The guitar is the backbone of any good rebétika band and Nikos Protópapas is one of the most well respected guitar players of the his generation. He started working for the Press, in various magazines, and later he studied in a nursery school. But in the end music stole his heart! Nikos has been playing guitar professionally since 1984, along Giorgos Tzortzis and Vagelis Korakakis. During the next years he worked with Agáthonas Iakovídis, Babis Gollés, Giorgos Xindaris, Takis Binis, Ioanna Georgakopoulou, Manolis Dimitrianakis, Thodoros Polykandriotis, Koulis Skarpelis, Dimitris Tsaousakis, Babis Tsertos, Lela Papadopoulou, Giannis Lebesis, Anthoula Alifragi, Beba Blanche, Dimitris Efstathiou, Nikos Pergialis, Spiros Polykandriotis, Tassia Verra, Sofia Kolitiri, Giorgos Sarris, Spiros Liosis, Thodoros Papadopoulos, Doukissa, Charoula Lambraki, Kostas Papadopoulos, Giannis Moraitis to name a few. He has also collaborated, at 2005, with bluesmen, Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo in projects marrying blues with rebétika and worked with the Swedish group ‘The Meraklidhes’. He has also recorded extensively with artists such as Babis Golles, Agathonas, Glykeria, Dimitri Efstathíou and Nikos Pergialis amongst others. He also was the music supervisor for the cds of Katerina Tsiridou (“Kismet”, “Opou ki an ise gyrise”, "Aman Katerina"), Sotiris Papatragiannis (“Romantza”) and some of Stavros Avramoglou.
Manolis Pappos is one of the most important composers and bouzouki players of the last 50 years, with more than 800 compositions to date. He is well known for his collaborations with Greek and international artists like Theodorakis, Xarhakos, Arvanitaki, Galani, Ntalaras, Papazoglou, Malamas, Tsaligopoulou, Peridis, Ioannidis and Loreena Mckennitt, Vinicio Capossela, Ross Dally, Nasheer Shama, Michel Hatzigeorgiou and many others. Two of his compositions have been used by John Williams in the soundtrack for 2005 Steven Spielberg film "Munich". Since 2006, we are used to seeing him on Greek National TV, where every Sunday he directs the orchestra of the show "Kyriakatiko Trapezi". He is the perfect example of the Greek virtuous player: he experiments with a great number of string instruments such as bouzouki, outi, madolino, tzouras, baglamas and many others from the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia.
Labrini Gioti was born in Athens,Greece. She has graduated from the Musical Highschool of Pallini(1999),the National Conservatory of Athens with a Diploma in the Classical Piano(with Excellency- 2003),the conservatory OPERA with a ptyhion in Modern and Traditional singing(2005), the American College of Greece(Deree College) with a BA in Music Studies(High Distinction -2005),the University of Limerick/Irish World Academy of Music and Dance with MA in Ethnomusicology(2nd class honours-2007), the French Institute of Athens(DELF in French language -1996) and the University of Oslo(Trinn 3 fluency in the Norwegian language -2004). She has been awarded the Special Award for Artistic Achievement (2005)at the American College of Greece(Deree College) and a high distinction at the all -Hellenic composition competition at the age of 18.She has also been awarded a Scholarchip from the Attica Tradition Foundation to study at the MA Ethnomusicology of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance(University of Limerick). She has attended seminars and workshops on Epirotic Polyphonic music(North West Greece region) at the Museum of Traditional instruments in Athens(2010-2012),kinesiology with Dr. Vasiliki Selioni(Central School of Speech and Drama, London) and Dr. Dick Mc Caw(Royal Holloway, London 2010-2012),voice therapy(voicecraft)with Elpida Koutsoubaki(special speech therapist 2016). Also seminars/workshops in the music of India, Palestine,Afghanistan, Iran, Kurdistan, the Balkan area(Serbia, FYROM, Croatia, Albania and Bulgaria) and Ireland with a group of acclaimed performers, like Bobby Mc Ferrin, Ross Daly,Mamak Khadem,Iarla O Lionaird,Deirdre Scanlon,Elaine Cormican,Micheal O Suilleabhain, Noirin Ni Riain,John Baily, Veronica Doubleday and Martha Mavroidi.