Concert Pictures

Read about it before and after


Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society
in cooperation with the
World Music Institute
and the
World Council of Hellenes Abroad

Proudly Presents


Saturday, April 28, 7:00 p.m.

Chicago Historical Society
Clark Street at North Avenue

Rubloff Auditorium

Admission: $25
$20 for 18 and under

General Seating

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Part 1

"Zournades" from Goumenissa
Christos Gevgelis, zourna
Giorgos Gevgelis, zourna
Giannis Gevgelis, daouli

Part 2

Traditional Brass Band from Edessa
Petros Aganakis, clarinet, saxophone
Tragianos Velkos, trumpet
Tasos Diskos, trumpet

Antonis Tsotsis, accordion
Demetres Psathas, saxophone
Demetres Ornitsa, side drum

History of Brass Bands in Greece

Part 3
Songs and Dances from Macedonia & Thrace
Chronis Aidonidis, vocals

Nikos Filippidis, clarinet
Kostas Filippidis, laouto
Kiriakos Gouventas, violin

Giorgos Gevgelis, percussion
Tasos Diskos, gainta


The concert will open with Music and Dance from Macedonia and Thrace.  Both regions are exceptionally rich in folk music, song and dance.  The music of these two regions, with their proximity to present day Turkey, exhibits many of the same traits in instrumentation and style as that of Anatolia.  The forced repatriation of Greeks from Anatolia after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire brought a new influx of artists whose music was decidedly Eastern in style.  While in Macedonia and Thrace instruments such as gaida (bagpipe), oud (fretless lute) and zourna (oboe) are common, in the western region of Macedonia brass bands are very popular, having been introduced the military bands of Western Europe and the Janissary bands of Turkey.  These bands are usually led by the clarinet which is played in a style that is influenced by the Epirot style and has much in common with the ‘Oriental’ Gypsy clarinet style common throughout the Balkans.

The concert will open with a traditional ‘zournades’ trio from the village of Goumenissa in central Macedonia.   This genre, performed by two zourna players accompanied on the daouli (large drum) is commonly performed at weddings and festivals throughout the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa.  The featured group is a Gypsy ensemble – the Gevgelis Trio.  Following this will be a traditional brass band from Edessa in western Macedonia I Chrisodaktili.  Led by clarinetist Petros Aganakis this is one of the region's best known groups and features trumpet, trombone, accordion and side drum.

The second part of the concert will feature the Chronis Aidonidis Ensemble from Thrace.  Vocalist Christos Aidonidis is acknowledged as a major figure in Thracian music: his ensemble features clarinet, violin, laouto (lute), gaida (bagpipe) and percussion.


Gevgelis Zourna EnsembleGiorgos Gevgelis, known as “Domátas” in his homeland, was born in 1940 in Goumenissa, Kilkis. He has been playing the zourna in all of the festivities in his region since he was a child. Today is considered one of the best zourna players in Greece.

Christos Gevgelis, was born in Goumenissa, Kilkis in 1928 and has played the zourna since he was fifteen years old.  Christos and Giorgos have played together for many decades and have kept the tradition of this rarely heard instrument alive. They are the fifth generation descendants of zournatzídes (zourna players) and daoulierides (daouli players) in a village (Goumenissa) renowned for its deep tradition in these instruments.  It is an honor to have them here as they rarely perform outside of their home region.

Yanni's father ChristosThe younger Gevgelis of the trio is Yannis.  Although he was raised in Athens, with all of the influences of the modern world, he has followed in his fathers foot-steps and has become a great daouli player.

Traditional Brass Band

"Chrisodaktili" Brass BandThe Chrisodaktili (=Goldfingers) first appear as a brass band in 1981 in Edessa, Macedonia. Mostly children of older musicians, they grew up within the traditional sounds that surrounded them and started up, like all bands of this kind, playing at weddings and festivals. Soon they were singled out for their powerful sound, their skill – because they are all excellent soloists, – but also for their grounded and disciplined mode of operation as a group. At present, they are considered one of the most representative and established groups, with a distinct sound of their own, in their performance of the traditional music of Central Macedonia. Today they have on their record many concerts, in Greece and abroad. For years they have been covering all cultural events of communities in greater Pella county and have participated in various festivals of traditional music and dance, mainly as accompanists to the dance group of Edessa.


