George Karipides has a resilience for life and love of the Pontian Lyra. At an early age, he learned to play on a handmade wooden Lyra he had built himself. During Easter, he received a birthday present from his grandfather, who gave him a choice of either new shoes or a Lyra. He chose the Lyra. Today he still has and plays that Lyra, which is over a hundred years old and is one of many he keeps in his home.
Arriving in America from Greece in 1986, he toured as a musician through various community events and family affairs. He worked in the food business to supplement his life and career. A tragic accident in 1995 only severed his arm, not his soul. His faith in God was instrumental to continuing his career and getting on with his life.
A devote Greek Orthodox Christian now, he continues to play the Lyra and sings in church on Sundays as a chanter. His is an inspiring story of devotion to both his faith and passion for the music of his ancestors.
Originally published on Cosmos Philly by Eleftherios Kostans. Video by Vasilis Keisoglou.