The Circle: A music band. An orchestra. A music shape as we say in Greece. A circle of musicians and friends whose connection is their love for rebetiko music, a music kind that flourished in Greece from the beginning of 20th century until 1955, but still remains alive and is being heard and played in the whole country. The idea of this band was borne out of Thanos Bouris, Shushan Kerovpyan, Panos Dimakis, Vanessa Kourtesi, Ela Nuroglu, Ezgi Can and Sotiris Letsios and its purpose is growing and expanding into a bigger circle of musicians finding common ground in their passion for “rebetiko” music. The band aims to connect musicians who live and work either in Greece or abroad and spread the bohemian flavor of this music, mixing it with other cultures and civilizations, so that this music journey continues to new and unknown destinations. The circle... similar to zero. Nothing and everything. A music band without boundaries and borders. Parallel circles with common ground, parallel lives, same sensitivities and one music in the centre of all people. Sotiris Letsios: Guitar / Vocals Ezgi Sevgi Can: Clarinet / Vocals Panos Dimakis: Bouzouki / Vocals Shushan Kerovpyan: Double bass / Vocals Thanos Bouris: Bouzouki / Vocals Ela Nuroglu: Percussions / Vocals Vanessa Kourtesi: Vocals
Mantares is an acoustic music band, created during the spring of 2016, dealing with the traditional music of Greece and generally eastern mediterranean region. Songs and melodies, blurred by "antara", the fog of Cretan mountains, grow as Kozani mushrooms called "mantares", are getting wet by the Aegean Sea and tangle as like the blurred waters of the Egyptian mandara. The band to his live appearances, sometimes approaches the mysticism of sedentary songs and greek "amane", and sometimes the ecstasy of feasting and dancing, often by escaping from the paths of the traditional form.Mantares is an acoustic music band, created during the spring of 2016, dealing with the traditional music of Greece and generally eastern mediterranean region. Songs and melodies, blurred by "antara", the fog of Cretan mountains, grow as Kozani mushrooms called "mantares", are getting wet by the Aegean Sea and tangle as like the blurred waters of the Egyptian mandara. The band to his live appearances, sometimes approaches the mysticism of sedentary songs and greek "amane", and sometimes the ecstasy of feasting and dancing, often by escaping from the paths of the traditional form. John Mavritsakis - violin Orestis Tsichlakis - oud, trumpet May Angelaki - lute Katerina Eleftheriou - percussion.
Mále Vráse is a Greek slang expression, meaning upset, a mess, bust up. Having in common the love for music from a very young age, and each one with a different musical background, the members of Mále Vráse mixed their influences and started their own music journey. Mále Vráse band sings Rebetiko, urban Greek folk music, that is rooted in the pre-war era and reflects harsh aspects of the daily sub-cultural lifestyle. Rebetiko derived from Asia Minor, and especially Smyrna, during 1920s and ended 30 years later as a mixture of Eastern and Western music features. The band travels back to this popular period with a guitar, two bouzouki’s and a violin. They form their sound with respect to the original gramophone recordings, combined with contemporary music elements. Mále Vráse band are: Antonis Laurijsen – Guitar Charis Laurijsen – Bouzouki Dimitris Maris – Bouzouki Nikos Kaliouris – Violin
Rebetien band is a party of four musicians that perform songs and themes mostly derived from the rebetiko and the Greek traditional music repertoire, as well as compositions of their own. The band’s nostalgic sound is reminiscent of the gramophone records’ period, often subtly combined with alternate, yet closely related, musical styles of various Eastern Mediterranean and Balkan musical traditions. Great emphasis is placed on the natural, acoustic sound of the instruments performing (accordion, bass-guitar, bouzouki and violin), the combination of which recalls in a sense the typical interwar bands of Smyrna, and on experimenting primarily with their arrangements, creating thus their own distinct sound and style. With their large repertoire and style range, as well as their strongly improvisational disposition, Rebetien band’s mood can vary and go from melancholic and romantic to dynamic and uplifting. Rebetien band performs weekly at various live-music taverns in Athens, and on occasion has performed at several live-music venues and music festivals in Greece and abroad.
