Traditional Dance and Song Zante

The Ionian Islands, of which Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is the most southern island, are well known for the traditional music called Kantadhes, Kandathes. These are traditional songs based on the popular Italian style of the early 19th century.

Kandathes, Kantadhes are very often performed by three male singers accompanied by mandolin or guitar in Zakynthos.


Enjoy amazing tradtiional mu8sic dance and song while on holidays in Zante Zakynthos Greek islands


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The most traditional element of music in Zakynthos is the singing of the local Kandathes - these are folk songs, and very often love songs. When Kandathes are sung by the people of Zakynthos they are beautiful and harmonious.


Greek traditional folk music includes various styles. 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.



These romantic songs developed mainly in Kefallonia in the early 19th century. Kandathes spread throughout Greece after the liberation of Greece. An Athenian form of Kandathes arose, accompanied by violin, clarinet and laouto. However, the style is accepted as uniquely Ionian.

The island of Zante has a diverse musical history. Strong influences from Venice, Crete and elsewhere have permeated the local song of Zakynthos. A mandolin is usually accompanied by guitar when the Kandathes are sung in Zakynthos. Mandolins are musical instrument in the lute family and they are either plucked, or strummed. Mandolins descend from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family.

Every song in Zakynthos has its own important place in the history of the island of Zante, especially the Kandathes, which can be heard in evening seranades, and at certain traditional tavernas while you are ion holiday in Zakynthos.


If you really want to experience a traditional Zante taverna while on holiday in Zakynthos, with Kandathes being serenaded to you while you eat, you should try Arekia Taverna in Zakynthos Town. Located on the right hand side of the main port road, as you head out of Zante Town towards Tsilivi, this is one of the most famous traditional style tavernas in Zakynthos. Here at the Arekia taverna in the summer you can sit outside under the stars on the traditional Zakynthian bench tables. Food is served in traditional style, accompanied by traditional live singing of the Kandathes, with mandolin and guitar music and lyrical singing.

In Zakynthos all social events involving the local people of Zakynthos include dance and song. Weddings, baptisms, name days, festivals and carnivals - all celebrations include dance and song in which all ages participate.

The most common dance in Zante is the Sirtos. The Sirtos is danced with a lively rhythm, with accompaniment of musical instruments such as the tambourine, violin, guitar or accordion. Every village in Zakynthos has their own version of the Sirtos.

Some ancient dances are also still performed. For example, in the village of Agios Leon they dance the special Amoiris, depicting an unlucky woman, unfortunate in her marriage! This dance is performed with pantomime movements, each depicting moments from the life of the Amoiris, and her tyrannical husband.

Music and Dance remains an important part of Greek and Zakynthian culture. Make sure you take time during your holidays in Greece to experience a touch of this long and rich part of Greek popular history.

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