Sunday, August 12, 2012

In review--Big Greek music

Best of Greece
(The Athenians, Michalis Terzis, Kriteos...
Arc Music

Listening to Greek music reminds me of eating in Greek restaurants, Zorba the Greek and the movie My Big Greek Wedding.  I know as a music reviewer who has covered the Mediterranean I should know more about Greek music than bouzoukis and brief encounters with Greek blues known as rembetika.  I actually taste spanikopita while I listen to Best of Greece.  The acoustic instruments bouzouki, baglama (a Mediterranean lute), drums, and vocals set an exotic backdrop for winding up a summer’s day.  The music of several bands, The Athenians, Michalis Terzis, Kriteos, and Talking to Charos uplift and we visualize dancers working themselves into frenzies.

This 2-CD set creates a dining or dancing atmosphere.  Listen to it alone or preferably in good company of friends and family.  Ugandan musician Samite once told concert attendees that in Uganda it’s not music unless people dance.  I’m thinking it’s the same for Greek music.  Songs such as the first 4 tracks on CD one, kick up danceable rhythms, and the song Diawatis performed by Kriteos & Romiosini (from Crete), offers a respite with this sad lament.  The booklet notes describe this artist as “Kriteos had such a lovely voice even when he was a little boy that the people of his home village asked him to sing for them at church, at weddings and just for fun.” And for now you get Kriteos and other Greek favorites all to yourself.  Enjoy this warm music delivered with gusto and zest.

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