(2006-2016) She has also been taught Smyrneika and amanedes (Minor Asia)singing repertoire of the early 1920- 1930’s Greek music from the santouri player Marios Papadeas, as well as rebetiko guitar with the acclaimed performer Spyros Goumas(2012-2013). She has also studied on an intensive online course at the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, department of Musicology(Ethnomusicology Center) concerning the Greek Traditional Music and culture(2011) On August 2014, she attended an intensive masterclass for orchestra direction under the guidance of two aclaimed conductors Michalis Economou and Athanasia Kyriakidou, organised by the Municipality of Athens(Municipality of Athens Symphonic Orchestra) Her teaching /working experience starts since 2004 where she was an assistant at the Music Department of Deree College(musical theater, film music, world music, 20th century Greek music) and Music facilitator for the Summer Camps(2004-2010), serving also as a Music Coordinator of Activities(Deree Music Society) As a professor in singing- piano and facilitator in summer camps and workshops on musical theater at the Croach School of Music(Limerick, Ireland in 2006-2008) Professor of singing and theory of music at the Superior Traga Drama School, also conducting special courses for the musical theater and polyphonic music, while preparing the students for the introductory exams in acting at the Ministry of Culture(from 2009-2014) Vocal coach professor at the music School of Vari(2012-2014) Vocal coach professor at the Filarmoniko conservatory(2013 onwards) Professor of music and piano accompagnatrisse for the dance students at the Superior Professional Dance School Vasiliki Marouli(2012-2014) Assistant Professor and accompagnatrisse at the children choir of Leonteios School of Patisia(Lycee Leonin de Patisia, 2011 onwards) Music facilitator in Leonteios School Summer Camps(2013-2015) Tutor in private music lessons(2004 onwards) Experience on music theory exams and chamber music exams on ABRSM in Athens, Greece and Limerick, Ireland(2006 onwards) In 2015, she was appointed voice instructor for the course of Musical Theater at HOPA (HOUSE OF PERFORMING ARTS) in Athens, as well as at IEK CITY. In 2016, she started the singing workshop at the Aggeliki Sotiriou music school in Agia Paraskevi and also taught singing and music at the nursery school “Little Prince” . She has been working extensively with actors and dancers since 2008 in collaboration with Dr. Kiki Selioni in an ongoing project concerning her Postdoc at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London(collaboration with Kakoyiannis foundation) as a voice instructor. She has also had an administrative -coordinative position for ELISARTE CULTURAL MARKETING, creating internet campaign for concerts at Herodion Theater and the Athens Concert Hall(2009-2011), as well as a sales position for Lollipops Paris at the Athens Mall(2009) She has conducted seminars/workshops in Athens, Limerick and Larnaka. Tutor of workshops at the MA Ritual Chant and Ethnomusicology at the University of Limerick , Irish World Academy of Music and Dance(2007-2008) Two seminars in Irish Singing at BIOS music and cultural stage(2010), and at Shantom(2014). In 2017 she will conduct two big seminars in the Irish Gaelic singing. Lecture/Workshop in Rebetiko singing and Byzantine Chant at the 2nd Biennial Euro Mediterannean Music Conference,in Larnaka, Cyprus She has published her MA THESIS at the library of the University of Limerick and several articles for the ethnomusicological website:OUTREACH ETHNOMUSICOLOGY and she is a former member of SEM(2008-2012) and ICTM( 2006-2008). She has participated in the polyphonic Epirotic singing group of HAONIA(2011-2013) She has performed and recorded/arranged the piano and has sung for the following artists: OLGA EMMANUEL, KOSMAS LAPATAS, LEON OF ATHENS and NEFELI WALKING UNDERCOVER, ALAND ASSIRI In 2015, she and her partner George Tsimbouksis created their first personal album called “Gramophone Memoirs” which included Greek Urban music (1937-1960). She has also performed in Scotland at the Aberdeen