Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is That?

Today's post is about stories and story-tellers.
So once upon the time there was a story-teller called Paramythas (Story-teller). Paramythas (real name is Nikos Pilavios) has studied Drama in Greek National Theatre and London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. From 1978 to 1987 he held the most famous show for kids in the national TV, Paramythas. This was a combination of story telling from Nikos Pilavios and animation. The music was written by Greek composer Stamatis Spanoudakis.

Nikos Pilavios has been very active and still is. There is a great new website (paramythas) where he blogs but also posts new productions (!!!

Generations evolved and - like father like son - Konstantinos Pilavios followed the steps of his father to become the Story-teller of his era (the 2 of them have created a production company, MovieTeller to host the dream!).
Konstantinos works in Athens as a director of short movies and radio producer.

So here's "What is That?" Konstantinos' short movie from 2007. It's a 5 minute story for parents and children. Don't miss.

You can check his site for more info and videos.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Everything is made from dreams

This phrase of Tom Waits from his song Temptation best describes this special project. A live performance in Athens Music Hall, part of a series of concerts held in 1993 under the name “The Song”.
The specific album is a selection of songs from Elli Paspala’s concert, including compositions of local composer Stavros Tzouanakos, Vasilis Tsitsanis, George Andreou, Stamatis Kraounakis, Nikos Xydakis, Giannis Papaioanou but also foreign ones like David Byrne, Cole Porter, Tom Waits, Kurt Weill, Bill Withers, Henry Manchini and Bob Telson.

The musicians who accompanied Elli Paspala are some of the best local jazz players:
David Lynch (not the director): saxes, flute, percussion
Takis Farazis: piano, keyboards
Yiorgos Zachariou: keyboards, piano
Alexandros Paraskevopoulos: electric bass
Stephanos Logothetis: drums, vocals

Listen to The Ports (Ta Limania), a song of Vasilis Tsitsanis, in an inspired minimal arrangement.

And here’s a cover of Tom Waits Temptation

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

La Voce

Demetrio Stratos (or Efstratios Demetriou) is one of a kind!
Born in 1945 in Egypt by Greek parents, he studies piano and accordion at Conservatoire National d'Athènes. At the age of 13 he moves to Cyprus and then Italy where he attends Politecnico di Milano University.
In 1972 he forms one of the most successful Italian progressive/jazz fusion bands, Area.

His vocal explorations gain him a worldwide status and collaborations include: Mogol, Lucio Battisti, John Cage, Andy Warhol and others.
With Area but also on his solo works he continues to explore the possibilities of vocal spectrum. He studies ethnomusicology, compared musicology, Asian chant, psychoanalysis and focuses on the relationship between vocal sound and the psyche and the limits of spoken language.

Here's Giro, Giro, Tondo from Area's LP of 1976 Maledetti

His voice and technique is studied and documented by professor Franco Ferrero who claims:

“Looking at what I have found during the emission, the vocal folds did not vibrate. The frequency (for a human voice) was very high (vocal folds do not succeed to exceed the frequencies of 1,000–1,200 Hz). In spite of that Demetrio obtained not one, but two not harmonic hisses, one that descended from 6,000 Hz, and the other that climbed from 3,000 Hz. Therefore, it could not be supposed that one hiss was the next harmonic of the other. I observed also the emission of three hisses simultaneously”

Check his "flautofonie" technique live in this video (demonstration starts at 2:25)

Demetrio Stratos is using overtone technique and other chant techniques to achieve diplophony, triplophony and even quadrophony, that is to produce multiple sounds simultaneously using the human voice.

Check his diplophonies and triplophonies in Investigazioni from Cantare La Voce album of 1978

He dies in New York in 1979, at the age of 34.

Demetrio Stratos web site

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trombone with Spice

A great old fashioned exotica cover for a superb latin-jazz album of 2000 released by trombonist Demetrios Kastaris and The Latin Jazz Coalition.
Demetrios Kastaris was born in Thessaloniki, Greece but moved to US before the age of 3. He lived in St. Louis where started his music lessons and became a fan of jazz. It was in New York where he was exposed to the poly-rhythmic sounds of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto etc.