Monastiraki is the first album of REBELETIKO Group using traditional Greek instruments, "conspiring" with the sounds of rebetika, of Smyrna, and every kind of folk music from the mainland and islands to the coast of Asia Minor and Pontus.
2011: “KOMPANÍA” was officially formed at the end of 2011, although its members were already playing together for many years, at any given opportunity! The first band members were: Katerína Tsirídou, Sotiris Papatragiannis, Dimítris Kranídas, Níkos Protópapas and Giánnis Kalafatélis. A determining part in the launch and evolution of the band, has also been played by Margot Schenk (manager/production) and Loek Schrievers (sound engineer/producer), both of them former members of the Dutch rebetika band “Palio-Paréa”. They heard the group many times when they visited or played in Athens and decided their music should also be heard outside Greece, so they organized the first tours and they werw the producers of the first two cds. Violinist Hector Cosmas was an original member of the band, but unfortunately he passed away during March 2012, just two months before “KOMPANÍA’s” first tour in Holland and Belgium. 2012: That first tour had great impact and was highlighted by the release of a cd with live recordings of one of these concerts. The cd “KOMPANÍA– Live!” was presented at a new tour in Holland and Belgium, which was also very successful, got excellent reviews from the press and the cd was ranked #5 at the World Music Charts of Europe (wmce.de) for February 2013. 2013: “KOMPANÍA’s” next step abroad was another tour, during the spring of 2013 (April/May) in Europe, where this time a studio cd was recorded in Holland, under the title "Round Trip". That cd was also ranked #7 at WMCE (January 2014) and got great reviews from important music magazines like "fRoots" and more. 2014 - 2015: In the next two seasons (2014-2015) Dimitris Gkinis joined as the new accordion player of the band. "KOMPANÍA" played in the most important concert halls in Greece, like "Megaron, the Athens concert hall", "Badminton Theatre" and many more. They continued to travel in big festivals and theatres around Europe (Swizzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, Belgium) presenting the "Round Trip" and even appeared at important tv and radio shows in these countries as well as in a German documentary film about Athens and rebetiko, made for the Berliner Philarmonic Orchestra, presenting "KOMPANÍA" along with the world-famous violin soloist Leonidas Kavakos. 2016: Ioulía Karapatáki (lead singer, guitar) and Thodorís Petrópoulos (bouzouki, oud, guitar, vocals) two of the most promissing artists of the new generation in Greece, joined "KOMPANÍA" on February 2016, replacing Katerina Tsiridou & Dimitris Kranidas. Along with the old members of the band, Sotíris Papatragiánnis (lead singer, baglama), Níkos Protópapas (guitar, vocals) and Dimítris Gkínis (accordion), they are now the renewed line up of "KOMPANÍA", prepearing to meet new audiences with a fresh cd and of course new concerts all around Europe and, why not, the whole world!!!
TAKIM were created in 2001 in Athens. Τheir repertoire includes elements of the common music traditions of Greece , East Mediterranean and the Balkans. Their sound can be described as an effort to recreate the music line up of the old Ottoman cities like Smyrna , Ioannina , Preveza and Istanbul when Greeks , Turks , Armenians and Jewish musicians where living together in separate but interactive communities. The members of Takim are well known professional musicians who have worked with international & Greek artists like Loreena mcKennit , Nana Mouskouri , Calexico , Eleni Karaindrou , Shantel , Eleftheria Arvanitaki , Glykeria , Charis Alexiou , George Dalaras etc. Takim perform many concerts in Greece (including among others the Athens ARK festival) and in the past years they have established their place in the greek ethnic and crossover music scene. They are: Thomas Konstantinou , Oud Alexandros Arkadopoulos , Clarinet Kostas Meretakis , Percussion Panos Dimitrakopoulos , Kanun Yiannis Plagianakos , Upright Bass Yiorgos Marinakis , Violin Discography / Collaborations: • 2005 They released their first album produced by Pantelis Thalassinos (MBI/Thesis) • 2005 they participated in Nicos Xydakis album “Second Calendar” (Lyra) • 2006 Evanthia Remboutsika’s soundtrack for the Turkish film “Babam ve Oglum”(Cantini Music). • 2013 with Greek singer Dimitra Galani in Themis Karamouratidis song “Just a Goodbye” with lyrics by Nick Moraitis. (Minos EMI) • 2015 With Natassa Bofiliou & the song “Anapoda” (Feelgood Records) • 2015 With Calexico (Edge of the sun) in a remake of the famous song “Stray” and “Roll Tango” featuring Eric Burdon. (City Slang) • 2015 they released their second album featuring many great greek artists such as Charis Alexiou , Sokratis Malamas , Pantelis Thalassinos and a line of skillfull traditional singers who over the years have served and carried the greek folk music until today. (ANTart Productions) • Takim’s last collaboration was with german dj and producer Shantel in a remake of the older song “Nikolaki Mou” sung by Areti Ketime. (Essay Recordings)
Yiannis Niarhos was born in Athens on 3rd August 1967. Since his early age, he has been involved in traditional, rebetico and folk greek music, singing and playing mainly the guitar, as well as buzuki, baglama and oud. He took his degree as an electrician-engineer from the Technical Institution of Kozani, while playing and singing in taverns. In 2002, he took part in Panayiotis Kounadis documentary "Gia sou perifani ki athanati ergatia", ERT - 2001, with two songs. Since then, has participated in several programmes, with a number of bands, in taverns and music restaurants in Athens. He is a member of Apodimi Band, with whom he has recorded four CDs. He has travelled with Apodimi Band to Australia four times, where he performed in concerts and festivals in Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra. Since March 2013, he has been a member in a group of the dance-theatre CIE MPTA, with Belgian, French, Greek and Tunisian dancers and musicians. Their performance has been staged in theatres and festivals in Brussels, Athens, Lion, Paris, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires etc. He has been a member of the Banda Jovanica, in which they attempt to connect the Asian Minor musical creations with the rich Hungarian, Rumanian and Russian musical tradition. Since October 2016, he has been on stage with Takim Band, performing “Café Aman-Greek Delight”, supervised by the ethnomusicologist Labros Liavas. He composes and writes songs, based on Greek musical tradition but with contemporary subjects, and he performs them with Anakorda Band, in which he is a founding member.
The bouzouki is probably the most distinctive instrument in a rebetiko band and Thodoris is really one of the greatest players of the new generation! He was born in Athens (1983) and he grew up in Aegion. He studied piano for 8 years and when he was thirteen years old, he started playing bouzouki as a self-taught musician. At his eighteen years, he started working as a professional musician in various clubs and venues, he was studying bouzouki at the school of Themis Papavassiliou and, at the same time, he was studying, an the University of Patras, to be a philologist - linguist. He has played all around Greece, with various well known artists like Dimitris Kontolazos, Babis Gkoles, Giorgos Aigiotis, Kostas Mantzios, Stavroula Manolopoulou, Angela Orphanou, Christos Andoniadis, Marina Manolakou, Sofia Emfietzi, Giannis Tassios, Thanassis Komninos, A. Mandas, Giorgos Daskoulidis, Andonis Gounaris, Maria Spyropoulou, Andonis Ainitis, Lakis Chalkias and more. He has cooperated, either as a member or as a session musician, with the Philharmonic band of Aegion, the Philharmonic band of Akrata, the Dance School of Aegion, the Graduates' Theatrical Team, the Philologists' Club of Aegialia, the DiKePa of Aegion and the "Emmelon" band. He has been part of theatrical plays ("Fairytale with no name", "Our big circus") and of tribute concerts for Vassilis Tsitsanis, Apostolos Kaldaras, Manos Loizos, Lefteris Papadopoulos etc. He has also worked as a bouzouki teacher at the Conservatories of Patras and of Akrata, at the "Mozart" Conservatory and as a private lessons' teacher. In discography, he has played as a musician in the alboum "Gliko stafili" of Vassilis Dallis and he has been the arranger for the cd single "Aeraki" of Giorgos Aegiotis, both published by "Kathreftis Ichon Alithinon" (Mirror of True Sounds).
