In a press release, musician Ross Daly announced the closing of the reputable Musical Workshop Labyrinth series of Greek and global musical instrument workshops. "We regret to inform you that, due to the absence of even the slightest interest and support from the local and national government agencies and services concerned with cultural activities, the Musical Workshop Labyrinth has no choice but to close and cease all activities except for the 5 already announced seminars," said Daly. The seminars that will still take place are: Percussion with Zohar Fresco (18 – 23/3) and Afghan Rabab with Daud Khan Sadozai (24 – 29/3) in Lefkada; and Iranian tombak with Pedram Khavar-Zamini (31/3 – 4/4), Kemence with Sokratis Sinopoulos (6 – 11/4), and Group work in modal music with Ross Daly (28/4 – 3/5) in the village of Houdetsi on Crete.
Daly’s press release continues: "For those of you who may not be aware of the exact nature of our work, our main focus is on the organization of seminars and master-classes centered on the subject of modal musical traditions involving some of the world’s most illustrious teachers and approximately 350-400 students every year from over 35 different nationalities. All of these seminars work below cost given that we the organizers are in no way interested in financial profit. Our only interest is in providing a valuable service to our students and indeed to music itself. The vast majority of our students have limited financial means and are not able to offer more than the modest sum which we are obliged to ask of them (250 euros for 6 days of tutelage with accommodation included).
Despite all of our efforts to establish some sort of cooperation between ourselves and the relevant government cultural agencies and services (Ministry of Culture, Region of Crete, Prefecture of Herakleion, etc.) none of the aforementioned showed any interest whatsoever even in meeting with us to discuss such a collaboration let alone in establishing it. All that we ask of them is to participate with us in the cost of the seminars so that the full weight of the real cost does not fall on the students who are unable to bear it. Until this year our partner in all of our efforts was the Municipality of Nikos Kazantzakis in the province of Herakleion on Crete. The Municipality undertook the management of the Musical Workshop Labyrinth as well as covering the financial gap incurred by the 25-30 seminars organized on Crete (approximately 35000 – 40000 euros annually). In the last two years we also established a fruitful albeit limited cooperation with the Municipality of Lefkada who helped us to organize 4 seminars at their location during the winter months.
As of this year, the Municipality of Nikos Kazantzakis has declared itself unable to cover the costs which it has covered up until now and, as a result, we are without the necessary funds to continue our activities. The Mayor of the Municipality Nikos Kazantzakis Mr. Rousos Kypriotakis has assured us that, despite his and his colleagues’ persistent and best efforts to ensure the interest and support of the local and national agencies and services involved in cultural activities in order to continue with our work, no response was forthcoming from any of them. As a result, the Musical Workshop Labyrinth has no choice other than to cease all activities and close.
The village Houdetsi has acquired international renown as a result of the activities of the Musical Workshop Labyrinth which has become the prime-mover for the development of the village itself as well as the area in general. The students and teachers of Labyrinth teach at some of the most prestigious institutions of musical education throughout Greece, Europe and elsewhere while simultaneously participating creatively and decisively in cutting-edge productions involving the integration of traditional elements of various cultural backgrounds in contemporary creative composition. Crete itself is developing into a focal point for the meeting, dialogue and creative interaction between cultures of the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Asia. Unfortunately however the authorities show no interest….The financial gap which, for us, is an insurmountable obstacle, is for them inconsequential for such a significant cultural and developmental project. Their attitude of indifference and negativity can only be described as being criminal.
We are more than willing to seriously consider and even implement any proposed plan of action in order to continue our work here at Labyrinth except for the following three:
4) Increasing the costs of the seminars at the expense of the students
5) curtailing any aspect of the activities of Labyrinth
6) Any reduction in the quality of the teaching services thus far offered by Labyrinth.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the students and teachers who, for all these years, have graced us with their presence and trust. I would also like to thank the Municipalities of Nikos Kazantzakis and Lefkada who showed support for our activities an indeed did whatever they were able to on our behalf.
If anyone reading this message wishes to express their dissatisfaction and displeasure with this turn of events, I recommend that you send an email expressing your feelings to any one of the following email addresses or, even better, to all."
1) Crete Region : www.crete.gov.gr/contact.asp?id=4&category=19
2) Prefecture of Heraclion email@example.com
3) Local Union of Municipalities Heraclion firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Ministry of Culture : http://www.yppo.gr/0/gcontact.jsp
5) Municipality of N.Kaxantzaki www.dimos-nikoskazantzakis.gr/contact.html
More information at: www.labyrinthmusic.gr
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central