Cowdray Hall under the hospice of Hellenic Scottish Society of Aberdeen, in Ireland at Bewleys Cafe Theater, at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and in various venues with the former polyphonic group “Lucernarium” under the direction of Dr. Oscar Mascarenas. Some performances in Greece include the New Museum of Acropolis(three times- twice with in collaboration with the Irish Embassy), the Museum of Cycladic art(collaboration with the Irish Embassy),BETON 7, EILISSOS, 6 DOGS, KET,the Athens Concert Hall, the Festival of Sound and Colours in Kifissia(2011), Jakovateios Library of Lixouri(Cephalonia), Grande Bretagne Hotel, National radio(former 3rd programme and KOSMOS fm), recent national radio(first programme), the European Day of Languages(collaboration with the Irish Embassy in Athens), and also a collaboration with the British Embassy for the festivities of Robert Burns(2016). She is founding member of the Ethnic- Celtic group Sòlastas. She speaks fluently Greek and English- also French and Norwegian. She comprehends Gaelic and Italian.
Kostis Kostakis was born on the 3/4/1986 and grew up in Nea Ionia, Athens. His first involvement with the guitar will come at the age of 8. He started playing classical guitar whilst studying for about 5 years at a conservatory. In the later years of high school he will also start playing electric guitar and also be part of various bands with fellow musician friends. He was always familiar with the Rebetika and Smirneika tunes due to his father who also is a keen accordion player. From the age of 18 he has been playing guitar professionally at various establishments.
From an early age Katerina learned the classical piano, folk guitar and baglama. Although she is of young age, for years she is considered to be one of the best singers for rebetika and traditional Greek songs. She has already performed in the biggest stages of Athens and innumerable gigs all over Greece, as well as in other countries (Norway, Egypt, Cyprous, Chech Republic, Kosovo, U.S.A., Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Dubai e.t.c.). She has appeared in many t.v. and radio shows in Greek and foreign channels (France, Cyprous and more) and also in documentaries and tv series. Katerinas Tsiridou’s music has a lot of world music influences, experimenting with musicians from all over the world during concerts and seminars of rebetiko and smyrneiko music. She has worked with the bluesman Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo in projects marrying blues with rebétika ,with the Swedish rebetika group ‘The Meraklidhes’and also with the greek rap group IMISKOUMBRIA.She also took part in the documentary about Roza Eskenazy “My sweet canary”. She was one of the founding members of the band KOMPANIA. They produced two cds ,that both got in the top 10 of the WMCE (World music charts of Europe).The first cd ,2012, “KOMPANIA LIVE” no5 and the second cd ,2013, “ROUNDTRIP” no7. Soon an new solo cd of Katerina tsiridou is going to be released, it’s a tribute to the great Greek composer Panagiotis Toundas. She has by now worked with very important people of rebetiko music, like: Stelios Vamvakaris, Spiros Liosis, Babis Goles, Takis Binis, Tolis Charmas, Agathonas, Giorgos Xindaris, Manolis Dimitrianakis, Vagelis Korakakis, Thodoros Polykandriotis, Dimitris Tsaousakis, Babis Tsertos, Giannis Argyris, Spiros Polykandriotis, Lela Papadopoulou, Giorgos Tzortzis, Thodoros Papadopoulos, Giannis Moraitis, Doukissa, Charoula Lampraki, Tassia Verra, Kostas Papadopoulos, Iordanis Tsomidis, Nikos Tatasopoulos, Rena Stamou, Kostas Tsigos, Nikos Dimitratos, Giorgos Sarris and also international collaboration with bluesmen.She has participated in many cds of Babis Goles, Agathonas, Stavros Avramoglou, Michalis Chatzigiannis, Giannis Parios, Michalis Dimitriadis, Dimitris Kalatzis, Giorgos Margaritis, the Centre for Traditional music of Lesvos, a cd for Giorgos Mitsakis and Sotiris Papatragiannis. In 2009 she released her first solo cd by the title “Kismet”, published by “General Music” ,in 2012 a cd by the title “Opou ki an ise gyrise”, published by “Protasis music”, and her new cd “Aman Katerina”, also published by “Protasis music” in December 2015. Katerina Tsiridou is also a radio producer, presenting weekly a radio show about the rebetiko and Smyrneiko called ”rebetiki serenata” in ERTOPEN radio