Chronis Aidonidis
with the Nikos Flilippidis Ensemble

Chronis AidonidisChronis Aidonidis, the best-known performer of songs of Thrace, whose reputation and popularity are on a national scale, was born in 1928 in Karoti, near Didymoteichon, Thrace, the son of a priest. He grew up with the sounds of the folk tunes sung by his mother, Chrysanthi, whose fine voice was influenced by church chants and the slow songs of Eastern Thrace. From an early young age he recorded in his memory the songs sung by the farmers in the fields, and by the revelers in the village square on the major feast days, when the “gentler” instruments would come to the village, oútis and violins (“divine music” to eight year-old Chronis’ ears,) to join the rougher sounding local zournádes, gáides and daoúlia. While in secondary school, he received his first systematic lessons in Byzantine music from Michalis Kefalokoptis, a leading local chief cantor from Eastern Thrace, and his first theoretical lessons from Manakas, another cantor.

After a year as a school teacher on a border village, he moved to Athens in 1950 and worked in a variety of posts at the Sismanogleion Hospital until his retirement in 1988. In 1953 he was persuaded to overcome his shyness and his unwillingness to “sing songs outside of Thrace”, and he participated in a radio broadcast with the choir and orchestra of P. Kavakopoulos,  This was the first time that songs of Western Thrace had been heard on the radio in their own homeland or anywhere else in Greece – and what is more, they were accompanied by a band consisting of traditional instruments. The musical contribution made by the singer Chronis Aidonidis to shaping what is known today as the “Thracian Style” was undoubtedly very great. Unlike areas such as southern Greece, Epirus, Crete and Asia Minor, there were no records of the music of Thrace at all, either on 78 rpm or 45 rpm. Thrace, however, was extremely lucky in finding such an important interpreter just as its music was beginning to be disseminated by the mass media.

In the late 1950’s, Chronis Aidonidis and Polydoros Papachristodoulou, a folklore expert from Eastern Thrace, began to broadcast a radio program on which for about three years only songs from Thrace were heard. Since then, Chronis’ career has been one of continuous progress, and he has remained an exemplary amateur musician in the original sense of the word, one who has avoided commercialization and the wear and tear of night club work, thus giving the measure of the artistic and human ethos for which he is known.

In recent years, Aidonidis has gained wide recognition, especially for his interpretations of the slow, melismatic songs of Eastern Thrace with their characteristic Byzantine colour. Thus in the case of Chronis Aidonidis we find the best incarnation of the view that Greek folk song sprang from Byzantine music in an unbroken continuity, and this has done much to gain him wider acceptance as an interpreter.

At age 73, Aidonidis continues to work, without fuss, on the music of his homeland, and he has collected hundreds of songs around the original core of those his mother taught him. Those songs are disappearing day by day, and only a few of them have ever been issued on disc. His own discography is relatively large, and it includes: Thacian Songs with C.Aidonidis, Intersound 1980; Macedonian and Thracian Songs, Aidonidis, Recor 1980; Musical Ornamentation of Thrace, Aidonidis, Intersound 1981; C. Aidonidis, The Nightingales of the East, Songs of Thrace and Asia Minor with the participation of Yorgos Dalaras, Minos 1990; Songs of Constantinople and the Propontis, SDNM 1978; Songs from the fringes of Greece, Sinasos 1992; Constantinople is Fallen, Pella 1993.

Aidonidis is a frequent performer on radio and television, in concerts and at other events, and he has known and worked with many of the outstanding folk musicians in postwar Greece.

Chronis Aidonidis is also the artistic director of the Study Centre of Musical Tradition of Thrace, Asia Minor and the Black Sea which is part of the "Enterprise of Cultural Development, Municipality of Alexandroupolis", an autonomous municipal enterprise established in 1988. Its main objectives are the research of the musical tradition of Thrace, Asia Minor and the Black Sea, the education and introduction of young people to the traditional culture as well as its promotion and publicity throughout Greece

The Centre operates under the supervision and support of the Municipality of Alexandroupolis along with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, in the context of the National Cultural Network of the Cities. Notable are the highly developed relationships and contacts of the Municipality with other municipalities of Thrace, the authorities and inhabitants of the Black Sea (the Municipality of Alexandroupolis has achieved its fraternization with the Municipality of Burgas, Bulgaria and Marioupolis, Ukraine), and Pontos (cultural associations of the area, emigrants from Pontos and Asia Minor that have settled in Alexandroupolis). Administrative director of the Centre is Demosthenes Doukas, director of the Municipal Enterprise of Cultural Development, while Chronis Aidonidis is the artistic director.

