A highly decorated cultural non-profit with an impressive and successful presence in America since 1977
PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE www.cyprecoofamerica.com
CYPRECO OF AMERICA, INC., (Cypriot Emigrants Cultural Organization) of America, Inc., founded by Elena Maroulleti in 1977 as Greek Folk Dancing Group "The Vraka", Inc., and renamed CYPRECO in 1979, is the only purely Cultural Greek Cypriot organization in America. It is a Queens-based non-profit and tax-exempt under 501 ( c) 3 organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich heritage, history, folklore and culture of Cyprus and Greece. Through the production and presentation of ongoing worthy and successful cultural and folk arts programs each year, folk dance and music shows and through its active participation in numerous cultural events throughout the City and State of New York, CYPRECO reaches wide audiences and spreads the folklore of Cyprus and Greece. All of its productions are offered bilingual.
CYPRECO of America, Inc., a member of the Cyprus Federation of America since 1976, is a recognized and highly decorated representative cultural organization of Cyprus in the United States of America. In 1993, CYPRECO teamed up with the non-profit cultural organization AKTINA Productions, Inc., the sponsoring organization of the Greek American bilingual radio AKTINA FM broadcasting live on New York's public station WNYE 91.5FM-HD1 and on line. Since then, CYPRECO participates in the co-production of worthy cultural and folk arts programs, including radio productions that celebrate, promote and preserve the rich heritage and culture of Cyprus and Greece. Such radio productions include the successful series CYPRUS HORIZONS airing on AKTINA FM every Sunday at 2:30pm Eastern Standard Time. For more information about CYPRECO of America, Inc., please send us an e-mail email@example.com.
The Year 2009 marked CYPRECO's 30th anniversary and on this occasion the organization has presented a series of very unique and successful cultural programs, concerts and other productions with the highlight being the sold-out concert CYPRUS-AEGEAN-SMYRNA - A Tribute To The Rembetika (Greek blues) given with outstanding success on March 6, 2009 at the Queens Theatre In The Park.
On November 6, 2009 CYPRECO concluded its 2009 festivities on the occasion of its 30-year anniversary with yet another memorable concert which revived the music and songs of Greece's legendary songwriter/singer Vasilis Tsitsanis with Greek American popular singer Vicky Palma and her orchestra. Please read more about the success of this concert below.
The important cultural contributions of CYPRECO continue steadfast and every year the organization reaches thousands of people in the tri-state area of New York comprised by Greek Cypriot and Greek Americans of all generations and ages, including an impressive number of non-Greeks from different ethnic backgrounds who are educated about the different aspects of the Greek and Cypriot cultural heritage, folklore, music, customs and traditions. CYPRECO's ongoing live productions, as well as its radio programs about Cyprus and Greece continue to receive wide recognition from the public it services, as well as from New York City and State elected officials who honor it with Proclamations and Citations that further acknowledge the valuable impact its cultural performances and cultural radio programs have on society.
To receive advance notices about CYPRECO's upcoming live events and other activities, please sign up to the organization's mailing and e-mail lists by sending an e-mail with your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about CYPRECO's most recent successful productions below and for further details about all of its past activities, please visit the organization's website at www.cyprecoofamerica.com.
SOME OF CYPRECO's 2012-2011 SUCCESSFUL CULTURAL PRODUCTIONS
CONCERT TRIBUTE TO MANOLIS HIOTIS
WITH FANTASIA MUSIC A GREAT SUCCESS
The program revived some of the most popular and loved songs of Manolis Hiotis and engaged everyone in attendance from beginning to end. More importantly, the concert gave the opportunity to all in attendance to set aside for a while the hardship they felt following the devastating landfall of hurricane Sandy that struck New York just two weeks ago prior to the performance. People were enthusiastically singing and clapping along throughout the performance, while many were so much into the show that they could no longer stay in their seats and got up and started dancing to the great zeimbekika and tsiftetelia of Hiotis.
This overwhelming response of the crowd who frequently gave standing ovations during the performance was truly rewarding to the organizers but more importantly to the exceptionally talented musicians of FANTASIA Music. The two bouzouki players, Mike Stoupakis and Kostas Psarros who also played the baglama (a smaller version of the bouzouki) were captivating and incredibly synchronized producing exceptional sounds. Equally captivating were Dimitris Lambrianos on the keyboards, George Maniatis on the drums and the singers Sophia Tzini and Christos Zavolas whose unique voices revived so beautifully the songs of Manolis Hiotis. Psarros who also has a very distinct voice also sang a few great rembetika by Hiotis.
People sang and danced along to great and everlasting hits such as “Perasmenes mou Agapes” (Former Loves), “Iliovasilemata” (Sunsets), “Thessaloniki Mou” (My Salonica), “Afou to Thes” (Since you want), “Svise Tin Floga” (Turn off the flame), “Esi Ise Etia” (You are the cause).
The concert was scheduled to run for two hours, but because of the exceptional warmth and enthusiasm of the crowd, the musicians continued to play for another 45 minutes something that further verified the strong bond they had achieved with the audience. The artists further treated the crowd by expanding the program to include music and songs by other great Greek composers and by even taking requests so that people can dance.
After the concert everyone took the time to shake hands with the organizers and the musicians and to congratulate them for an “outstanding and memorable performance” that truly lifted their spirits.
