Intercultural choirs that build a habitus of solidarity

In Mytilene, among the disputed borders and beliefs, the many invisible efforts of coexistence and solidarity, and the many choirs and theatrical groups, some actions stand out for   being intercultural and for building a habitus of solidarity.

“Opera Babel” February – March 2017 (troupe of 50 people from 4 – 60 + years old, and from different backgrounds) .. The performance was inspired by the “Epic of Gilgamesh” but here it had a different ending: “To put it very simply, because here in Lesvos, a new story is being written in which refugees, locals, volunteers, children, amateurs and professional singers and musicians will meet on stage to take us on a journey into a new world. The one in which we can all coexist harmoniously… “

MAHABHARABBIT May 2018 (troupe of 60 people from 4 – 60 + years old, and from different backgrounds). The performance took place immediately after the attacks of some residents against a gathering of refugees in Sappho Square. Named the Mahabharata, after the Indian epic Mahabarata, the modern flood of rubbish (corresponding to Noah’s Ark) and the term rabbit – a Magic Rabbit that gives the idea of ​​a balloon, “a balloon that does not work withair and fire but with good cooperation and solidarity “and proposes the idea of ​​recycling – processing.

14/5/2018 Excerpts from Maria’s interview with Christy at the 6th Experimental High School where the rehearsals of Cantalaloun take place:

“The idea started two summers ago at the festival in Tsamakia, where we met with Fred, Mariza, and Christina. It was a three-day event, open to all, with acrobatics, music, dancing, and tying naval knots. Because we liked it, we decidedto continue it; so, next November we started with a meeting in Mosaic (see post) where, = the rehearsals took place in the beginning . We rely solely on our own resources and crowdfunding. Apart from cantalaloun, there is also polyfonica with young children. It’s nice because we all come together. My children come along with me and I really like doing something together with them; because, then, we sing the songs at home and the energy of joy is transferred there.

I like that here we meet people from different countries, different cultures, different ages and finally we unite by singing and, eventually, we realize that we are not very different from each other but we have something very common, which is the love for singing. And this attitude towards  communicating and knowing new cultures and their music is very important. The choir started from the joy and love of people who wanted to sing together, and this core of peoplebrought others; the choiris open to all who think in the same way.

We try to unite all our voices and let this new composition  to be brought outthrough this combination of different voices (soprano, medium major). The body is important to us and that’s why we want to avoid  uniformity; instead, we want to be different and colourful. Being yourself is becomes clearer. You sing and your soul  is elevated.

Because singing is a way for, both, protesting and proposing something, the choir went to the anti-fascist march. That is, to propose joy and the fact that this system can change for the better. Because songs, music, dance and the arts in general unite us, rather than separate us.”

From that day onwards, the choir’s songs flood Lesvos’ neighborhoods and squares and especially Sappho Square with their music, every time it’s deemed necessary. It is slowly building a habitus of solidarity and cooperation and inspiring other collectives.

Christy Petropoulou
December 2019


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Wacquant L., 2016. A concise genealogy and anatomy of habitus The Sociological Review, Vol. 64, 64–72.

Petropoulou C., 2019. Can the poetic of commoning change the habitus? Reflexions from Lesvos with a Latin American perspective of urban – regional social movements. In : Gouvias D., Petropoulou C., Tsavdaroglou C., 2019. Contested Borderscapes.Transnational Geographies vis-à-vis Fortress Europe. Invisibles Cities, pp.125-138.

Φρατζή Δ.,2018.

Παπανικολάου Ν., 2017  

Συναυλία 2/11/2019

Photos by: Christy Petropoulou