Nisiotika (Greek: νησιώτικα) is the name of the songs and dances of Greek islands including a variety of Greek styles, played by ethnic Greeks in Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States and elsewhere.

The Aegean Islands have a well known folk dance tradition, which comes from the dances of ancient Greece like: syrtos, sousta and ballos. The lyre is the dominant folk instrument and other like laouto, violin, askomandoura with Greek characteristics vary widely. In the Aegean, the violin and the Cretan lyra are very widespread Greek musical instruments.

Famous representative musicians and performers of Nisiotika include: Mariza Koch as credited with reviving the field in the 1970s, Yiannis Parios, Domna Samiou, the Konitopouloi family (including Giorgos Konitopoulos, Vangelis Konitopoulos, Eirini Konitopoulou, Nasia and Stella Konitopoulou) and others.

There are also prominent elements of Cretan music on the Dodecanese Islands and Cyclades.

Greek folk dances of Nisiotika include:

Music of Greece
General topics
Specific forms
Media and performance
Music awards
Music charts
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem"Hymn to Liberty"
Regional music
Related areasCyprus, Pontus, Constantinople, South Italy
Regional styles

See also



Angaliastos (Greek: αγκαλιαστός), is a kind of Greek folk dance from Crete, Greece. It is very widespread in Crete and Greek islands, too. It is called angaliastos which means "hugged", because it gives the opportunity for young people of island, to embrace the partner girls, with which they used to dance.


Antipatitis (Greek: αντιπατητής) is a form of a Greek folk dance from Greek island Karpathos, Greece.

Greek folk music

Greek folk music (Greek: παραδοσιακή μουσική) includes a variety of Greek styles played by ethnic Greeks in Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States and elsewhere. Apart from the common music found all-around Greece, there are distinct types of folk music, sometimes related to the history or simply the taste of the specific places.


Katsabadianos (Greek: Κατσαμπαδιανός), is a folk dance with Cretan origin. It is very widespread in Heraklion and Chania.


The Koutsos (Greek: Κουτσός) is a folk dance from Didymoteicho, Greece. It is very widespread in Macedonia and Thrace.


Lygaria or Ligaria, Λυγαριά(el) is an anonymous Greek folkloric tune (syrtos).The meter is 44.

It is widespread as a Nisiotika music tune, all over the world.


Maniatikos (Greek: Μανιάτικος), is a local Greek folk dance from Mani, Greece, with a 24 rhythm meter.

Metsovitikos (dance)

Metsovitikos (Greek: Μετσοβίτικος xoρός) is a kind of a local folk dance from Metsovo, Greece.

Music of Greece

The music of Greece is as diverse and celebrated as its history. Greek music separates into two parts: Greek traditional music and Byzantine music, with more eastern sounds. These compositions have existed for millennia: they originated in the Byzantine period and Greek antiquity; there is a continuous development which appears in the language, the rhythm, the structure and the melody. Music is a significant aspect of Hellenic culture, both within Greece and in the diaspora.


Ntames (Greek: ντάμες), is a Cretan folk dance from Rethymno, Greece. It is very widespread in Crete. It is danced by couples.

O Nikolos

O Nikolos (Greek: Ο Νικολός), is a kind of a Greek folk dance from the area of Siatista, Greece.


Pidikhtos (Greek: πηδηχτός), is a Greek folk dance with Cretan origin, dancing in a circle formation. It is very widespread in Crete and the Greek islands.


Proskinitos is a form of a Greek folk dance from Macedonia, Greece.

Rembetika Hipsters

The Rembetika Hipsters are a Canadian band based in Calgary, Alberta. They perform primarily Greek rebetiko music, as well as composing original music and exploring styles from Epirus, known as Epirotika, Smyrnaiko music from the region now known as Izmir, and Nisiotika music of the Greek islands.


Sirtaki or syrtaki (Greek: συρτάκι) is a popular dance of Greek origin, choreographed by Giorgos Provias for the 1964 film Zorba the Greek. It is a recent Greek folkdance, and a mixture of the slow and fast rhythms of the hasapiko dance. The dance and the accompanying music by Míkis Theodorakis are also called Zorbá's dance, Zorbas, or "the dance of Zorba".

The name sirtáki comes from the Greek word syrtos – from σύρω (τον χορό), which means "drag (or lead the dance)" -, a common name for a group of traditional Greek dances of so-called "dragging" style, as opposed to pidikhtos (πηδηχτός), a hopping or leaping style. Despite that, sirtaki incorporates both syrtos (in its slower part) and pidikhtós (in its faster part) elements.


Sousta (Greek: σούστα) is the name of a folk dance in Cyprus and Crete which is danced in Greece and generally in the Balkans. The music is generally played with a lyre (Cretan and Pontian) (or violin), laouto, and mandolin (or askomandoura).

There are elements of eroticism and courtship acted out in the dance, which is usually performed by pairs of men and women dancing opposite. Another form is where all the dancers in a row follow the first dancer who moves in complex patterns. Almost every island of Aegean has a sousta dance.

The origins of sousta come from the ancient pyrrhichios, a martial dance of Greece.

Turkish Cypriot folk dances

Folklore occupies a very important place with the Turkish Cypriots, who due to their geographic location, have benefited from a variety of cultures. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians and Turks have all influenced the cultural heritage of this Mediterranean island. Folklore is extremely important in the Turkish Cypriot culture as it provides unity and identity.

Turkish Cypriot folk dances are not only significant because they are liked by the local people but also because they receive much critical acclaim in other parts of the world. Many folk dance groups are routinely representing North Cyprus international festivals throughout the year.

Folk dances reflect all details of the Cypriot lifestyle. The dances that are choreographed with the motifs of typical behaviours and traditional occasions, typically focus on notable events. Undoubtedly the most important among these are weddings. In a wedding environment, dances such as 'Karsilama', 'Sirtos', 'Zeybek', 'Ciftetelli' / Arabiyes, and others topical dances.

The eagle is the symbolic bird of the island and has always been a part of the lives of Cypriots who appreciate its liberty and adventures called the 'Kartal Oyunu'. The dance of the eagle is performed at the beginning of all the Turkish Cypriot festivals.

'Arabiye' is performed by the females, it is reminiscent of the belly dances performed by women from the not too distant orient but it differs.

Pottery is another of the many traditions of Cyprus and is an object of decoration while also serving utilitarian purposes. One of its main tasks of its people is to carry water in an island nation, where ironically, water is rare and precious. The 'Kozan Oyunu' recalls how the women, and sometimes the men when the load is more than the woman can carry, accomplish their tasks and the vicissitudes that mark the paths toward the springs.

Besides the dances themselves,the musical instruments used and the costumes are also of interest. Folk dancing one way of gaining a deeper understanding of the Turkish Cypriot lifestyle both past and present.

Yiannis Parios

Yiannis Parios (Greek: Γιάννης Πάριος) is a Greek vocalist, with a career spanning five decades.

Music of Eastern and Southeastern Europe

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