Monday, December 31, 2012

Jazz Standards

George Mouzakis was a composer, conductor and trumpet player.
He formed his own orchestra in 1940 and composed more than 2500 songs.
Mouzakis marked his era with his deep jazz feeling and knowledge.
His songs were sang and covered by some of the best male and female singers of the time.
Here are two classic jazz tunes...

Sou Sfyrizo - Terry Hrisos

Alimono se Sena - Zozo Sapountzaki

Mimis Plessas (see older posts) is the composer who maintained two distinct, parallel and equally important careers. As a composer of Greek popular music and as a jazz composer and pianist. When we are talking about Greek vocal jazz standard we are talking about this…

An s'arnitho Agapi mou - Tzeni Vanou

Pires Pia ta Matia Sou - Zoitsa Kouroukli 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Interpretations of Rembetico

Babis Papadopoulos has a long history as a guitarist in the local scene. Initially as guitarist of Trypes and then as Thanasis Papakonstantinou guitarist in Laikedelika, Babis has marked a whole era with his electric guitar riffs.
In his second solo album, Ap’ti Spilia tou Drakou (From Draco’s Cave) of 2010, he uses an acoustic quartet (guitar, bass, bouzouki, piano) to re-interpret some classic rembetico standards.

Here’s Marcos Vamvakaris song O Sinahis

Vinicio Capossela provides his own interpretation of Rembetico in his 2012 album Rebetiko Gymnastas.
13 songs (rembetico covers and originals) which keep the basic rhythmic patterns of rembetico but with a fresh sound which constitute a really contemporary pop listening.
The arrangements belong to Pappos, Massalas, Chatziiordanou who also contribute playing bouzouki, baglama and accordion accordingly as members of the band which includes Greek players while Kaiti Dali interprets Misirlou.

Here’s Marcos Vamvakaris classic composition Fragosyriani, with Italian lyrics by Capossela, re-named as Contratto per  Karelias

D. Charles Speer, aka David Charles Shuford, member of No Neck Blues, Enos Slaughter, Egypt is the Magic and others, decided to deep dive into the Greek hasiklidika rembetica (songs about the effects of hashish) in his 2011 album Αργιλέδες (Arghiledes).
D. Charles Speer played all the instruments, overdubbed and produced the album which ranges from close to original cover to distorted, overdubbed, psychedelic interpretations of rembetica or even original compositions. 

Here’s Harmanis, a song which originates from the same titled song of Markos Vamvakaris, to become a truly psychedelic folk, eight minutes and a half trip.

And as the main reference here is Markos Vamvakaris let’s not forget Tom Kaza’s project XITZAZ and their interpretation of Fragosyriani presented in older post here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Crowd Funding

...or else “power to the people”.  Where the audience decides which artists to support and the artists are sharing their vision and test it against all potential audiences.

This kind of artistic democracy is not entirely new as a concept. In New Orleans for example there are bars with no entrance fee for live gigs. Nor the price of drinks is higher when there are lives. What they do instead, the band has a bucket in front of them and the better they play the more money people throw in that bucket. That’s how they get paid.

Same thing happens in Greek folk festivities. The artists get paid by the audience based on how good they are. The better, the most well paid. People put money in their pockets while they play and at the end the band leader shares the money with the rest of the band.
So this, tested through the ages, technique is adapted to the online community and here we have 2 examples coming from Greece.

2L8 is a Greek collective  with 3 albums (or better say projects) released up to now. Their 3rd one, New Battles Without Honor and Humanity, was released on December 2011 and was fully financed by the band’s fans and whoever believed in their vision, through Music Pledge.

The idea is simple: the artist explains the project they have in mind and ask for a specific amount of money. The fund has to be raised within a specific timeframe.

And 2L8 paid them back in full with more than 1 ½ hours of great music packed with a 48 pages booklet with lyrics, info and a comic.
The music, split in 2 cd’s/sections (Sunlight, Moonlight) has the raw and melodic elements of post-rock (brings in mind dEUS) while the lyrics comment on contemporary social and political issues such as social freedom, equal rights, the role of individual in sustainable growth, love and relationship and the need for activism.
In short the message is fight for what you want to achieve and judging from the album itself and the way it was financed, 2L8 fought well!

