Greek Imprints: Radio National's Olympic Odyssey

In the spirit of the 2004 Cultural Olympics the Greek Festival of Sydney has teamed up with ABC Radio National to bring you a veritable on-air feast of Greek arts and culture.

Saturday, 28 February

LIFELONG LEARNING - Distant Mirrors Dimly Lit

A six-part radio series developed and presented by Australian born classicist Peter Toohey. It examines how the lives of the ancients relate to ours, through the exploration of six contemporary themes.

Part 1 - Anger
5.05am, repeat 5 March 2.30pm

Have we always felt the way we do? The West can trace science, democracy, styles of literature, even the flush toilet to Ancient Rome and Greece. But what about our interior states? The ancients had much to say about anger, it was a feature of pre-modern, slave-owning societies. But it's still a part of ours, often attached to retaliation and revenge. Are we as angry as we used to be?

Thursday, 4 March

THE PLANET with Doug Spencer

This week, a very special edition of The Planet in which ALL the music is Greek or has a Greek connection, but NONE involves a bouzouki. We have nothing against the bouzouki, but it should not be allowed to eclipse everything else in Greek music. One can enjoy an entirely bouzouki-free, Greek musical feast of great richness and diversity.

Saturday, 6 March

LIFELONG LEARNING - Distant Mirrors Dimly Lit
Part 2 - Privacy
5.05am, repeat 12 March, 2.30pm

We live in a time of two powerful, contradictory forces: the drive for private freedom versus the pull of communal restraint. The need for private, individual expression remains strong. But governments devise ever-more intricate laws to ban and proscribe public behaviour. Where did the balance lie in antiquity? Where does it lie now?

POETICA with Mike Ladd - Café Cavafy

As part of Radio National's celebration of Greek culture, PoeticA presents this radio adaptation of a music-theatre work based on the life and poetry of C P Cavafy.

Sunday, 7 March

SUNDAY MORNING with Julie Copeland
10.00 am

Radio National's arts program will feature Greek goddesses, Greek film and a new anthology of modern Greek writing.


A radio feature exploring the myth and reality of Ithaca. Ithaca was the most important place in the kingdom of Odysseus circa 1200 BC. Even today, you hear the names of Homer, or Odysseus or Penelope there. Some of these modern Greeks with ancient names settled in Australia but still return 'home' to Ithaca. With John Theocaris.

Monday, 8 March

10.45am Weekdays, 8 March to 26 March

In 1954 Charmian Clift moved with her husband, writer George Johnston, and their two young children to a Greek Island. Her books 'Mermaid Singing' and 'Peel Me a Lotus', also published together under the title 'Travels in Greece,' tell of the life they lived there, the local people they befriended, and the other travellers who came to the island.

Saturday, 13 March

LIFELONG LEARNING - Distant Mirrors Dimly Lit

Part 3 - Leisure
5.05am, repeat 19 March, 2.30pm

Our pursuit of leisure has fuelled a multi-billion dollar industry. How did the Greeks and Romans understand leisure? Were eating and drinking, sport, or the theatre means for killing time, or did they have more profound significance for Greeks and, Romans?

THE BUZZ - The Clockwork Computer: Antikythera Mechanism.
8:05 am

When a Greek sponge diver discovered the wreck of a cargo ship off the tiny island of Antikythera in 1900, it was the statues lying on the sea bed that interested him most. He returned to the surface and started talking about a pile of dead, naked women. In amongst the women was a lump, this lump is now known as the Antikythera Mechanism and it reinforces the ancient Greek tradition of complex mechanical technology.

EARTHBEAT - The Greening of Greece

While the people of Athens battle the health effects of air pollution, acid rain is taking its toll on the nation's antiquities. Find out more on Earthbeat where we'll also uncover some of the gems in the Greek environment.


When we think of Greek architecture, it's usually the classical heritage of temples and public buildings that we have in mind. But there is another Greek architecture, just as magnificent and in many ways just as influential: the architecture of Byzantium. As its contribution to the Greek Festival, the Comfort Zone investigates the built heritage of the Christian empire of the East. We also investigate the rather mysterious subject of Byzantine food.

THE SCIENCE SHOW with Robin Williams
12.00 Midday

Features highlights of the acclaimed series Genesis to Jupiter, exploring the origins of mathematics, musical theory and navigation. Featuring the ideas of Pythagoras, Herodotus and Thales and was set in Miletus, Crete and Samos - giving particular note to Ionia (now part of Turkey). The series is presented by Peter Mason and includes readings from Shakespeare, Simonedes, Koestler and others about ways in which the Greeks influenced Arab mathematicians and astronomers.

