I have been fortunate to have collaborated with a number of musicians and organisations across a number of different forums. Among many, the Grand Union Orchestra has been a learning platform in which I had the opportunity to make music with a special group of people, Brian Abrahams and Claude Deppa to name two. As a freelance musician I had the chance to perform with a number of distinguished artists, most recently with Savinna Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico and with Michalis Siganidis' group. Below you can listen to audio samples of past performances with the Cyprus Big Band and my quartet as well as information about my project Cafe Balkan.
Cafe Balkan has its roots in earlier collaborations and long-standing friendships. The band was conceived in Thessaloniki (Greece) in the winter of 2012 and started taking shape at a reunion on stage at the Mansion at Axiothea street (Cyprus) in September 2013. In Cafe Balkan, the music acts as a means of communication between artists with common roots but different experiences.
Myself, Vasilis Kommatas and Glafkos Kontemeniotis build upon our musical traditions, whilst balancing between traditional and modern sounds along with our collaborators Ioannis Vafeas and Cahit Kutrafali. The band's quest for musical identity is based on improvisation (jazz or other), on deconstruction and maybe reconstruction of rebetiko songs and traditional melodies from Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, FYROM and Asia Minor. The result is a language made personal through traditional melodies from the Mediterranean and the Balkan Peninsula. Audio samples of our music and the band's gallery are found below. The first track is a traditional song from the geographical area of Macedonia, and be heard in villages in Greece, Bulgaria and Fyrom. The second track is a song from Asia Minor arranged by myself and Glafkos Kontemeniotis from and the third a traditional dance from the Northern part of Greece, again arrange by myself and Glafkos Kontemeniotis. All tracks are part of the recent digital release of our first record, which you can listen to and download for free from our page on band camp by clicking here.
A selection of recordings from earlier collaborations: first a snippet with the Cyprus big band and then in a quartet with Tasos Stylianou on el. guitar, Charis Ioannou on alto sax and Gabriel Karapatakis on el. bass