Iraklis Vavatsikas was born and raised in Thessaloniki. He took his first accordion lessons in 1978 with Vassilis Tsimitsiadis and in 1982 he continued his studies and graduated with excellent grades from Kostas Aroutzidis’ class in the “New Music School of Thessaloniki” in 1992. In 1993 he started playing the Bayan (Classical Accordion) and took lessons from Viatseslav Semionov (Russia). At the same time he has been working on Greek Folk Music and has composed, orchestrated and played in over 300 discs, cooperating with great Greek musicians and composers. From 1995 to 1996 he becomes a member of the National Orchestra of Greek Music and starts creating educational composes for classical accordion, based on the Greek musical tradition. Thus, the “Light Blue Book” which includes rearranged folk pieces, but also 21 studies, a Toccata (prototype pieces) in classical style and tens of adaptations of classical works. He has also created prototype music groups such as “For voice and accordion” (2000) and “Smyrni – Buenos Aires” (2008). Since 2008 he has been working on the revival of an extinct musical instrument which was used in Greece until 1940, “Armonika”. He has been playing Tango with the Argentinean diatonic instrument Bandoneon, as it is the closest instrument to Armonika. He also has been teaching the accordion and the bayan in “Filippos Nakas” Music School. Discography: “Boat Heart” with Kostas Pavlidis (1994), “Tell me, soul” with Morfo Tsaireli (1999), “For voice and accordion” with Morfo Tsaireli, “New land” of Dimitris Tsekouras (2001), “Color” with Eleni Tsaligopoulou (2004), “The key” with Manolis Lidakis (2004), “The heart of the Beast” Soundtrack of Renos Haralabidis’ movie (2005). .."La Nonna" Soundtrack Play 2015
She was born in Athens and since 11 years old, she started learning music and classical gutar. She graduated from the Musical High-School of Pallini (Athens) and she studied music at the Kapodistrian University of Athens. She also has a diploma in music theory (harmony) from "Nikos Skalkottas Conservatory". She is one of the most promissing singers of her generation in Greece and for the last decade she has been singing and playing in various night clubs and taverns, in Athens and all over the country, allong with many important Greek musicians. She has been part of a big collection alboum, with Mikis Theodorakis' cover songs, under the general title "Rereading Mikis", produced from the Greek music company "Kathreftis ichon alithinon" ("True sounds' mirror") and published by one of the biggest Greek newspapers "Efimerida ton sindakton" ("Editors' Newspaper").
Born in Athens in 1975. He has, for a long series of years, been performing as a violinist, in various music bands of traditional and popular Greek music on stage (festivals, concerts etc) in Greece and abroad. He is also performing with various music bands of Balkan improvisational music. Studied classical violin in Athens (diploma) and Jazz music in Netherlands (Conservatorium van Amsterdam). Obtained his PhD degree in Violin performance from the Department of Musical Science & Art, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, where he has been also teaching Violin and other related classes of Traditional Greek music since 2007. He also has a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Gerasimos Andreatos was born in Athens in 1962. He studied theory of music and phonetics. He plays also the traditional Greek musical instruments bouzouki and baglama. Professionally he began singing in 1985 and since then he has collaborated with many famous Greek artists like: Dimitra Galani, Haroula Alexiou, Chronis Aidonidis, Charis and Panos Katsimichas, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Helen Tsaligopoulou, Vangelis Korakakis, Anastasia Moutsatsou, Melina Kana, Alkinoos Ioannidis, Yannis Spanos, Katerina Kouka, Yannis Markopoulos and others.