He formed the Latin Jazz Coalition in 1986 aiming to explore the latin-jazz music with original compositions.
After 14 years of live performances the band developed their sound and released this first album Trombon Con Sazon in 2000 with great reviews by music press:

"A unique new and exciting sound in Latin jazz. The musical level is what I would expect from Tito Puente, Oscar D' Leon or Willie Rosario. One of the best new recordings that I've heard so far this year that combines traditional Latin music, Latin jazz, Brazilian music and Funk. An outstanding effort." Max Salazar, Senior Editor, Latin Beat Magazine 

Demetrios Kastaris and The Latin-Jazz Coalition - Trombon Con Sazon

more info

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aphrodite's Children

The great success the Aphrodite's Child had in the late sixties (especially in France), opened the doors to some great Greek musicians to make recordings with high production standards.
All ex-Aphrodite's Child members and collaborators followed their own careers with more or less success but always interesting.

In 1977 Loucas Sideras (Aphrodite's Child drummer), Dimitris Katakouzinos and Lakis Vlavianos (also member of Aphrodite's Child) release Metro Music Man as Ypsilon in France. The style is very close to the French pop/psychedelic of the era.

Metro Music Man - Ypsilon

Loucas Sideras after Aphrodite's Child split he released 2 solo albums: One Day in 1973 and Pax Spray in 1975.

Rock n Roller - Loucas Sideras

Chalkitis started his career in the 60s with the Playboys. He also participates in 666 album of Aphrodite's Child playing keyboards.
He follows an international solo career with success in many countries.
He also writes songs for Demis Roussos solo career and for several other Greek singers until today.

Ridin' Free Livin' Lonely - Harris Chalkitis (1974)(a big success in Latin America)

This is another project of Harris Chalkidis, Echoes of, released only a 45 in 1973.
A funky rhythm with great drum breaks.

Eches of Jerusalem - Echoes of

Another short-lived project of the time was Eros with members the touring members of Aphrodite's Child except Demis Roussos (Vangelis was in the studio preparing the 666 album), that is Loukas Sideras, Harris Chalkitis, Lakis Vlavianos and Dimitri Tambossis. The above released a 45 in 1970 with 2 songs: Rain Train and I Can See it. Singer is Dimitri Tambossis.

Rain Train - Eros

Argyris Koulouris, the rhythm guitar player of Aphrodite's Child, has also participated in solo Demis Roussos and Vangelis (see post for Dragon) albums but also formed or participated in several short lived projects including Magic Power, Solid Silver, Alpha Beta etc. He also participated in Inter-Groupie Psychotherapeutic Elastic Band (most probably another Vangelis project):

Floating - Inter-Groupie Psychotherapeutic Elastic Band (1970)

Last but not least the 2 most famous of the gang: Vangelis and Demis Roussos.
There is an older post for Vangelis and there will be another in the future.
So here's Demis Roussos single for French TV series Le Jeune Fabre.

Le Peintre des Etoiles - Demis Roussos (1972)

Friday, April 8, 2011


"Influenced by the very reverend trinity of Bach, Bjork and Klaus Nomi, May Roosevelt is an extraordinary thereminist, composer and producer with a sense for good, old-fashioned drama. Her classical arrangements will give you the shivers (or, at the very least, remind you of movies that gave you the shivers), with nods to early industrial or electronic music and a passing resemblance to the god of thunder behind a theremin. Like many people, she got into music via her first Casio synth as a kid. If her knack for otherworldly sounds is anything to go by, that Casio must have been possessed by some very restless and musical ghosts"

This is from May Roosevelt's site where you can find more info and buy her new album Haunted where she deals with 8 Greek dances.

Mass Extermination from May Roosevelt on Vimeo.

And here's a demonstration from the inventor of the magic instrument Leon Theremin.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The Swing Shoes

They released their first album in 2010 covering Muddy Waters, Stephan Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Greek traditionals and others in the gypsy swing style.
They play mostly instrumentals.

Check here Den se thelo pia (traditional) from their album Ladies & Gents Here's the Swing Shoes

Goodbye Blue Sky

Ex-Diafana Krina members (Tasos Mahas,drums-Nikos Bardis,guitars-Pantelis Rodostoglou,bass-Kiriakos Tsoukalas,guitars,keyboards) formed a new band playing original instrumental compositions. Goodbye Blue Sky have not released an album yet but you can find their songs here.

Here's To Dress a Shadow - Goodbye Blue Sky

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