Theodora Athanassiou was born in Athens. She holds a degree in Education Studies from the University of Patras. She turned to music at the early age of six, teaching herself the bouzouki the baglama and taking part in school music bands and clubs. At eleven, she took up classes on repertoire and modes of folk guitar under the guitarist Nikos Protopapas. She has been working in live music clubs as a guitarist since the age of nineteen. For the last ten years she has been focusing her studies on the eastern system of melody types (makam) for lavta (the Constantinople lute) and yaili tanbur under Christos Tsiamoulis and Eugenios Voulgaris, as well as on rythmology for traditional percussion under Sergios Voulgaris, as part of a five-year course in the Department of Greek music and Instruments at the Municipal Conservatory of Patras. Since 2004, she has attended a number of master classes on the technique and repertoire on lavta (2005) under Pericles Papapetropoulos and other eastern music traditions (afghan rabab, 2004 / KhaledArman, Persian radif, 2006 / Darius Talai) with Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Crete. In 2007, she attended a master class on the special technique and classical repertoire on yaili tanbur under Eugenios Voulgaris (Music Village, Ag. Lavrentios, Pelion). She trained on vocal registration and speech production using physical techniques under the theatre director Maria Panoutsou (2006) and has appeared in theatre productions and radio and TV programmes as a musician and performer. She has been studying towards the special diploma in Higher Theory of Western Classical Music (Harmony Diploma) with the Municipal Conservatory of Ilion, Athens and holds the diploma of Byzantine Ceremonial music (under Athanasios Paivanas, Conservatory of Greece, 2013). She has consistently and extensively studied vocal pedagogy and registration for eastern repertoires and has teamed up with physical performer Irini Athanassiou to lead workshops, master classes and courses on Physical Voice. Since 2005 she has been tutoring and giving courses on theory, technique and repertoire for Greek folk guitar, lavta and yaili tanbur. She is also a teacher and tutor of Eastern music theory, with a focus on broader repertoire of eastern Mediterranean regions. In discography, she collaborated with both established and emerging artists contributing lavta, guitar and vocals; Apsilies by Eugenios Voulgaris, Dimitris Mystakidis and Apostolos Tsardakas in 2008, Voreino / lyrics and composition by Lakis Orfanidis in 2009, Pantahou Apon / lyrics and composition by Nikolas Evantinos in 2010, Kapetanie / lyrics and composition by Constantinos Plousios in 2011, J. Kriste Master of Disguise The Age of Now / by LefterisMoumtzis in 2012. She featured in documentaries about rembetiko songs and contemporary expression in 2011 (11 voices) and 2012 (in debito). Since 2009, she has formed and presented a number of active groups collaborating with remarkable emerging Greek musicians and received widely favourable reviews both in Greece and abroad; (Giouf trio, Happy duo, Ap’ allou duo, Karpos trio, Terpnon ensemble, Garlic duo) with a focus on the role of guitar and lavta in music ‘idioms’ from Greece and the broader Mediterranean.
Stelios Vamvakaris, son of Markos Vamvakaris , was born in 1948. Vamvakaris has quietly gone about releasing worthy work, at a steady rate, since making his debut as a recording artist in 1977. Stelios Vamvakaris who, as a youngster, liked to accompany his father to the various haunts where he would perform, began learning bouzouki at the age of seven. He turned professional five years later. By the age of 17, the younger Vamvakaris began performing alongside his father. Around this time, he also began writing his own material. Besides his father, Stelios Vamvakaris began playing with other leading acts, among them Yiannis Papaioannou, Vassilis Tsitsanis and Stratos Payioumtzis. As a songwriter, Stelios Vamvakaris did not simply approach rebetika as a stagnant form of the past. In search of variation and freshness, he branched out and also worked with figures beyond the rebetika guild. Local rock pioneer Pavlos Sidiropoulos, Cretan music legend Nikos Xylouris and enduring star George Dalaras all scored major hits with material written by Stelios Vamvakaris. He also wrote material for major old-school laiko artists, among them Giorgos Zabetas, Keti Grey, and Vicky Moscholiou. Stretching it all even further, Stelios Vamvakaris was one of the first musicians to explore the common roots of rebetika and American blues, which, despite the geographic distance, emerged simultaneously and under similar conditions. The musical investigation led to a collaboration with blues giant John Lee Hooker, as well as Louisiana Red. In 2003, Stelios Vamvakaris, a frequent performer abroad, played at the World Got The Blues Festival in London, on a bill that included Taj Mahal and Cesaria Evora.