Fotis Vergopoulos was born on the 23/11/1988 in Melbourne, Australia. Before he even turned one his family relocated to his spiritual home in Koroni Messinias, Greece. His involvement with music comes at the young age of 6 with the main trigger being his father Nikos who was an inaugural member of the Apodimi Kompania who started off in Melbourne in the early 80’s. After Fotis completes his year 12 studies, he returns to his birthplace and completes a Civil Engineering degree. During this time Fotis will really blossom into his musical journey and finds himself playing live at various venues and quite a few festivals (Brunswick Music Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival). Since late 2013 he has returned to Greece and resides in Athens.
He started his music training in 1985 studying Byzantine music and received his Diploma in Byzantine Music with Honors. He has participated in a series of concerts in Greece and abroad, as well as in recordings of Greek Composers’ works. He has also taken part in recordings made for Radio (3d programme), TV channels and the cinema. From 1995 he is the leading mandolinist of the Orchestra of Colors. His interest in traditional music started in 1992 and took the form of apprenticeship next to Christos Tsiamoulis. For the last seven years he has been teaching in the Municipal Conservatory of Patras in the Department of Greek Music, in which he also holds the position of the Head. During the same time – more specifically from 1992- he has been leading the School of Traditional Instruments which operates under the auspices of Ilia’s Church in Pyrgos and Amaliada. His appointment in the Bartholomio and Patras Musical Schools can also be included in his teaching experience, along with his more recent appointment (starting in March 2005) in the Department of Popular and Traditional Music (Epirus Technological Institute), where he teaches the oud, yayli tambur, organology and ensembles. From 2001 until today he has been attending lessons on the interpretation of eastern music’s tropes next to Fahrettin Cimenli and Murat Aydemir in Istanbul. At the same time he has been attending a series of seminars on oud, saz, afghani rabab, as well as composition and orchestration in the context of the “Labyrinth” Musical Workshops organized in Houdetsi. In April 2000 he founded the ensemble ‘Romioi’, which has won excellent critics for its performances of Ottoman Music in various places ( Patras, Athens, Simi, Catelorizo, Messologi). Recently and in cooperation with Markos Skulios, Tolis Tsardakas and Panos Poulos, founded the Ensemble of the Workshop of Eastern Music in the Department of Popular and Traditional Music. His CD entitled “Wanderings” (in cooperation with the singer Dora Petridis) has been in circulation from the beginning of May 2004. His compositions include music for theatre (‘’ The History of a captive”, ‘’Staxtomazoxtra’) and “The Message of the Prince” (with Christos Galanopoulos). In 2007 he published (in cooperation with Vassilis Vantarakis) a collection of 200 rebetika songs of the Inner War Period transcribed in the modal system. The collection was published by Fagotto Editions (in corporation with the Department of Popular and Traditional Music (Technological Institute of Epirus)).
Elias Elisseos was born in Athens 1983, when he was a small child he would listen to Rembetiko, and folk music from his family and at the age of thirteen he starts learning six string bouzouki with George Spiliopoulos in a small school at his neighbourhood. He has been serving the Rembetiko and folk music since and worked together with many artist in Athens, Larisa, and Thessaloniki. To name a few Stelios Perpiniadis, Evelina Aggelou, Linardos Vamvakaris, Babis Goles, Tasos Halkias, Aleka Kipourou and many more.
