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Folk Music and the Cultural Politics of the Military Junta in Greece (1967–1974)

When a group of high-ranking military officers, commonly referred to as ‘the Colonels’, seized power in Greece through a coup d’état in the early hours of 21 April 1967, one of their first moves was to capture the headquarters of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (EIR). From the very beginning, regime-controlled radio played heavy doses of marches and Greek folk songs. Aware of the power of music and radio to influence situations of political instability during and after a coup, the Junta made extensive use of mass media, such as radio and television; music institutions, such as song contests; and specific music genres, such as demotiko tragoudi (folk song) and elafro tragoudi (light song). Its aim was to manipulate the public by restoring a sense of normality and creating a feeling of prosperity. The use of demotiki mousiki (folk music), intrinsically linked with Greek national identity, also aimed to legitimate the Junta’s regime.