Nikos Filippidis, clarino

Nikos Filippidis, the son of the well-known clarinetist Filippa, was born in Kerasovo, Konitsa, in the Ioannina prefecture of Epirus.  He comes from a long line of musicians growing up in an environment of musicians.  At the age of six he began playing the floyera and at  eight he was already devoted to the study of traditional instruments.  He played floyera, santouri, violin and second klaríno with his father as they toured various festivals and local celebrations.  At sixteen he moved to Athens where he continued his training while practicing his craft in a wide circle of engagements. His particular skills elicited invitations from various parts of Greece and he toured the country extensively before returning to Athens for a long collaboration with the Dance Theater of Dora Stratou. He has participated in numerous concerts and recordings, in Greece and abroad.  Nikos became skilled on all traditional instruments due to the demands of long hours of playing at local festivities where the musicians would play nonstop for days and nights.    In order not to exhaust themselves on one particular instrument, they would trade instruments with each other.  His performance in all traditional instruments is extremely skillful and expresses his vast experience and knowledge as well as his sensitivity.   He builds his own unique clarinets and is well versed in the music idioms of Greece.  His goal is to bring to the public the variety of sounds and rhythms of his birthplace, Konitsa of the region of Epirus

Kostas Filippidis, laouto

Kostas Filippidis, Nikos Filippides brother, was born in Kerasovo Konitsas in 1950. He is son to the renowned clarinetist Filippa, with whom he played since he was twelve. For many years the collaborator of Dora Stratou and of other major Greek traditional musicians, he displays a mastery of craft that commands wide respect from his colleagues, who consider him a “live musical archive”.

Kyriakos Gouventas, violin

Kyriakos was born in 1966 in Thessaloniki, where he studied music theory and violin at the Conservatory of Northern Greece. Since 1980 he has collaborated actively with a wide range of musicians and orchestras in Greece and abroad, in performances of dimotiki mousiki, rebetika, and of popular as well as classical music, and he teaches violin in the Department of Traditional Music at the University of Epirus. He has played in over 1000 concerts and at least 600 recordings with the most of the Greek singers and musicians.

History of Brass Bands in Greece

Brass folk instruments first appeared in Greece about 150 years ago. The Greek brass bands incorporated existing traditional folk music and gave it a local, unique character. Opinions vary regarding when brass instruments, such as trumpets and trombones, were first used in Greek folk music. Some claim that Turkish military bands introduced brass instruments to Northern Greece around 1870. Others trace their origins to roughly 1820 with the repatriation of wealthy Greeks that lived in Vienna, Austria. A third opinion suggests that the appearance of brass bands can be traced to Asia Minor, Constantinople and the islands of the northern Aegean Sea. They were particularly found on the island of Lesvos where they used to call the bands "fysera" (wind pieces). In central Macedonia, brass bands developed after World War II in the areas of Edessa, Goumenissa and Aridea and were most probably influenced by neighboring Serbian regions.

Before the brass instruments made their appearance in Greek folk music, other older instruments existed such as the zourna, gaeda (bagpipe), karamouza and flute. During the second half of the 19th century, folk music groups utilized several of the newly founded brass instruments. This included the Albert clarinet as the leading instrument, along with the trombone, the trumpet and the percussion instruments. The dominance of the brass instruments, primarily due to their higher volume output, was evident compared to the string instruments. While, in Western Europe, clarinets were manufactured with mathematical accuracy in terms of hole design, the more practical Greek musicians custom made the instruments themselves with hole openings suited to their own fingers. Musical accuracy was controlled during the actual execution by varying the air movement and utilizing impressive finger positioning techniques. The unique way that the clarinet is played in Greece is based on the improvisation skills and the soul of the player.

In some instances, folklorists overlooked brass band music because the genre was not considered "traditional". With the spread and popularity in Greece of Goran Bregovic's music from the films "Time of the Gypsies" and "Underground", that has all changed.
The Greek record industry's attitude towards the brass folk bands was initially negative, probably because their sounds were related to those of neighbor Slavic countries. This type of music was considered non-Greek or believed to be a threat to the national identity. Today, this attitude has ceased to exist. Until the last few years, anyone looking for recordings featuring brass band music in Greece was likely to be disappointed. A few older recordings do exist, but they are either mixed with other material or appear on obscure 45s and LPs. Several new recordings of brass band music from Greece have been issued, and they showcase the talent of many local musicians who are relatively unknown outside their own regions The Greek record industry is currently looking to produce and capture the festive elements of the folk tunes of Central and Western Macedonia.

Previous Concerts
Festival of Greek Music and Dance 2002
Festival of Greek Music and Dance 2003
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Last revised:
01/06/2013 12:36 PM