Dimitris Mystakidis is a famous Greek folk (rembetiko) guitar player, a virtuoso. He is professionally engaged in music since 1986. Dimitris is a multi-instrumentalist who jointed forces with the great majority of Greek artists – composers, musicians and vocalists, while the most long-standing collaborations was with the composer and performer Nikos Papazoglou and his band “Loxi Falagga” (Oblique Phalanx), and the composer, songwriter and performer Thanasis Papakonstantinou. He is a professor in the undergraduate program of the Department of Traditional and Folk Music in Epirus School of Arts and in the postgraduate program of the Department of Music Science and Art in University of Macedonia. He has published two books, both tutorials, for Lute and for Folk Guitar. Dimitris, is a multi-tasking music professional, who researches, teaches, writes, records and of course performs Rembetiko songs for more than two decades all over Europe. He has performed in World Music festivals and venues across Europe with his former band Apsilies and as a member of My Sweet Canary Ensemble. He has performed in the opening ceremony of WOMEX 2012 in his hometown, Thessaloniki, both with Apsilies and My Sweet Canary Ensemble. He has collaborated with the Turkish artist Fuat Saka in the recording of Lazutlar Livera album and the album release tour in Greece and Turkey. He has also collaborated with the Italian artist Vinicio Capossela at his Rebetiko Gymnastas project. He participated in International Lute Players Meeting, held in Athens at Athens Concert Hall in April 2005, along with 15 other artists from across Mediterranean, soloing with lute. Dimitris presented the concert The Artistry of Folk Guitar in Rembetiko in March 2011 at Thessaloniki Concert Hall, and in November 2011 at Athens Concert Hall, along with Yiorgos Dalaras and Martha Frintzila. His constant commitment and effort to preserve and highlight the art of folk (rembetiko) guitar addressed him last year to UNESCO, where he applied for the safeguarding of Greek folk guitar playing techniques as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In December 2006, he released his first solo album, 16 Rembetika tragoudia me kithara (16 Rembetika for Guitar), in which for the first time in Greek music history rembetiko songs were arranged exclusively for folk guitar. This work was so impactful that nowadays numerous rembetiko bands are following Dimitris’ steps. World Music Network (UK) showcased this album and included it in Rough Guide’s album Greek Café as bonus CD, while Introducing released it in digital in 2012. His zeal to approach rembetiko repertoire to all its depth and width, led him to release, along with Evgenios Voulgaris, Apostolos Tsardakas and Theodora Athanasiou, the second album Apsilies (2009) with rembetiko songs from pre-war and Smyrna (Ismir) era and his third album, Psithirizontas to Rembetiko (Whispering Rembetiko), along with Evgenios Voulgaris in 2013, with rembetiko songs arranged for folk guitar and yayli tanbour. His latest album Esperanto, the second solo recording, released in November 2015, including sixteen songs from the post-war repertoire, exclusively arranged and performed with guitar and with the participation of some of the greatest Greek vocalists. Along with Esperanto album release Dimitris and his band – all former students of his – are currently performing Esperanto, the Rembetiko Guitar Project, an anthology of the most important rembetiko songs of the 20th century arranged exclusively for guitar. Keeping the eastern aura of the genre, Dimitris enriches its performing with influences from blues and manouche, while his arrangement exclusively for guitar functions as a common “language” (an Esperanto) to diverse audiences. The performance covers the four distinct periods of rembetiko, not just the classical period, which is widely known. In February 2016 he participated as a performer in TEDxAthens 2016 where, besides his performance, he discoursed about Greek folk music.
Singer, bouzouki and oud player spent many years immersing himself in musical training and studies. He has gained a reputation for his fine vocal improvisation and solo work on both instruments. His training began at the school of traditional music of the late, great santouri player Aristidi Moschou and continued with oud tutelage under the guidance of the oud master Yurdal Toksan. He has played at all of the important ‘rebetadika’ in Athens while his talents and the unique color of his playing has lead him to play concerts worldwide including; Turkey, South Africa, France and Norway etc. He has performed with many of the biggest names currently on the Greek music scene such as, Agathonas, Babis Golles, Sophia Kolitiri, Babis Tsertos, Theodoro Polykantrioti, Katerina Tsiridou, Giorgos Xydaris and others.