is not still clarified from where or when the rizitika songs
were imported in Western Crete. It seems however that they
have maintained the roots from the Byzantine times and have
been continued on the Venetian domination, therefore many
of them were formed. Most of them however were created during
the Ottoman domination, as their content witness the circumstances
where they were written.
The rebel songs (rizitika) are known to be a dialect and are
sung in the regions around the White Mountains, and from there
their use expands in the entire Western Crete, while as long
as we move to the Eastern part of Crete, they decline in such
a way, that beyond the Anogia of Milopotamos are nearly unknown.
For the last years however, with the frequent communication
of the residents of these regions, these songs began to be
learnt and sung again.
name, was taken by the villages of Cydonia, Selino, Sfakia
and in general the villages that are found near the feet of
the White Mountains, that is Lakkoi, Mesila, Therisso, Prases,
Roumata, Keramia, and the mountainous villages that are found
around the White Mountains (Madares). Consequently, Rizitika
are called the special songs that are sung in these villages
as well as in all the provinces of the prefecture of Chania.
for their time of origin, there have been reported songs that
their creation, by internal clues, is placed in the Byzantine
years, in the Venetian domination, in the Ottoman domination
and in the 20th century, until today. The last fertile period
of creation of the rizitika songs was, as it appears, the
period of the German domination (1941-1944). Since that time
the old rizitika songs are being recycled and, while they
are often being written pieces in verse in the rizitiko style
(that are published signed in newspapers or are included in
collections of eponymous Cretan popular poets), very little
have the chance to pass to the popular singers and become
genuine popular songs. Most of these songs are established
only through the lyre players, that for certain decades have
"adopted" the rizitiko style, arranging it unfortunately
not always successfully, and adapting it within the rules
of amusement, that differ considerably than the way of entertainment
of the rizitika masters.
theme of the rizitika songs differs. We have songs mentioning
historical facts, songs of Death, of the street, company, heroic
songs, erotical and reported in daily circumstances, in the
living conditions of the shepherds, etc.
Many of the rizitika are interpreted allegorically and are detected
into them coded liberating messages that were transfered in
times of slavery. Nowadays the rizitika function still in the
traditional way, however mainly in teams of their realised friends,
that are often organised in associations for their protection.