Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Integrated Mediterranean Programmes (IMP)

Study of the Cultural Tradition of Crete - Cretan Μusic

In the description of the programme from archival material provided to us by the main collaborator of the programme Mr Stavros Psyllakis, it is stated that:

The Institute for Mediterranean Studies started, from the beginning of 1991, the implementation of a programme for the promotion of the cultural tradition of Crete, within the framework of the Integrated Mediterranean Programmes of the Region of Crete.

The aim of the above project was:

  1. the study and research, with the collaboration of specialists, of selected themes from the cultural tradition of Crete, and the recording of these themes with the help of professional audiovisual media.
  2. the production, for each topic, of a complete film-documentary of professional television standards.
  3. the promotion of the rich cultural tradition of Crete, through the promotion of these films in Greece and abroad, which would contribute substantially to the island's tourism development.
  4. the creation of a rich audiovisual archive of the above material, available both for researchers and for the production of new films.
  5. the creation of a model laboratory unit with modern professional audiovisual equipment, suitable for recording, processing and classifying the above material.

The topics that were studied during the programme and resulted in the production of documentary films were the following:

  1. The great Cretan painter El Greco
  2. Τhe culture of Crete through its musical tradition.


The second theme, which is part of the Amargianakis Archive, under the title STUDY OF CULTURAL TRADITION OF CRETE - CRETAN MUSIC with CODE: 5 S 13, concerned the study of the cultural tradition of Crete with the help of modern audiovisual media and the wide dissemination of the results of the research in the form of documentary films of professional standards.


The second theme resulted in three documentaries:

The Secret, 1993

Duration: 59'

  • Script-Direction: Stavros Psillakis
  • Scientific Collaborators: Giorgos Amargianakis, Giorgos Nikolakakis, Nikos Dionysopoulos
  • Cinematography: Kostas Papanastasatos - Stavros Psillakis
  • Sound:  Nikos Dionysopoulos
  • Film Editing: Giorgos Triantafyllou
  • Narrator: Apostolis Asimakis
  • Executive Producer: Stavros Psillakis


Manolis Stagakis, an 80-year-old craftsman, and his 40-year-old son Mihalis make Cretan lyres in their workshop in Rethimno. The life trajectories of the two men and the differences between them suggest a battle between the old and the new. In parallel with the making of lyres, this battle leads to the secret of what makes the lyres, as the old-craftsman says, to sing.


The Brothers, 1994

Duration: 62'

  • Based on an idea of Giorgos Nikolakakis
  • Script-Direction-Text: Stavros Psillakis
  • Scientific Collaborators: Giorgos Nikolakakis, Nikos Dionysopoulos
  • Cinematography: Philippos Koutsaftis, Dimitris Katsaitis
  • Sound supervision: Marinos Athanasopoulos
  • Sound recording: Vaggelis Papadopoulos, Epameinondas Chatzinikolis
  • Film Editing: Despoina Maroulakou
  • Narrators: Apostolis Asimakis, Kostis Giourgos
  • Executive Producer: Stavros Psillakis


The film depicts a rare encounter between shepherds of Eastern and Western Crete--of men so close but also so far away from each other...

In 1985, in a cave on Mount Psiloritis, the area's shepherds find some human bones, which are believed to be those of Daskalogiannis' fighters, who escaped Turkish imprisonment during the upheaval of the 1770s. Finding these bones brought together three mountain communities of Crete: Gergeri and Nyvritos (where the bones were found) and Anopolis of Sfakia (the homeland of the dead men).

Since then, every year, when the shepherds of Philoritis celebrate their Saint close to the cave, their Sfakian brothers of the White Mountain join them to commemorate their ancestors. A feast among 'friends and brothers' follows.



To gliki ear tis Argyroupolis/The Sweet Spring of Argiroupolis 

Duration: 49'

Director: Thodoros Chatzipantazis
Collaboration: :  Stavros Psillakis
Cinematography: Philippos Koutsaftis & Stavros Psillakis
Sound Supervision: N. Dionysopoulos & L. Spiliopoulos
Film Editing: Despoina Maroulakou 
The lyre played by: Stelios Iliakis
«Oh! My Sweet Spring» hymn sung by: Manolis Chatzimarkos
Production: Institute for Mediterranean Studies. Co-financed by The General Secretariat of the Region of Crete (in the framework of the development programs of The European Union)


The Amargianaki Archive of the IMS today includes the masters and all the unedited and unpublished material from the shooting of the documentaries above, on BETA and VHS tapes (total number of tapes 171) as well as the reels with the voice-over of the films. Although the material has been digitized only by sampling, thanks to the methodical classification of Mr.Psyllakis we know in detail the content of the valuable material.