycladic fairy tales.

Far from the didactic tone and paranoid style of today's fairy tales, the anonymous creators of the Cyclades will include in their narratives the most opposite elements: fantasy and reality, the primordial and the everyday, nature and manual labor, the possible and the improbable.

Πρωταγωνιστές, μοχθηροί δράκοι και ερωτευμένες βασιλοπούλες, μαγεμένα παλικάρια και πολεμόχαροι βασιλιάδες, αγαθά εξωτικά και πονηρά ζώα, θάλασσες που θέλουν να καταπιούν τους γενναίους και γέροι που φέρνουν μαζί τους τη μορφή του Χριστού, άγριες πεθερές και καλοσυνάτες μανάδες, καθώς και αθώα παιδιά ή βιοπαλαιστές παντός είδους. Το Κακό παραμονεύει παντού και κάποτε θριαμβεύει γιατί η παράδοση το ξέρει απ’ έξω και ανακατωτά και δεν θέλει να κρύψει το παραμικρό.

More often, however, the Good prevails. The listeners of the fairy tales, who were not only children, wanted to feel both the terror of danger and the feeling of liberation from its intrigues.

Aik. Giannaka explains how she prepared and made her book

" Syros, where I live and work for 22 years, and consequently the Cyclades, is a place I loved very much from the first moment I was here. Along with their unique natural environment, the Cyclades have a culture like a fairy tale, which captures the mind and soul. My great love for folk tales starts from my childhood, as my grandmother Katerini taught me, a special feature. Later, as a student at the Hellenic Open University, I studied popular culture and many of my works had topics related to the folk tales of the Cyclades. Somehow I started to deal with them while in the framework of my study I discovered old rare editions and collections such as that of Crispis (1874) and other anecdotes, such as that of Levogiannis, which have not lost their timelessness and highlight the values ​​of life. Along with the collection of fairy tales, I began to record my thoughts and impressions, as emerged from their study until these notes led to the album "Tsi neraidenias", a version with 33 beautiful fairy tales, created with 33 wonderful visual works my friend Elena Tonikidis ".

What exactly do we see in the book?

" This is not a simple recording, a collection, it is my different reading-presentation of adventures and narratives that refer to bygone eras, often mythical, fantastic, but at the same time both today and tomorrow. Also, I did not seek to approach them folklore, nor linguistically, because such elements exist inherent in fairy tales, but as a reader I became part of the action, one of their heroes, or all the heroes together, like our grandmother, who as the only narrator plays all the roles.

This album, in combination with the works of art and the dialogues of the Cycladic Lala (grandmother) with her Fairy (granddaughter), aims at a different reading of fairy tales, a reading that will push us to dig deep into the our soul and find our other self. Respecting the old island idiom, I limited myself to only small linguistic interventions, so that it can be understood without difficulty, but also without altering its structure, its wonderful narrative flow and its sound colors ".

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