|FESTIVAL OF GREEK MUSIC AND DANCE
MUSIC FROM MACEDONIA AND THRACE
Saturday, April 28, 7:00 p.m.
Chicago Historical Society
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
Giorgos 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.
The 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.
The 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 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, 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, 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.
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.
|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.
|Festival of Greek Music and Dance 2002
|Festival of Greek Music and Dance 2003
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01/06/2013 12:36 PM