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Musician Spotlight

Dafné Kritharas

Dafné Kritharas

France / Greece

The daughter of a Greek father and a French mother, singer Dafné Kritharas takes her inspiration from a repertoire rooted in the intersection of cultures that had coexisted for four centuries under the Ottoman Empire. Her father perished at sea while fishing in Crete when she was just two years old, and though Kritharas was raised mostly in Paris, her soul remains tethered to the Mediterranean. Singing in Greek, Ladino, Bosnian, Armenian, and Turkish, Kritharas has earned praise and awards for her soulful voice and dedication to the songs of her childhood.

Following her acclaimed debut album Djoyas de Mar in 2018, Kritharas assembled a diverse group of musicians for her second album, Varka (2012), breathing new life into forgotten songs. Influenced by the melodies of islands and rebetika, infused with jazz, folk, and a subtle electronic touch. Kritharas' voice is simultaneously intimate, pure, and poignant. Her songs touch on themes of exile, love, and joy, unveiling her own Greek compositions that transform true stories into mysterious tales.

“Hija Mia" (My Daughter) is a classic Sephardic tragic song that can be heard in Jewish communities throughout the Middle East and Southern Europe. The lyrics are in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language. The song begins in the voice of a father speaking to his daughter, “Oh, my dearest daughter / Don’t rush to the sea / The sea is so stormy / Look out! It will snatch you away!” The daughter, responds, “Let it take me / Let it take me to its depth / That I should be feed for the black fishes / That will free me / From the bitter torments of love.”

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Mediterranean Café

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