You can buy or download for free the album from 2L8 site here!

Another crowd funding project is the graphic novel Elysium Online, by Ilias Kyriazis.

Elysium is a full color, 96 page graphic novel, that is half-finished and the funding process is still open on Indiegogo.

Copying from the site: “The story is about Elysium, a revolutionary social network. By logging in you’ll be able to interact with your deceased loved ones who now exist in a digital afterlife. It’s October 2021 and everyone is eagerly anticipating its official release.

What no one imagines is that the Elysium dead hate us. Just for being alive. And they’re biding their time until they get online. The moment they do, they’ll take over the internet and use anything with net access, from cars to aircraft carriers to wipe out the living.”

Ilias Kyriazis is no new to comics world. Since 2001 he has created some very successful  books in Greece (Manifesto, Blood Opera, Blast), he collaborated with Scott Lobdell (comic writer for Marvel and DC Comics), wrote and drew the graphic novel Falling for Lionheart for IDW and created Melody for DC/Zuda that was nominated for a LULU award.

Your chance to support his new project and get the book and other collectable material here:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Electricity - Part 2

In Trance 95 is one of the best Greek electro bands. The duo (Alex Machairas, Nik Veliotis) was formed in Athens in 1988. The band had a few EPs released during late 80s until their first full album, Code Of Obsession (The Trance Dance Alternatives Vol. 1) was released in 1990.
A few EPs followed until the band underwent some changes,split and reformed back in 2010 when they opened for Recoil live in Athens. New York label Minimal Wave has released a compilation of In Trance 95 featuring early demos re-edited and also prepares for a new release with new material from the group.

In Trance 95 - Desire to Desire (from their debut single Desire to Desire/Brazilia, 1988)

Stereo Nova (Konstantinos Beta, Mikael Delta and Antonis P) were formed in Athens by late 80s and remained active until late 90s. With their second album (Discolata, 1993) they managed to take their music to a wider audience and from then on became the most successful local electro band. They released 7 albums and several singles and experimented with techno, house, ambient and drum n base.

Stereo Nova – TV O (from Telson, 1996)

Mikael Delta, founding member of Stereo Nova, followed a very interesting and successful, international solo career after Stereo Nova split.
Since 1999 he has released 11 solo albums, has written several scores for films and the theater.

Mikael Delta - Forever you said (from Deep Inside album, 2004)

Keep Shelly in Athens (RΠЯ, Sarah P)is the duo from Athens which, with only 4 songs released on MySpace, made it to make a worldwide buzz through the net.
Their music is often describe as “chillwave”.
After a couple of unofficial EP releases the band released their first official double EP In Love with Dust – Our Own Dream in 2012.

Keep Shelly in Athens - Our Own Dream (from double EP In Love with Dust - Our Own Dream, 2012)

Sundayman aka Kyriakos Moustakas, born in Athens, is a composer and producer active in discography since 1999. Under the name Sundayman he has released 2 albums, Outerland (2009) and Retronome (2012). His downtempo electronica is influenced by Kraftwerk, New Order, Pink Floyd, Vangelis and this shows (in a very positive way) not only in his first album which is a collection of 10 years work, but mainly in Retronome where the above influences seem so well digested into a personal, distinctive sound.

Sundayman – Ready For You (from Retronome album, 2012)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Electricity - Part 1

This September’s issue of MOJO magazine is dedicated to electronic music. It is striking the absence of any reference on Vangelis contribution to electronic music when Albedo 0.39 (1975), Spiral (1977), Opera Sauvage (1979), just to name a few, are considered among the most representative and influential electronic albums.
Anyway this gives us the chance to write a bit about Greek electronic music.

Stavros Logaridis has composed in 1974 the soundtrack for Kostas Ferris movie Fonissa.
The two have already collaborated before in Akritas album where Ferris has written the lyrics.
Two tracks from Fonissa soundtrack were included in 1995’s Logaridis compilation Mousiki gia Ikona (Music for Image).

Stavros Logaridis – V.22150 G.G.  (from Mousiki gia Ikona, 1995)

Kostas Ganossellis is a keyboard player, orchestrator and composer who has collaborated with many Greek artists.
In 1980 he released his album Synthesis relying extensively on synthesizer and presenting his progressive roots.

