Film info

Creator / Collector

Chanakia is a local community of Alpochori in the Prefecture of Ilia, in the Peloponnese, which belongs to the Region of Western Greece.

We are in the village’s tavern which is full of men, women and children. Everyone chats and drinks his wine in an atmosphere of celebration and joy.

At this party, the music of the most famous daouli (a large double-headed drum) musician of the Peloponnese, the legendary Christos Kandilas from Xylokera, Ilia, was recorded and saved, accompanied by Vassilis Tsakos from Tragano with his bagpipe (gaida).

The skilled musician gives a real show, as we see him playing his daouli, hitting it as he bents over between his legs or lifting it high, putting it on his neck, while the people around him deify him. The song that is heard from the pipes is a traditional-folk song named "Olga" and it’s a song that cannot be danced. However, the man who celebrates alongside another man begin a breathtaking, improvisational dance, in which they look like two wild beasts facing each other, at a dance of the soul that wants to relieve its misery.

Then, as the rhythms change to tsamika, syrta and tsiftetelia (more Greek folk genres of music), other guests start dancing while the cinematographer gives us close-up views of the guests. The fun is on its top, more and more people start dancing, a younger daouli player takes part, a woman leads the dance. In the next shot, the man who celebrates, holds a man with a handkerchief and makes figures of the tsamiko as Kandilas approaches him and seems like he is playing only for himself.

At some point, Kandilas throws a banknote at the zournas (a kind of a traditional shawm) players, the so-called "hartoura", money that are offered to the musicians by the people who have fun, it’s like something to give in return for the enjoyment the musicians offered. The music alternates, the dancing continues with undiminished cheerfulness.

A girl dances tsifteteli, people who are around her keep the rhythm with clapping, the man who celebrates accompanies her to the dance. Later, fellow villagers pick up the man who celebrates. They joke between each other and the intimacy between them shows their deep relationship.

The time has passed, the tavern is emptying and the night closes with a folk song.


Film Information

Asimakopoulos Nikos

HD (1440x1080)



Duration (seconds)

Super 8mm

Creator's description

On February 10, 1976, on the day when Saint Charalambos is normally commemorated, I organized a big party with "daoulia"(large double-headed drums) in honor of my father, Charalambos Asimakopoulos and I invited all the people of Alpochori village and Chanakia village to the tavern of George Garoufalis in Chanakia.

I managed to bring from Athens the most famous daouli musician in Greece, the legendary Christos Kandilas (about 87 years old) and the famous piper master Vassilis Bournelis. (Both were born at Xylokera, Ilia and lived in Athens since 1960).

My father, when he saw Kandilas and Bournelis, hugged them and cried like he was a little kid. Many villagers cried with him, because they were partying with them from 1920 to 1960. They played all night with the master, Vassilis Tsakos from Tragano and in those wonderful hours I felt an indescribable joy, seeing my father dancing happily alongside his fellow villagers until dawn and I'm sure they also had an unforgettable night.

I recorded their figures with a small camera and after forty years, I digitized the film in Aylon Productions so that our descendants could enjoy them in the future.

The name of the daouli musician Christos Kandilas had become a legend all over the Peloponnese area and this video will leave its mark on the folk tradition of traditional song, because it saved the ornate variations that Kandilas made with his daouli at the rhythm of the songs, which the good old people called them "the tsapia (garden tools) of Kandila”.
Asimakopoulos Nikos