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Friday, 20 February 2015

Greek Music: CD of the Year? Yiannis Chaldoupis and Moukliomos: Parakalamos; Γιάννης Χαλδούπης

JSP Description: "In co-operation with Grammy-winning Greek music fan Chris King we introduce the first of two albums of contemporary Greek music. And because we expect great interest in Greece itself, Demetris Dallas' expert notes are in Greek and English. Epirus, where this album was recorded, is in north-west Greece. Ioannina, at its heart, is about 2,000 rugged square miles with many peaks above 7000 feet. Arguably weather - rain is a constant - has been a factor in the genesis of local music. That and Byzantine church music; and the ancient Greek epitaphs seeping into the lyrics of the local lament, the moiroloi. The music is called demotik (village music), a verbal departure from the laike (city music) of Athens and Piraeus. Pogoni, Yiannis Chaldoupis' birthplace and the area where he usually works, is fairly small (about 200 square miles) of rather flat upland and higher mountain, divided in half by the precipitous Mount Kasidhiares. The music of Pogoni has spread throughout Greece, borne on the exceptional skill of the local musicians. For many it epitomises the music of Epirus, although at least five other musical traditions exist in the vicinity. For authenticity, the songs are ordered as if for a local feast. The opening 'moiroloi' occurs throughout Greece but has only found an instrumental home in the Pogoni and Zagori areas of Epirus.It's said that any competent musician can play a moiroloi, but each moiroloi is different in place and time, and each musician plays to his own ability. In the words of classical violinist Leonidas Kavakos, voted Artist of the Year for 2014 by the readers of Gramophone magazine: "…We've strayed from respect for human life, our paramount endowment. Demotike music never forgets this, because from this it originates. It is life distilled through music."

Folk Roots (fROOTS) Magazine Review (Mark T): "Just when you thought you'd heard it all something comes along which shifts any previous reference points you had...Shamanic and other worldly. Womad where are you?"

Another great review-  "The players occasionally get pretty “out,” while remaining deeply rooted in Epirus’ pastoral landscape...there’s an heavy sense of sadness and longing in every note. It’s a transformative, healing kind of melancholy, however — above all, this is ultimately joyous, life-affirming music. Take a listen" 

Music Paper (Greece) - fascinating article

Try "Mariola" on MP3


From the copyright translation of the traditional song-lyric, by Demitrs P. Dallas:

"Rise, Mariola, from the earth...
Turn your fingernails to spades,
Your palms to shovels (o Mariola mine);
Throw the soil onto the side.
The slab onto the other
(my soul, my little heart"


Also released on the JSP label, an outstanding CD by Takimi, recorded in Vitsa, Zagori

See also, New York Times article by Amanda Petrusich

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