ALL IN THE MIND with Natasha Mitchell
1.30pm, Repeat Wednesday 17 March, 2.30pm

"Mr Medicine", Hippocrates, the great Greek physician of antiquity and "father of modern medicine" lives on. Today, his Hippocratic Oath continues to pack its ethical punch in contemporary medical schools as a guide to good medical etiquette. But who was this enigmatic and prolific leader? Soul and the science of healing on All in the Mind's Greek Festival special.


For writer Peggy Giakoumelos, Zakynthos is the wellspring of her father's memories and the home of her mother's family. In early 2003, while Australia's troops were serving in the Second Gulf War, Peggy travelled from Australia to Athens and returned to Zakynthos. She talked to locals, refugees and foreigners to create this moving portrait of walking, waiting and hope.
Legs, Hope and Water was partly funded by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW.

POETICA with Mike Ladd - Modern Greek Poetry

Poems by the leading Greek poets of the 20th century, including George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis and Yannis Ritsos.

Sunday 14 March

AIRPLAY - Burning Tammy by Frida Kitas
3.00 pm

A whimsical look at a girl growing up in Marrickville, trying to find her own identity despite the sometimes heavy-handed intervention of her mother, whose dream for her daughter is no less than to be crowned Miss Cyprus.

SUNDAY NIGHT RADIO NATIONAL - Persona: The Parallel Lives of Charmian Clift

A revealing biographical portrait with undertones of Greek tragedy of the gifted and spirited Australian writer who lived an expatriate existence on the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Hydra with her husband George Johnston. With the voices of Charmian Clift, her son Martin Johnston, biographer Nadia Wheatley, and Lydia Koniordou who was Antigone in the Greek National Theatre's touring production.

Monday, 15 March

THE BOOK READING - Summer Visit by Antigone Kefala
2.00 pm, Repeat 9.45 pm Monday 15 March - Friday 26 March

Summer Visit is a collection of three novellas. The first, Intimacy, charts the breakdown of a marriage. The second, Summer Visit, speaks of memory and the past as a living force. And the third, Conversations with Mother, is a portrait of grief.
Antigone Kefala is the author of three previous books of fiction, The First Journey, The Island and Alexia: A Tale of Two Cultures. Her most recent book of poetry is Absence: New and Selected Poems.

Saturday, 20 March

LIFELONG LEARNING - Distant Mirrors Dimly Lit
Part 4 - Depression
5.05am, repeat 26 March 2.30pm

The Western world is depressed. Record numbers of people are diagnosed with the malady. Young people, the aged, women men, rural workers, immigrants, blue-collar, managers; no one seems immune. Not even the multi-million dollar leisure industry can keep it at bay. Is it unique to our modern world? Did the Greeks or Romans get depressed as we understand it? Did they conceive of suicide as a solution as, unfortunately, many do in our world?

Sunday, 21 March

7.00am, repeat Wednesday 24 March, 7.00pm

Mikis Theodorakis is best known for writing the music "Zorba". What he is less well known for is his lifetime struggle against political oppression. In August 1967, during the military coup, he was arrested, tortured and imprisoned.
During this confinement the sun, the heat, and time, which seemed to stand still, became unbearable. He survived by howling like a beast. The howl turned into song, and a song cycle was born. This music is Theodrakis' testimony to the immortal will to survive. When faced with death, he found the power of life. At night when the prison settled down Theodrakis sang these songs and singing began from other cells. These songs were what came from them. They echoed back to Theodorakis from cells down in solitary.

AIRPLAY - The Forty Lounge Café by Tess Lyssiotis
3.00 pm

The Forty Lounge Café moves from Greece to Australia via Eleftheria's journey because of an arranged marriage. It takes us from a small Greek village to Victoria's wheat belt. In this presentation of the migrant experience, Tess Lyssiotis explores the special bonds between women and the struggle to find meaning somewhere between the memories of the past and the reality of everyday life.


When the Stranger Comes
Written in 1958, When the Stranger Comes is considered one of the most accomplished works of the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos. A committed communist, Ritsos spent five years in a concentration camp during Greece's bitter civil war. In 1967 he was sent into internal exile by the junta.

Read by the renowned poet and writer Antigone Kefala with music by The Habibis.
Requiem for Voice, Blood and Newtown by Christine Papangelis
An impressionistic memoir of growing up a Greek community in the inner city Sydney suburb of Newtown, mourning the loss of accent and voice and also celebrating the experiences of some second-generation Greek-Australian women.

THE NIGHT AIR with Brent Clough - Totally Greek !
8.30 pm

A mega moussaka of Greekness, featuring poets from Homer to PiO, island hopping from Achilles to Zakynthos, meditations on the agora and musings on museums, and more music than a Greek wedding.