Referring to the success of the Manolis Hiotis musical tribute, Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO and Concert Executive Producer, after acknowledging the difficulties many people faced getting to the concert, especially with the gas shortage, she expressed her most sincere thanks and gratitude to all in attendance who, as she stressed, "despite all odds they made the effort to attend". “Seeing all these happy faces this evening, makes us feel exceptionally honored and at the same time very humble for being able to lift up their spirits and help them set aside and forget, at least for a couple of hours, the burden they felt following the hurricane and have some real fun!"
In her welcoming remarks earlier in the evening Ms. Maroulleti, after thanking everyone for "making this incredible effort to attend”, acknowledged that many people who were expected to attend unfortunately were “less fortunate than all of us” and were forced to cancel because some were severely impacted by the hurricane and others could not get gas to drive to the venue. Referring to the devastating effects of hurricane Sandy, Ms. Maroulleti also conveyed her personal as well as CYPRECO’s deepest sympathy to all of those families who lost loved ones, including to those who lost their homes and livelihoods because of this killer storm. “During this very difficult time when everyone is trying to recover, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been severely impacted by the devastating effects of hurricane Sandy” she further stressed.
Ms. Maroulleti also referred to the legacy of Manolis Hiotis who was being honored stressing that he will be remembered “for revolutionizing the bouzouki, both as a musical instrument and how it should be perceived by future generations. She further explained that, the original bouzouki had 3 strings; however Hiotis invented the 4-string bouzouki which increased greatly the range of music that can be played on this instrument as well as its sound. Adhering to the rembetika music tradition but at the same time including in his own compositions musical intervals and beats which were reminiscent to the American jazzy ballroom sounds of the 1920’s he truly enhanced the rembetika to a higher standard level. Thanks to his unique compositions and to the remarkable tone, style and sounds he produced as a composer and as bouzouki soloist of the 4-string bouzouki, Hiotis was is credited for being able to break society barriers and bring the bouzouki as well as the rembetika and laika songs into the big ballrooms and nightclubs of the upper class and even accepted by great philharmonic orchestras who often accompanied him. During his impressive career which unfortunately was cut short by his death at the age of 50, Hiotis had written over 1,500 and almost all of them became instant hits. His speed on the bouzouki was incredible and it is unmatched to this day. His contributions to Greek music are immense and he is considered by music experts as being “a school of his own”. The life and work of Manolis Hiotis can be summed up with just these few words Ms. Maroulleti stressed: He was a true artist and a true laborer of art and it is no coincidence that his songs continue to be as popular and intriguing to this day! A more extensive biography of Hiotis was included in the printed program that was distributed to all for free during the evening of the performance.
A special greeting message from the Consul General of Cyprus to New York, Ms. Koula Sofianou who was unable to attend was also read. In her message Ms. Sofianou conveyed her best wishes on the occasion of the Manolis Hiotis concert and furthermore congratulated the founders and all members of CYPRECO for "enriching the cultural life of the diaspora" and for successfully producing over the years programs that "promote and create awareness of Greek related issues from different fields and maintain the customs and traditions of both Greece and Cyprus".
Several representatives from local Greek and Cypriot American federations and organizations were among the dignitaries who also honored the concert with their presence including the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Mr. Elias Tsekerides with his wife Mrs. Eleftheria Tsekerides and Board members from the Pancyprian Association of America.
The concert which was given to benefit the non-profit and commercial-free radio AKTINA FM broadcasting on New York’s public Station WNYE 91.5FM, was made possible in part by Arch Capital Services, Inc., the Cyprus Federation of America and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, all of whom were publicly acknowledged by the President of Cypreco in her opening remarks and also in the printed program which also included other biographical and background information about the concert and the activities of CYPRECO.
CYPRECO REVIVED THE FOLK STORIES & POEMS OF CYPRUS
AS COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY THE LATE LUCY MAROULLETI
AKTINA TV SPECIAL REPORT
On Friday, February 17th CYPRECO of America, Inc., launched its 2012 cultural activities with the successful presentation of the program, “The Folk Stories and Folk Poems of Cyprus” as Compiled and Published by the Late Lucy Maroulleti, author, poet, translator, storyteller.
In a big turnout at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, New York, members and leaders of the Cypriot and Greek American community, members from the general audience, Greek, Cypriot and American officials and other dignitaries attended the event which also coincided with the late Lucy Maroulleti’s birthday.
The multi-talented Lucy Maroulleti distinguished herself within the Greek and Cypriot American community and abroad for her important contributions to the promotion of the culture, folklore and literary arts of Cyprus and Greece in America throughher work with CYPRECO of America of which she was a co-founder, as well as through her poetry, novels, plays, her acting, her storytelling and through her award winning literary translations from Greek (Modern and ancient) into English and from English into Greek. Some of Lucy’s activities were further highlighted in a mini-documentary.
The program featured Cypriot folk stories and folk poems from Lucy’s books, “Once Upon a Time, Folk Stories My Grandmother Told Me” and “Cypriot Folk Poems, 900-1900AD” which Lucy collected over the years and translated herself from Cypriot dialect into English. They were presented in Cypriot dialect by Polys Kyriacou, a poet and lyricist and in English by Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO and Executive Producer of the event.
Referring to the folk stories and folk poems in these two featured books, Elena Maroulleti stressed that, “they are considered exceptional and important because Lucy was the first to ever translate them from Cypriot dialect into English while most of them do not exist in any other publication. In her English translation, Lucy adhered strictly to the original text without any adaptations or improvements. Both books comprise today an invaluable point of reference for anyone who wants to know about the folk stories and poems of rural Cyprus”.