Kostas Ganossellis – 5/4 (from Synthesis album, 1980)

As we have already presented Vangelis work in more than one posts, we chose to represent him here with a track from one of his most underestimated albums.
Perceived and composed earlier, See You Later was released in 1980 and is one of the electronic music best kept secrets

Vangelis – Multi Track Suggestion (from See You Later album, 1980)

Dimitris Papadimitriou is a well known Greek composer.
He has composed music for films, for the theatre, Greek popular music, symphonic works, concertos for piano, violin etc.
In 1981 he released the electronic Topia (Landscapes).

Dimitris Papadimitriou – Day One (from Topia album, 1981)

Proxies is a synth-pop band from Thessaloniki.
Their sound reminds early Depeche Mode and OMD.
They have released 5 albums and disbanded in the 90s.
Their first album Groovin’ Over Beirut was released in 1983.

Proxies – Groovin’ Over Beirut (from Groovin’ Over Beirut album, 1983)

Makis Prekkas released this weird album in 1985.
Experimental using reverse tapes, electronic sounds it reminds somehow My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Makis Prekkas – T244 (from Recording Is An Art album, 1985)

Lena Platonos is the composer who managed successfully to tie electronic music and Greek language (and be experimental on both) back in the 80s.
The composer remains active until today and is often mentioned as major influence by contemporary electro artists. 

 Lena Platonos – H Lathos Agapi (from Maskes Iliou album, 1984)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jazz Traces

There are times that the Greek popular style is touched by an inspired orchestrator and then a new blend is produced – let’s put “new” into brackets. What I’m talking about is the jazz elements that are sometimes wisely integrated into the popular form. The outcome is something like this…

Kostas Kafasis was a Greek popular singer and actor. He died in 2010.
The song Adio Gia Mas (Goodbye to us) comes from his album Pos Na Fygo (How to Leave) from 1979. The song is credited to Tzini and M. Karra and the orchestration to D. Milios. Check the jazz break after 1:30

Kostas Kafasis - Adio gia mas (1979)

Kaiti Dali has a long history in Greek popular music. Spent several years in Canada and US and came back to Greece in 1971. She collaborated with many great composers for Greek popular music, made a come back through here live performances and the collaboration with Stavros Xarhakos and recently contributed to Vinicio Capossela latest album.

Me Htypoun Katastitha (They Hit Me Right In The Chest) comes from her album Anazito (I’m Looking for) from 1979 (again). The song is written by Th. Polykandioris. By the way D. Milios (mentioned above) also contribute to this album as a composer in 5 songs. Not sure if he lent a hand in orchestration too.
Check how a typical tsifteteli becomes a jazz fusion with horns, trumpet soli and flute after 1:10

Kaiti Dali - Me htypoun katastitha (1979)

John Tikis, real name John Tekes, was born in Athens and moved to Australia at the age of 14. There he started his career as a singer with his group John Tikis & The Playboys. He won gold records and toured all over the world gaining a reputation of a great international performer until 1974 when he returned to Greece.
There he recorded 15 albums, performed with top musicians and then back to Australia, in 1981, where he hosted a TV show for Channel 10 named Let's Go Greek, Endaxi!

Ekana Peiramata (I’ve Made Experiments) comes from his 1977 album Borei Na Efyga (I Might Have Left). The song belongs to M. Karras (again) who’s also responsible for the orchestration and K. Nitsos

John Tikis - Ekana peiramata (1977)

Friday, July 27, 2012

News and Gifts from Nowhere

The Last Drive
We have already discussed about the unique ability of The Last Drive to keep changing their sound and evolve their music.
From the early garage days to today’s psychedelic sound the band never sounded outdated.
This month the Last Drive released an EP with 4 new songs: News from Nowhere
Let it go, Butterfly 69 and Black rain sound like if Ron Asheton plays lead guitar with the Clash of the London Calling era. The 4th one, Child of the sky, is a nice rock psychedelic ballad.

Earlier this year another pleasant surprise hit the fans of the Last Drive family. The group of Karanikolas, (guitars and vocals on The Last Drive) Blackmail, released a new album after more than 10 years. Although the band members remained the same (with the addition of a piano/keyboard player), they changed their name BLML (a shortcut of Blackmail) and released their album The Gift, marking a significant shift in gears and sound but not in inspiration.

