Kostas Mountakis - Rare Live Recordings (5-CD-Box & booklet with rich photographic material)
“Birds, take my pain and sing it to the world!”
Kosta Mountakis often used to say that an artist should continuously practice. How can today's players practice, however, when there are but few points of reference? How, when the greatest and most inspired pieces of music, such as those by Kostas Mountakis, are almost entirely absent from the catalogues of today's recording industry.
This situation has presented "Seistro" music publications with a special challenge, which is none other than to issue a complete collection of this great artist's work aimed primarily at young artists as well as at its natural audience: the people who worshipped him. It was during the fall of 2001 that discussions began, in both Crete and Athens, with Manos Mountakis (K.Mountakis' son) laying the foundations for the commencement of this work. Many fans and collectors of Kostis Mountakis' music, following the initiative of his son, contributed to the process of collecting archival material, interviews, rare recordings, photographs, and even narrations of striking and magical moments in the life of this exceptional musician.
This process would never have been possible without the assistance of a particular individual who has, for many years, played a unique role in the creation of an archive of recordings of Cretan Music: Giorgos Gongas. During his long residence in Athens, Cretan artists would always find "refuge" in his hospitable home. It was there that their final rehearsals before studio recordings would inevitably take place. These live recording sessions at the home of Giorgos Gongas, are indeed unique and constitute the primary source for this edition.
Of special importance also were the recordings from radio programs, unreleased recordings, as well as recordings from concerts in London, all of which were put at our disposal by Manos Mountakis. Valuable material was also obtained from local radio stations, events in honor of Kostas Mountakis, festivals, weddings, as well as from various other performances, such as those at the theatre Nikos Kazantzakis in Iraklio which were generously provided by various individuals.
Of great importance also was a visit to Estavromeno, to the home and school of Kostas Mountakis, where his son Manos, his student (and now teacher himself), Giorgos Skoutelis, and the music historian-musicologist Anna-Maria Giannakodimou presented us with a wealth of unique documents from the archives of Kostas Mountakis himself. Resulting, having gathered all of the necessary material reflecting the life and work of Kostas Mountakis, we began in February 2002, the process of sorting and selection.
The sheer amount of material at our disposal was such that we were obliged to make a careful selection which would be suitable for this edition. It was also necessary to ascertain the exact time and location of each recording, as well as the identity of each of the accompanying musicians. It was also very important to chose the recordings which best reflect the best moments and the particular atmosaphere of Mountakis’ unique playing. In this respect, I hope that we have managed to bring about the best possible result. Once, when Kostas Mountakis was asked how he sees Cretan Music, he answered in the following words: «Whatever begins with the criterion, and basic motive of material gain, without having any real feeling , can never be successful, it will never realize its full potential. Music is not made to order, it isn’t just executed, whenever you try and contain it within specific boundaries, to limit it, to play just to make a living, for example, it will never achieve its potential grandeur.