The presentation included the folk stories, “The Sleeping Princess”, “The Ghoul” and “The Snake and the Merchant”. Referring to them Elena Maroulleti stressed that, “these are stories which survived orally through a span of one thousand or more years and which have travelled through the mouths of mostly illiterate and older people in rural Cyprus. However apart from the entertaining part they each convey very strong messages about mankind and the challenges we face and how we should always chose good vs evil, kindness vs greed, love vs hate among other”. As far as the folk poems, the program included the legendary poem of Arodafnousa, found only in Cyprus and the poem, “Chrystalou and Charon”. As in the folk stories, these poems also survived orally over the centuries by word of mouth and they too convey special messages about life and mankind in general.
After the folk arts presentation followed greeting messages from the newly appointed Consul General of Greece to New York Georgios Eliopoulos, the Consul General of Cyprus to New York Koula Sofianou, Assembly Member from Astoria Aravella Simotas, the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies Elias Tsekerides and the Vice President of the Cyprus Federation Chris Nikolaou.
All speakers praised CYPRECO for its ongoing dedication in bringing to the community unique programs which celebrate the rich history, culture and folklore of Cyprus. They also spoke with outmost admiration about the many contributions of the late Lucy Maroulleti which as they noted are true examples of the great love and dedication she had for Cyprus.
The program concluded with a musical performance with selected songs by great Greek composers presented in a very passionate and unique interpretation by Greek American singer Fay accompanied on the keyboards by the well-known musician and composer Glafkos Kontemeniotis.
The multi-talented and multi-awarded Lucy Maroulleti was born in Egypt by Cypriot parents and moved to Cyprus in the early 1940’s during the Second World War and she lived there until the Turkish invasion of 1974 which forced her to leave her ancestral lands in the north and become a refugee along with some other 200,000 Greek Cypriots. She moved with her family in London for a year and in 1975 she immigrated to America and settled in Astoria, New York where she lived until her death in 2005. Lucy held a Certificate of “Proficiency in Greek and in English” from the Cambridge University in London, England and she has translated many famous Greek contemporary poets, as well as ancient playwrights while her work has been published in several newspapers and magazines here in the U.S., in Cyprus and in England. Lucy Maroulleti passed away on October 11, 2005 and she will be sorely missed by many. Always with a burning curiosity of life itself and the desire to share her unique and insightful visions with all those around her, Lucy opened her heart and focused her thoughts and spirit on the profound. As with many before her throughout the centuries, Lucy Maroulleti endured severe hardships in life but never once did she cease to smile upon and recite upon the beauty and profundity of life. Lucy left this world with a warm and knowing smile on her face.
CYPRECO’s new folk arts program which was offered with free admission as a public service to the community, was under the auspices of the Cyprus Federation of America and it was made possible in part through the generous support of Arch Capital Services, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cyprus Federation of America and Astoria Federal Savings Bank, Ditmars Branch in Astoria, NY.
Photos above by: ETA Press
CYPRECO PAID TRIBUTE TO THE GREEK LEGENDARY COMPOSERS/SONGWRITERS
APOSTOLOS KALDARAS AND STAVROS KOUYIOUMTZIS IN A SOLD CONCERT IN ASTORIA, NY
On November 4, 2011, CYPRECO presented yet another sold-out concert at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, NY., dedicated to Apostolos Kaldaras and Stavros Kouyioumtzis. Lovers of Greek music practically packed the venue and enjoyed this musical tribute to these two legendary composers/songwriters of Greece presented by the talented musicians Christos Papadopoulos, Leda Maniatakou, Megan Gould, Mathias Kunzli and Spiros Exaras.
Several dignitaries and officials were also in attendance including the Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sofianou, the Consul of Greece Evangelos Kyriakopoulos, the President of the Cyprus Federation Peter Papanicolaou with by his wife Nasia, the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies Elias Tsekerides and other distinguished representatives from Greek and Greek Cypriot American community organizations.
In welcoming the audience the President of CYPRECO and Executive Producer of the concert, Elena Maroulleti, thanked everyone for their overwhelming response to CYPRECO’s invitation to attend this new concert production and stressed that, "it is part of the organization’s ongoing mission of bringing to the Queens community worthy and unique programs which revive and preserve the rich musical inheritance of Greece". Ms. Maroulleti also acknowledged that the audience was comprised exclusively by CYPRECO, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV fans and supporters to all of whom she also expressed her most sincere thanks and appreciation for their many years of devotion and ongoing support.
The two hour program revived in the first part the songs of Stavros Kouyioumtzis and in the second part the songs of Apostolos Kaldaras. People were engaged from beginning to end singing and clapping along to such great classics “Poune Ta Chronia” (Where are the Years), “Min Mou Thimonis Matia Mou” (Don’t be angry with me), “Natane to 21” (I wish it was 1821) by Kouyioumtzis, “Nychtose Choris Feggari” (Moonless Night), “Sy Mou Charakses Poria” (You paved the way), “Fantasy”, “Dio Pallikaria Apo To Aivali” (Two lads from Aivali) by Kaldaras, among many other renowned and loved songs by the two featured composers/songwriters.
