Serenades of Kefalonia

The serenades are a musical kind that exists in all the Ionian Islands, but the serenades of Kefalonia, stand out among them for their peculiarities. These folk songs with great melody and lyrics influenced by the Italian tradition, while the name serenade comes from the Latin cantare (=sing). The Ionian Islands and especially Kefalonia are not experienced by most of the Ottoman occupation, but remained for centuries under Venetian rule, keeping so many Latin customs.

According to the historical data, the serenades of Kefalonia had been first appeared in Lixouri. The main feature is the three voices (primo – secondo – bass), but are sung by several persons. On serenades of Kefalonia, even called ariettas, is used to start the first voice, the tenor, and then surrounded by the others.

The guitars and mandolins accompany the musical serenades of Kefalonia, while later was added the historical accordion. According to the tradition, serenades in Kefalonia are sung by young lovers, under the window of their sweetheart. For this reason, most of the songs of serenades of Kefalonia have romantic content and erotic lyrics.

Dionysis Lavragas, musician of the Ionian School, had composed some of the most important serenades of Kefalonia: Kefalonitopoula, Laloun ta Aidonia, Lompardianoi, while perhaps the most famous serenade begins “Tonight my guitar, adorn with ribbons and in the cobbled streets I walk for the ‘beautiful girls’.