He was born in Athens and since his early years, he was enchanted by the “rebétiko” music. He has studied drawing at the “Plaka” and “Tasos Rigas” school and he graduated from the “Spiros Ornerakis” school of arts. He has also taken lessons for special fx and special make-up, for shadow theatre puppets construction and as a tattoo artist. He has worked for many years as an illustrator and cartoonist for publishing firms, magazines and newspapers. He is a self-taught musician and singer and he belongs to the top-league of his generation's performers. At the age of 15, he started singing and playing the guitar and a few years later he started playing the baglamá. Since 1997 he has worked alone or with various bands, singing "rebétika" and "smyrneïka" in most "rebetadika" and music halls of Athens, and also at many concerts throughout Greece and even Europe (Holland, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Swizzerland etc). He was in charge of the rebetiko music hall “Misirlou” for two seasons (2005/06-2006/07). He has by now worked with some of the most important people of the rebetiko, like: Agathonas Iakovidis, Giorgos Xindaris, Stelios Vamvakaris, Spyros Liosis, Kostas Kaldaras, Vaggelis Korakakis, Michalis Zampetas, Nikos Tatasopoulos, Haig Yazdjian, Manolis Pappos, Antonis Papaioannou, Manolis Dimitrianakis, Christos Konstantinou, Spyros Polykandriotis, Lela Papadopoulou, Katerina Tsiridou, Nikolas Syros, Thymios Stouraitis, Antonis Ainitis, Dimitris Kranidas, Giannis Papavasiliou (Vlahos) and many others, as well as with the “shadow theatre” players Thanasis & Kostas Spyropoulos, Ilias Karellas, Athos Danelis and Dimos Vougioukas, for a number of common appearances. He has published one personal cd, at 2011, by the title "Romantza", produced by "General music" and "8th Nota". He has also participated at the cd’s of Katerina Tsiridou (“Kismet”, “Opou ki an ise gyrise”, "Aman Katerina"), the soundtrack of the international documentary “My sweet canary”, the cd of Nikos Tatasopoulos (“Osa chronia ki an perasoun”) the cd of the Latin-Swedish band "Faela" ("Por el mundo") and more.
Sokratis Sinopoulos was born in Athens, Greece. He studied classical guitar while taking lessons in Byzantine music and folk song, initially at S.Karas’ school and then at I.Tsiamoulis’ where he sang with the school children’s choir. In 1988 he started studying Lyra and Lute with Ross Daly and a year later he joined his group “Labyrinthos”. Since then he has collaborated with musicians, singers and composers, from Greece and abroad in various genres, from folk music to jazz, participating in countless concerts and recordings all around the world. In 1999 he was honored with the Melina Mercouri national award for young artists. In 2011 he created Sokratis Sinopoulos Quartet. The debut album of the quartet “Eight Winds” was produced by Manfred Eicher for ECM records (September 2015). Sokratis is an assistant professor in the Department of Music Science and Art in the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki.
Nikos Tatasopoulos was born in the USA. He began playing bouzouki and performing on stage with his father the legendary soloist and composer John Tatasopoulos, at the mere age of 3. His performances continued nation-wide with his father until the age of 19 when he then moved to Athens Greece to continue his career in Greek Music. Throughout his career he has worked alongside both on stage and in the recording studio with the following artists: Giorgos Dalaras, Marinella, Tolis Voskopoulos, Litsa Diamanti, Antonis Vardis, Giannis Vardis, Eleni Dimou, Giorgos Sarris,Giannis Ploutarxos Glykeria, Kostas Tournas, Themis Adamantidis, Kaiti Garbi, Ilias Klonaridis, Eirni Merkouri, Alexia, Zafiris Melas, Katerina Korou, Stamatis Kokotas, Dimitris Kokotas, Poly Panou, Giorgos Margaritis, Giannis Dounias, Giannis Ploutarxos, Eleni Tsaligopoulou, Alexandros Xatzis,Trifono and many more. Some soloists that he has worked along side include Stelios Zafeiriou, Thymios Stouraitis, Iordanis Tsomidis, Manolis Karantinis, Panagiotis Stergiou, Dimitris Bizas, Christos Konstantinou.
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.