The musicians were exceptional in their interpretation of the songs and they were rewarded throughout the performance with non-stop enthusiastic applause. There were two encores after the show which further verified how much everyone truly appreciated and enjoyed the concert. "The tremendous response of CYPRECO’s and AKTINA’s fans and supporters to every new program that they bring to the community is the highest reward for us that gives us the strength to continue our cultural mission", Ms. Maroulleti declared after the performance further noting that, "CYPRECO and AKTINA also feel exceptionally happy and honored for being able during each new production to attract many young people from the new generations of Greek and Greek Cypriot Americans, as well as many non-Greeks. It is also a very beautiful and a rewarding feeling when so many people from so many different ethnic backgrounds attend to enjoy and further discover the Hellenic culture, heritage and musical inheritance".
The concert which was also given to benefit public service radio AKTINA FM, co-sponsored by CYPRECO on WNYE 91.5FM, concluded with AKTINA's Mega Raffle drawing featuring over 40 great prizes donated by leading Greek and Cypriot American companies and businesses in the tri-state area of New York. It was made possible in part through the generous support of Arch Capital Services, Inc., the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Astoria Federal Savings Bank, Ditmars Branch. CYPRECO's support volunteer staff was comprised by Elena Maroulleti, Concert Executive Producer, Tom Stouras, Sr. TV Director, Caroline Ioannou, Sr. Production Assistant, Anna Pappas, Production Assistant, Thanasis Tzouvelis, Lights and Fotis Papagermanos, Photographer. Media Sponsors: AKTINA FM, AKTINA TV and Antenna Satellite.
As it was announced in the printed program and during the performance, CYPRECOs’ next cultural production entitled, “The Folk Stories and Poems of Cyprus” as compiled and published by the late Lucy Maroulleti will be given on February 17, 2012. The event will take place at the Stathakion in Astoria and will be given with free admission as a public service to the community. The event coincides with the late Lucy Maroulleti’s 7th year anniversary since her passing and CYPRECO will pay a very special tribute to her important contributions to the folklore of Cyprus. This bilingual stage presentation will revive some of the most representative Cypriot folk stories and poems which survived over the years by word of mouth and which were collected, documented and published for the first time ever in the native Cypriot dialect and translated into modern Greek and English by Lucy”. To make reservations for this event, please call 718-545-1151 or send an email to email@example.com.
Photos above by: ETA Press
A VERY SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM OF REMEMBRANCE FOR CYPRUS BY CYPRECO
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 37TH TRAGIC ANNIVERSARY OF THE TURKISH INVASION
A FULL HOUSE OF GUESTS ATTENDED TO DECLARE THAT THEY
Photo courtesy: Greek News
Entitled, “Never Forget” the event was given at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, New York and was under the auspices of the Consulate General of Cyprus in New York, the Cyprus Federation of America, the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus, also known as PSEKA and the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.
The event was honored with the attendance of His Eminence Archbishop of America Mr. Demetrios, the Consul General of Cyprus in New York, Koulla Sofianou, the Consul of Greece in New York Evangelos Kyriakopoulos, New York State Assembly Member from Astoria Aravella Simotas, Nicole Malliotakis, New York State Assembly Member from Staten Island, the President of the Cyprus Federation of America Peter Papanicolaou, the President of PSEKA Philip Christopher, the Treasurer of the Greek Federation Mr. Chris Vournas who represented the federation’s President and Executive Board and several other Presidents and representatives from Cypriot and Greek American organizations and federations from the tri-state area of New York, as well as from out of state such as Florida.
In her welcoming remarks and after acknowledging the dignitaries and officials in attendance, the President of CYPRECO and producer of the event, Ms. Elena Maroulleti conveyed her special thanks to the organizations that placed the program under their auspices. She also expressed special thanks to the crowd who were comprised in their majority by CYPRECO, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV Greek and non-Greek fans and supporters who immediately responded to the invitation. “As we have been announcing, the purpose of this event is to declare once again that we never forget Cyprus and we feel extremely honored that so many of our fans and supporters are with us this evening to also declare that they never forget!” Ms. Maroulleti stressed. Ms. Maroulleti also thanked CYPRECO's dedicated volunteers, the participating poet/lyricist Polys Kyriacou, who is also a member of CYPRECO and especially, Mr. Tom Stouras, a Board Member and a volunteer "for his unwavering dedication to the organization and for the many hours he spent for the production of the documentary and the rest of the videos".
The event started with the cultural part of the program which featured songs, poems and the mini-original documentary "Bellapais". The songs which were produced on video with original footage from the occupied areas of Cyprus, as well as with compelling file footage from the 1974 Turkish invasion were beautifully incorporated with the poetry of Polys Kyriacou which was recited by him. The song “Den Xechno”, "Never Forget " which was the theme song of the event was the first to be presented.
Photo of Elena Maroulleti above left and of Polys Kyriacou on right, courtesy: Greek News
The cultural program concluded with the screening of the mini-documentary "Bellapais" by Elena Maroulleti., Executive Producer/Host of AKTIINA TV and AKTINA FM. The film showcases one of the most important ancient monuments on Cyprus under Turkish ccupation, the renowned Bellapais Abbey which is among the very few surviving examples of the medieval monastic architecture in the entire Middle East. Through narration and original footage shot on location three decades following the 1974 Turkish invasion and continued occupation, the documentary provides in great detail important background information about the history of the Abbey over the centuries. Built in one of the most beautiful areas of Cyprus on the slope of the Pentadaktylos mountain, the impressive history of the Bellapais Abbey dates back to the early period of the Frankish occupation of Cyprus and more specifically during the reign of Amalric de Lusignan, the first King of the island in the medieval period between 1197 and 1205.
