Biography of Tonys Solomou
Tonys Solomou was born in the occupied village of Ayia Marina Skyllouras. He is married to Elli from the gender Abraam A. Kostas from Asomatos and he has two daughters Salomi and Maria. He took his first hearings in music in age of hardly four years, from his parents hearing traditional songs. He emanates from musical family. He took part in a lot of artistic events and Cypriot traditional events in Cyprus, as well as in abroad. He sang his own songs, which he specifically wrote for our occupied villages, in the first Festival of Minorities in 2000 that took place in the “Closed stadium of Eleftheria”. He represented the community of Maronites singing the traditional songs in that historical day of celebrations for the integration of Cyprus in the European Union in the “Eleftheria Square”.
From 1980 he has founded his own musical group that excels in the Cypriot area. It is a family group and they always try to serve the traditional music. The artist is instrumentalist of almost all string instruments, mainly the violin, the bouzouki and tampouras. He is a clearly genuine self-instructive instrumentalist.
Tonys circulated four personal CDs. The first CD is songs specially written for maronite villages in verses and musical, that has been distinguished with platinum price. He is the first artist that published songs for his villages. The second CD is the anthem of historical association of “Kedros” Ay. Marina Skyllouras, again on his own verses and musical. The third CD that has circulated has been “MARONITIKA”, traditional songs, that became known all over Cyprus and not only. This CD has been distinguished with platinum price. The fourth CD circulated in 2005 and brings the title “OUR TRADITIONAL WEALTH - Mariniotitzi Foni”. His parents Solomos and Eleni also take part in this CD. Also Tonys is the main interpreter in other eight CDs with other Cypriot artists serving the traditional song. Recently he circulated the ninth traditional CD titled “Eortologio”, a production of the composer Adamos Katsiantonis. In that, they take part for the first time in the history, Maronites artists along with Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Tonys is the first Maronite composer who brought in the surface, the traditional songs of his community and this constitutes a historical event for the community, which they made widely known everywhere in Cyprus and in the Hellenism. It is a fact that the representative of traditional music of Maronites, Tonys Solomou, shakes really the waters of tradition of our place and this means much for our culture.
Historical parenthesis constitutes the publication of book “Ethnomusicology-Methodology and Application (Musical-poetic Election)” by Dr Panikos Giorgoudes and the University of Cyprus, that makes also extensive and in detail study on Maronite songs. This book is accompanied by a CD with 20 authentic recordings on the spot, interpretations of important representatives of musical delivery of our island. Tonys is the Maronite who represent the community in the above publication.
On 15 November 2005, the “Musical Searches” of Lygia Konstantinidou got the award, the awards from the Radio-television, along with Tonys and Dr Panikos Giorgoudes. That was the first reward in radio programs.
It is remarkable that in 2005 Tonys sang in two concerts in the occupied regions of Cyprus, which were organized by the UNOPS and also in occupied Nicosia which they were organized by the composer Adamos Katsiantonis. And the two concerts aimed at the peace in our Island.
Tonys Solomou has graduated from the American College Thessalonica with diploma of Geotechnical Professions. Also he studied, with success, a three-year study in American College and took the diploma “Marketing Life Insurance” in 2006. From 2005 he began studying in the INTERCOLLEGE for the degree of Music.
From 2004 he teaches traditional music in day-long in the municipal school of “Saint Maronas” in Anthoupoli.
The community of Maronites emanates from Lebanon and from the mountains of Syria.
The first Maronites came to Cyprus after several wars in their country with the Arabs the 8th A.D. In 1330 A.D. they numbered 153 thousands and the Maronite community was the second community in population after the Orthodox brothers that numbered then 185 thousands. In 1570 A.D. the big slaughter from the Turks took place, where 60 thousands were killed in one evening.
Maronite villages in 1570 numbered 60 all over Cyprus. Today only 4 villages exist, Ayia Marina, Asomatos, Karpashia and Kormakitis, with population round 7 thousands. They are almost 100% refugees.
The traditional songs are dated by the means of 16th century. The style, the color and their culture came out clearly from the ecclesiastical Aramaic music that is sang up to today in the churches of Maronites. As Dr Panikos Giorgoudes writes in his above mentioned book, when you carefully listen to the traditional songs of Maronites from the voices of Tonys Solomou and particularly from the voices of his father and mother, it appears clearly that the music is come out from the regions of Lebanon and Arabic countries generally.
The musical instruments used by Maronites are the pithkiavli, the tampoura, the zornes, the violin, the lute, the tampoutsia and the toumperleki. Their sound and interpretation obviously appears oriental.