Friday, 26 March

LIVE ON STAGE with Paul Petran - Savina Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico
7.10pm, repeat Sunday 28 March, 4.05 pm

With a background that combines classical studies and "authentic" traditional music with improvised music and jazz, Savina Yannatou and the musicians of Primavera en Salonico are like rope-dancers on the chord which connects the modal music of the East with the equivalent music of Western Europe, music of the Middle Ages and the popular polyphonies of the Mediterranean. Beginning from the melismatic riches of the Eastern Maqam and the charming irregular rhythms or the Sephardic and Balkan folk tradition, they explore Mediterrean folk traditions as well as offering improvisations which take the music into new and exciting territories. Savina and Primavera en Salonico are featured artists during this year's WOMADelaide Festival and this recording comes from this Festival.

Saturday, 27 March

LIFELONG LEARNING - Distant Mirrors Dimly Lit
Part 5 - Family
5.05am, repeat Friday, 2 April, 2.30pm

The family appears to be under duress. Divorce, consumerism, mass media and an overtly sexualized society are said to be eroding the basic unit of our society. What can Ancient Rome and Greece tell us about family arrangements and filial bonding?

RADIO EYE - Aphrodite's Tears: Crying for Kyrenia
2.00 pm

A taste of the contemporary history of Cyprus from a deeply personal perspective. Radio producer Anna Messariti shares an impressionistic account of her recent visits to the island, that weaves together her impressions of the turbulent contemporary history of Cyprus, gleaned from both sides of the now thirty-year old Green Line. Fragments of interviews create portraits of individuals and a nation that has lived through the transition from colony to independence in 1960, the 1974 invasion and the 2003 move towards integration with Europe.


His business card reads "PiO, Famous Poet". In this interview, Melbourne performance poet, PiO, reflects on his childhood, his Greek heritage, and his belief in the numeric system that underlines all poetry.

Sunday, 28 March

AIRPLAY with Garry Havrillay - Travelling by Night

Travelling by night is a bi-lingual dramatic poem in English and Greek. Set in the 1920 during the Asia Minor Crisis in which the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations went disastrously wrong, the play focuses on the journey of one woman (Despina) and her attempts to be re-united with her children who are waiting for her in an orphanage. The play is structured around Despina's thoughts as she travels only at night for safety, the spirit voice of her dead husband Savvas, and the voices of Despina's children in the orphanage.

SUNDAY NIGHT RADIO NATIONAL - Greek Imprints by Colin and Yanna Black

A weaving together of true stories, personal impressions of Greece, mythology, current mysticism and soundscape into a search for the definition of identity. With interviews and location recordings made in Greece and in Australia with the languages of Greek and Ancient Greek included in the dream-like soundscape where myths and metaphors are explored, such as the emigrant's search for the golden fleece in a new country built on the wealth of the sheep's back.

Monday, 29 March

Symposium and the Death of Socrates
29 Mar - 2 April

A Platonic treat for the Greek Festival - Socrates. Hear him talking about love as in the famous Symposium. Then, as the week progresses, follow his trial as he argues his case against the accusation of impiety and responds to the death sentence. Provocative ideas from the mind of one of the world's greatest thinkers.

Saturday, 3 April

LIFELONG LEARNING - Distant Mirrors Dimly Lit
Part 6 - Memory
5.05 am, repeat Friday 9 April, 2.30pm

Memory is extraordinarily important to us, it helps us define our identity. The Greeks and the Romans saw memory in a completely different way. They wanted to re-enact the past, so that through memory (or better, through memorialisation) they could make the present part of the past.

Sunday, 8 August

HINDSIGHT - Sfougarades: The Sponge Divers of Kalymnos
2.05pm, repeat Thursday, 12 August, 1.05pm

Since the middle of the 19th century, pearling had been a profitable business in the Northern Australia. But after World War II the industry was struggling to regain its lost markets, and on the lookout for skilled divers. This is the story of the group of Greek divers who emigrated to Australia, after World War two, to work in the pearling industry. They came from the island of Kalymnos,, where sponge diving and processing had been the main source of work for centuries. The men of Kalymnos were renowned for their diving skills, and this is what bought the group of emigrants to settle, first in Darwin and later in Broome. This feature explores this little known migration story, and, through interview and archival material, uncovers the complex and diverse experiences of those Kalymnians who travelled, half a century ago, to the north west of Australia, to dive the seas for pearls.

Tuesday, 27 August

SMYRNA by Tony Maniaty
2.00pm, repeat 9.45pm

In 1922, the great Mediterranean seaport of Smyrna is ablaze: the Greeks are forced from Asia Minor in defeat. Among the refugees is Theo Tekaros, whose long journey ends in Australia. He meets Trixie at a wartime dance and falls in love. Sixty years later, their son Harry, heads back to Greece and Turkey in search of his father's beginnings, the past.

28 February 2004 to 27 August 2004

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