The present day complex was constructed later during the reign of King Hugh III. Among the most impressive surviving buildings of the Abbey is the 13th century Gothic church of Panagia Asproforousa, Mother Mary the white dressed. The name "white dressed" derives from the monks of St. Norbert who had settled at the Abbey in theearly 12th century and who were also known as “white monks” because they were dressed in solid white.
After the screening of the documentary followed special messages from the Consul General of Cyprus in New York Ms. Sofianou, the Consul of Greece in New York Mr. Kyriakopoupos, the Treasurer of the Greek Federation Mr. Vournas and State Assembly members Aravella Simotas and Nicole Malliotakis. Ms. Simotas and Ms. Malliotakis also presented Proclamations to the leading organizations of the Greek Cypriot community, the Cyprus Federation of America and PSEKA in which they also condemn the 1974 Turkish invasion and continued occupation of northern Cyprus. Assembly Member Simotas also presented a Proclamation to CYPRECO in which she honors and recognizes the organization's important cultural contributions which span over 30 years and its strong commitment of successfully promoting the rich heritage, history and culture of Cyprus and Greece in America.
Photo left courtesy: Office of NYS Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis
Truly moved after watching the documentary which ended with a song dedicated to Famagusta which is under Turkish occupation, the Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sofianou, who comes from Famagusta, congratulated CYPRECO and its President for the outstanding presentation and reiterated the message of the event that, “we never forget" and, "we will continue our struggle until every Greek Cypriot refugee returns back to their ancestral homes and lands".
The rest of the dignitaries who addressed the audience, Consul Kyriakopoulos, State Assembly Members Simotas and Malliotakis, the Treasurer of the Greek Federation Mr. Vournas, as well as the main speakers of the event, the President of the Cyprus Federation of America Mr. Peter Papanicolaou and the President of PSEKA Mr. Philip Christopher, also congratulated CYPRECO and Ms. Maroulleti and spoke in the same spirit as the Consul General of Cyprus reiterating their personal commitment to continue to support the efforts of the Greek Cypriots for the reunification of their country through a just and viable solution which will guarantee the withdrawal of all Turkish occupation forces from the island, the return of all refugees back to their ancestral lands and the implementation of the basic fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots. The event concluded with special closing remarks by His Eminence Archbishop of America Mr. Demetrios. His Eminence was also very moved from the presentation and referring to the tragedy of Cyprus he said, "one wonders of the magnitude of humanity's irrationality when thousands of dollars are being spent in court trials to secure a single person's human rights, while in the case of Cyprus where the human rights of an entire country and of an entire nation are being violated there isn't a single effort by the international community to restore them!"
The event which was offered for free as a public service, was another example of CYPRECO's ongoing mission and strong commitment of providing "unique" cultural programs which contribute in educating the public about the rich history, heritage and folklore of Cyprus. The original footage of the videos and of the documentary was shot and edited by AKTINA TV's Director, Tom Stouras. AKTINA FM-WNYE 91.5FM and AKTINA TV-WNYE-Channe 25 were the official media sponsors of this successful event which also drew large numbers of their fans and supporters comprised by Greek Cypriot and Greek Americans and members of the general audience.
CYPRECO OF AMERICA REVIVED THE CENTURIES-OLD ART
OF WEAVING IN CYPRUS
On Friday, June 3, 2011, CYPRECO of America, Inc., presented a new successful production dedicated to the folklore of Cyprus at the Stathakion Cultural Center in New York. Under the title, “Weaving Ladies of Cyprus”,the program featured the screening of a documentary named after the event and an exhibition of traditional embroideries and handicrafts.
Elena Maroulleti showing a handmade embroidery from the village of Phyti from CYPRECO's private collection which was exhibited during the event
The audience was comprised by Greek and Greek-Cypriot Americans and Americans of all ages who were truly fascinated with the program which was part of CYPRECO’s folk arts series, “Cyprus Its History and Culture Through The Ages".
The 50-minute original documentary by Greek-Cypriot filmmaker Paschalis Papapetrou which highlighted and revived the most important aspects of the art of weaving in Cyprus was the result of seven years of recording on the Mediterranean island. Starting from the processing of raw materials and continuing with the actual weaving, the documentary provided an in-depth understanding how the traditional hand-woven products of Cyprus evolved. The film also refers to the customs and traditions relating to weaving in Cyprus, while it showcases and introduces some of the most significant and last weaving ladies of Cyprus.
The audience was truly moved as they watched the last remaining weaving ladies of Cyprus talking about their craft which will be lost after they are gone. It was even more compelling to watch the hard work that is required before weaving actually starts on the loom and how much sincere love and dedication goes into the preparation of the threats and thereafter to the actual weaving. This art which is threatened by extinction has survived over the centuries from mother to daughter or from grandmother to granddaughter. However, due to modernization over the years, the traditional everyday life, chores and priorities of Cypriot women have also changed. The new generations are no longer interested in the art which requires true dedication and hard work and thus the art will be lost with the last weaving ladies of the island when they are gone.
Guests were welcomed by the President of CYPRECO and Executive Producer of the program, Ms. Elena Maroulleti who after the screening of the documentary unveiled an exhibit of traditional hand-woven handicrafts from various areas of Cyprus. What was exceptional about the exhibition was the fact that it featured embroideries, handicrafts and other hand-woven materials which were shown in the film such as the renowned embroideries of “Phyti”, of the Karpass peninsula and materials such as the“alatzia” which were used to make the traditional dresses for women and vests for men in rural Cyprus. The exhibition is part of CYPRECO’s private collection acquired over the years from traditional weavers on the island of Cyprus, while Ms. Maroulleti also included some exhibits which are family heirlooms.
Very moved, she explained that, after the July 20, 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, her late mother, Lucy Maroulleti, in risk of her life, returned to Famagusta few days after the city was taken over by Turkish troops with a sole mission of saving these and other precious family heirlooms. This new folk arts program by CYPRECO was offered with free admission, as a public service to the community and it was made possible in part with the generous support of Arch Capital Services, the New York City of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Cyprus Federation of America and Astoria Federal Savings Bank, Ditmars Branch in Astoria, NY. The event was under the auspices of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, while media sponsors were AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV.
Event Photos by: ETA Press
CYPRECO PAID TRIBUTE TO "THE IMMORTALS"
THE 1955-59 HEROES OF EOKA WHO FOUGHT AND LIBERATED CYPRUS FROM THE BRITISH
Under the title, “To The Immortals” -Those Who Believed That Freedom Is NOT Given, You Must Fight For It, the event drew a large crowd of Greek and Greek Cypriot Americans who responded to CYPRECO’s invitation, including several dignitaries, Greek and Cypriot officials, diplomats and leaders of the organized Greek and Greek Cypriot American community. In addition, the event was honored with the presence of Archbishop of America Demetrios, while the Guest Speaker was the Minister of Health of Cyprus Dr. Christos Patsalides who represented the Cypriot government and who was in New York on an official business and remained for this special occasion.
In her welcoming remarks, the President of CYPRECO and the program's Producer and Host, Elena Maroulleti after recognizing all of the dignitaries and officials in attendance, she also acknowledged the presence of a past EOKA freedom fighter, Mr. Andreas Karacostas who was among the youngest to enlist in the struggle at the age of almost 16 and who operated with the code name“Vounisios”. Ms. Maroulleti noted that Mr. Karacostas was captured by the British and after his unsuccessful attempt to escape he was kept in high security imprisonment for 2 years until the end of fight in 1959.
The very well received event which truly moved everyone in attendance and earned everyone’s praise and congratulations was under the auspices of the Consulate General of Cyprus in New York, the Cyprus Federation of America, the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus-PSEKA for short and the federation of Hellenic societies of Greater New York.
In a very moving but also patriotic mood and atmosphere the event supported with narration, poetry, music and patriot songs, paid tribute and revived the history of the freedom fighters of Cyprus who despite all odds, limitations and difficulties rose up on April 1st 1955 against the aggressive British superpower and fought on all fronts for the liberation of their country. As explained during the introduction by Ms. Maroulleti, the theme of the program aimed at also paying tribute to the lesser known heroes as well as to the unknown heroes who as she said, are all the people of Cyprus since this fight was not about the very few but about an entire very determined and persistent Greek population of the island. "In this difficult fight, the people of Cyprus fought on many fronts, in hideouts, waiting in ambush, in the detention centers, on the gallows facing death with a song and a smile on their lips, in the curfew-imposed towns, during boisterous demonstrations, in the schools, in every city and town, and in any way possible. Hundreds of Cypriots lost their lives; many in combat, others were executed, while others were convicted by specially appointed British Courts and promptly hanged", she further stressed. The struggle known as EOKA which stands for National Organization of Cypriot Fighters lasted for four years until 1959 with the freedom of Cyprus and the declaration of the Cyprus Republic which was officially signed on August 16, 1960.
Special messages on the anniversary of the EOKA struggle were conveyed by Ambassador Aghi Balta, Consul General of Greece to New York, the Presidents of the Federation of Hellenic Societies, of PSEKA and the Cyprus Federation of America, Mr. Elias Tsekerides, Mr. Philip Christopher and Mr. Peter Papanicolaou. All speakers congratulated and praised CYPRECO for its ongoing commitment of presenting worthy programs that promote the rich history, culture and heritage of Cyprus in America and then spoke about the important meaning of this anniversary. Each speaker stressed that, despite the fact that the people of Cyprus were outnumbered and lacking the military might of the British colonials, they rose up distinguishing themselves in bravery, many proudly sacrificing themselves for the freedom of their small country. All speakers also referred to the Cyprus problem sadly noting that the freedom of Cyprus was short-lived following the 1974 illegal Turkish invasion and subsequent military occupation of almost 37% of the northern part of the island, stressing that this time around Greek Cypriots are seeking their freedom through peaceful means, hence, the ongoing political dialogue and the negotiations underway. They urged everyone to remain united and vigilant until Cyprus is reunited again through a just and viable solution that guarantee's the withdrawal of all Turkish occupation forces, the basic freedoms and fundamental rights of all Cypriots, including the return of all refugees back to their homes.
Supported with selective background music that contributed further to the solemn mood and tone of the event, CYPRECO members, Polys Kyriacou, also a poet and lyricist and Elena Maroulleti presented the evening’s literary program, while the patriotic songs and the national anthems of the United States and Greece were presented by the Archdiocesan Youth Choir directed by Maria Koleva.
The first segment of the program paid tribute to eight fallen heroes of EOKA among them five lesser known ones who were remembered through the poetry of their parents. Prior to the recital of each poem preceded narration describing how each of these heroes sacrificed themselves and at what age to further highlight the fact that the EOKA struggle was mainly led by the youth. This was the first time ever that the Greek and Greek Cypriot American community was introduced to such poems which although they were inspired by very simple peasant people with minimal or no education, they project the strength of the Hellenic spirit and ideology that, country and freedom comes first before anything else and furthermore, the willingness of this very Hellenic spirit to embrace death even of a dear child with pride and even write about it! The heroes who were remembered were, Christos Kelis, Andreas Patsalides, Chrisofis Panagidis, Nikolaos Yiangou and Charalmbos Pettemerides among the lesser known and among the well known Markos Drakos, Grigoris Afxentiou and Evagoras Pallikarides. The ages of all these heroes ranged from 19 to 33.
Elena Maroulleti continued with a historical overview and remembrance about the 1955-59 EOKA struggle and then followed the screening of her two original documentaries “To the Immortals”. The documentaries include a retrospective on the history of Cyprus through the ages, the EOKA freedom fight against the British with a special tribute to the heroes Grigoris Afxentiou and Kyriacos Matsis. Both Afxentiou and Matsis were burned alive by the British in their hideouts. Afxentiou in the mountains of the Macheras Monastery and Matsis in the village of Dikomo. The whereabouts of both heroes were given to the British by informants and when they were discovered, both chose to fight until death instead of surrendering. Afxentiou who was also second in command in EOKA was 29 years old while Matsis was 33.
The cultural part of the program ended with patriotic songs by the Archdiocesan Youth Choir and the recital of three poems by the heroes Evagoras Pallikarides and Kyriacos Matsis. Pallikarides who was also known as the “poet of the struggle” was executed by the British by hanging. He was the last to be hanged and he was only 19 years old.
Extremely moved the Cyprus Minister of Health Dr. Christos Patsalides when he took the podium began by noting how much he was impressed with the contents of the program. “I have to be honest with you" he stressed, "I never expected that in a venue in Astoria, here in New York such messages could be relayed, that we would hear voices with such strength and pathos which revive within us the heroes of EOKA such as Pallikarides, Matsis and the others”. Then the Minister expressed his most sincere congratulations to CYPRECO for organizing the event, as well as to the Cyprus Federation and to PSEKA for their important contributions towards Cyprus in America.
In his speech, Dr. Patsalides referred first to the 1821 Greek revolution for independence from the Ottoman Turks to relate it to the uprising of the Greek Cypriots against the British in 1955 in order to highlight the ties and relationship of the Hellenes of Mainland Greece with those of Cyprus and to emphasize that the Hellenes of Cyprus, just like their ancestors in 1821 rose up with the same determination and pride against a superpower, despite their small number and against all odds they fought and sacrificed themselves for the freedom of their country. He then referred to the EOKA struggle sending the strong message that the freedom fighters of Cyprus during 1955-59 have become "an everlasting symbol of heroism, of patriotism and voluntary sacrifice and their names are written in gold letters" as he said in the history of Cyprus, Greece and the world. Referring the situation in Cyprus today, where the country finds itself once again under occupation following the 1974 illegal Turkish invasion and subsequent takeover of almost 37% of its northern part by Turkey, Minister Paschalides stressed that the Greek Cypriot side is seeking a solution for the reunification of the island "based on a compromise that will however respect the rights of all Cypriots and a solution which is based on the implementation of U.N. Resolutions and the norms and values of the European Union". “We expect and seek a peaceful, viable and functional solution", he added while he sent the message that the Cypriot government is "not willing to give up any land and will not accept any violation of the country’s concrete and undisputable rights and principles". Referring to Cyprus as a European Union member he further stressed that,“it is shameful for a modern Europe to be sustaining on its territory occupation forces and divided capitals and it is also shameful that Turkey, an EU member candidate continues not to recognize, as well as not to respect the existence of the Cyprus republic, an EU member". He further blamed Turkey for the protracted Cyprus problem noting that, "this is something that today’s friends and allies of Cyprus need to take into consideration", while he also blamed the Turkish Cypriot side for not putting forth reasonable demands. He concluded with the wish that by the end of all these efforts for a resolution, "we can ring in the reunification of Cyprus in the churches of Famagusta and Kerynia"!
Photos above by: Kostas Beis
Archbishop of America Demetrios who spoke last offering the closing remarks for the evening, was also extremely moved and he also began by expressing his congratulations, including his outmost and most sincere thanks to CYPRECO and specifically to Elena Maroulleti for the program she had prepared. He also congratulated the Minister for the very “inspiring” as he said speech, the Cyprus and Greek federations and PSEKA for placing the event under their auspices and all of those who attended including the many dignitaries and officials.
Photo left by: ETA Press
His Eminence then thanked Mr. Andreas Karacostas for his contributions to the EOKA struggle. The Archbishop then offered his own unique memories from the 1955-59 Greek Cypriot fight for independence, noting that along with other Hellenes he wanted to go to Cyprus to fight, however since that was not possible he participated in other movements in Greece that promoted the struggle. He stressed that it is impossible for him to relay the sorrow that he felt when the executions or killings of the young men of EOKA were announced during that time, however he said despite all these sad events, t"he heroes of Cyprus were conveying with certainty the message through their sacrifices that it was impossible that their struggle will go to waste and indeed he concluded this struggle was justified after all, however with many lives being sacrificed".
His Eminence who throughout his speech kept repeating his congratulations to Ms. Maroulleti, he even noted that he was also very much impressed with the background music that was selected to accompany the narration and the poems which as he said found extremely fitting as it added greatly to the solemn mood and message of the event.
Apart from your Elena Maroulleti who prepared and produced the entire program, including the two documentaries, credit is also due to the volunteer production staff of Cypreco, Tom Stouras, Caroline Ioannou, Penny Chapman, Kosmas Vrakas, to Polys Kyriacou for his unique narration of the scripts and poems, to Thanasis Tzouvelis who handled the lights, sound and the projection of the documentaries, to the young children of the Archdiocesan Youth Choir for their beautiful and moving presentation of the patriotic songs and last but not least, to the Media Sponsors, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV for publicizing the event and drawing their friends and fans to the Stathakion.
CYPRECO REVIVED THE TRADITIONAL FOLK ART OF SILK MAKING AND WEAVING ON CYPRUS
DURING A VERY SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION IN NEW YORK
On February 18, 2011, CYPRECO presented with great success at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, NY its new folk arts program dedicated to the unique craft of silk making and weaving on Cyprus. Under the title, "Cyprus In the Silk Routes", the event which was offered with free admission as a public service, featured the screening of a documentary under the same title which revived and highlighted all aspects of the traditional methods of silk manufacturing and weaving on Cyprus, an ancient craft that was once thriving on the Mediterranean island and which is currently under the threat of extinction. A large crowd comprised by Greek Cypriot Americans, Greek Americans and members of the general audience, including several dignitaries, officials and leaders of the Greek and Cypriot American community attended the enjoyed the screening.
In welcoming the crowd, Ms. Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO and Executive Producer of the event, thanked everyone for their attendance and acknowledged the presence of all dignitaries and special guests. Ms. Maroulleti also expressed special thanks and gratitude to the Board of the Federation of Hellenic Societies for their hospitality and "for always embracing and supporting the organization's cultural and folk arts public service activities" which in their majority are given at the Federation's Stathakion Cultural Center. Ms. Maroulleti announced CYPRECO's upcoming programs at The Stathakion and invited everyone to make their reservations and don't miss Weaving Ladies of Cyprus" on June 3, 2011 offered with free admission and the concert/Tribute to Apostolos Kaldaras and Stavros Kouyioumtzis" on November 4, 2011 with a $25 admission.
On the occasion of the event, CYPRECO was honored with Proclamations issued by New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and New York Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, recognizing "the outstanding service" of the organization through the ongoing production "of unique free folk arts programs that promote and preserve Cypriot and Greek culture and folklore for over 30 years". Both officials also recognized the importance of CYPRECO's folk arts series, "Cyprus, Its History and Culture Through the Ages" which celebrates this year its fifth anniversary.
In his Proclamation State Senator Gianaris who was represented by his Chief of Staff Mrs. Irene Stathatos, also acknowledges and recognizes CYPRECO as "a significant cultural institution for all it has contributed to the residents of New York State".
In her Proclamation Assemblywoman Simotas who was represented by her staff member Theodore Kasapis, further recognizes that CYPRECO, is among "the dynamic cultural institutions" which "are truly the lifeblood of our communities and our state" and that CYPRECO "through the production of unique free performances which address and service annually over 5,500 Greek Cypriot Americans and Greek Americans of all ages has had a profound impact on society". Both officials also recognize in their Proclamations that, the screening of the documentary "Cyprus In The Silk Routes" is "another example of CYPRECO's commitment of providing public service cultural and folk arts programs to the community" and the fact that CYPRECO "has touched the lives of countless people is worthy of special recognition".
There were greetings from the Consul General of Cyprus to N.Y., Ms. Koula Sofianou, the President of the Cyprus Federation of America, Mr. Peter Papanicolaou, the Cyprus Trade Commissioner to N.Y., Mr. Aristos Constantine, the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies, Mr. Elias Tsekerides and the President of the Cyprus Children's Fund", Mr. Savas Tsivicos. All speakers congratulated and praised CYPRECO for its unwavering commitment of providing on an ongoing basis "such unique folk arts programs that truly preserve and promote the rich heritage, folklore and culture of Cyprus in America'.
Photo right: Mr. Aristos Constantine, Cyprus Trade Commissioner and Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO
After the screening, Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO after sharing her personal story about raising silk worms in Cyprus when she was young, she unveiled a very unique piece of art with silk cocoons handcrafted in 1982 by a refugee from the Karpass peninsula in northern Cyprus which is under Turkish occupation since 1974 and where this craft was once thriving. As Ms. Maroulleti explained, this piece of art was donated to CYPRECO's folk arts collection by the former Archbishop of Cyprus, the late Mr. Chrysostomos. Ms. Maroulleti also presented a sheet made of silk which was had woven by her great-great grandmother which is a family heirloom and which was saved during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus by her late mother Lucy Maroulleti.
The documentary, "Cyprus In The Silk Routes" by Cypriot filmmaker Stavros Papageorghiou offers a thorough inside look how the folk tradition of silk production and manufacturing of silk textiles in Cyprus evolved from ancient times. It also highlights the importance of the Cyprus silk industry which has played a very significant role on the economic life of the island throughout the centuries. The documentary showcases very rare scenes of silk production and weaving with selected interviews from craftspeople and traders from the last generation of silk producers some of whom are refugees from the northern part of Cyprus which is under Turkish occupation since 1974 and where this craft was once thriving.
"Cyprus In The Silk Routes", was made possible in part through partial funding provided by Arch Capital Services, Inc., and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and through the support of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York. CYPRECO also wishes to acknowledge the ongoing generous support of its Benefactors, Astoria Federal Savings Bank (Ditmars Branch), Capital One Bank (Ditmars Branch) and P.J. Mechanical Corp.
Photos above by: ETA Press____________________________________________________________________________________________