BLML offer a true Gift: 11 new compositions orchestrated with guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and viola. The changes are obvious and welcomed: the compositions are generally slower compared to the Blackmail albums, which provide a “breathing space” for the musicians  and the voice of Karanikolas. There are changes in tempos and dynamics which allow for nice combinations (for example the sharp voice of Karanikolas over a sweet piano arrangement before guitars shift gears and lead to a dynamic crescendo)
The vinyl was sold out within the first weeks and re-released.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Katerina Polemi has what we call Duende. It is present in her live shows, it’s also present in her recordings.
Born in London but raised between Greece and Brazil, Katerina, got something of the extroversion of both worlds and implanted it in her music and performance.

Her natural talent is backed up by some very good studies at the Berklee College of Music that, I guess, provided the professional perspective and helped her shape the ideas and energy into some great swing/gypsy jazz music.

In 2011 she released her first album with original compositions:  
Spread the Music Not the Name


The Speakeasies Swing Band: The band that took its name of the Speakeasies movement of 1920s originated in Thessaloniki in 2010. Since then they participated in many Lindy Hop Greece events and festivals.

They count 8 members playing electric and acoustic guitar, double bass, piano, clarinet, sax, violin and drums providing a very full swing sound with nice instrumentation and featuring a very good female vocalist.

Their first EP, Bathtub Gin, is to be released by end of July 2012 by Liquid Bass Records.

Check this great song and the equally good video clip: Black Swamp Village


Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Groove

Another bunch of songs from the "usual suspects", artists that were related with one way or another with Aphrodite’s Child and have been already presented on previous posts. The common element here is their groovy, funky, soul sound.

Harry Chalkitis left his footprint on the late 70s euro-disco arena with his disco project Queen Samantha. Their successful album Queen Samantha II (1979) was followed by a solo Chalkitis album, Tiger in The Rain a year later (1980) in the same euro-disco style. The album was released again in 1981 under another title (So Long) with exactly the same songs of Tiger in The Rain plus a maxi version of So Long.

Tiger in The Rain (M. Swirid, M. Chalkitis, H. Chalkitis) stands out as a super funky track

A few years earlier (1974) he released his (first?) 7” Time is Over, another super groovy track, written by M. Sundahl / M. Swirid / A. Koulouris.

Artemios (Demis) Ventouris Roussos, member of The Idols, We Five and Aphrodite’s Child, has quite a few groovy moments in his solo career. His collaboration with Alec R. Constandinos in 1975 left a very successful album, Souvenirs including the great Midnight is the Time I Need You (A. Koulouris - R. Costandinos).

The album was re-released in 1998 with the addition of 6 more tracks that were left out of the original release.
Among them The Secret in Her Eyes, a composition of R. Constandinos and S. Vlavianos

In 1978 Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren wrote the disco anthem I Will Survive for Gloria Gaynor. The same year they also wrote for Demis Roussos the disco track L.O.V.E. Got A Hold On Me which was released as a single and was included in Demis Roussos album of 1978.

Finally a disco/funky track from Dimitri (Tambossis).
You Are A Sinner (1977) was released as a b-side to Dimitri's single I Am.
You're A Sinner is written by S. Vlavianos / P. Mieucens / S. Woods.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Athenian Project

Priamos Morakis has carefully selected a set of 50s and 60s standards of what is called “elafro” song (similar to chanson and bel canto) and transformed them into today’s jazz tunes.

The Athenian Project is an 11-track album (7 songs penned by his father, the famous composer Takis Morakis, 1 song by Kostas Kapnisis, 1 by Priamos Morakis, 1 by Penelope Tzanetaki and Henri Betti’s C’est si bon).

The album features some of the best Greek, jazz musicians:  Priamos Morakis (guitar), Dimitris Kalantzis (piano), Pericles Trivolis (bass), Filippos Papas (saxes and flute), Socratis Ganiaris (percussion), Christos Rafailides (vibes), Manos Loutas (bass), Leandros Fratnik (drums), Dimitris Kakavoulis (drums).
Also featuring a string quartet and of course the beautiful voice of Penelope Tzanetaki.
The Boy and the Dolphin, Takis Morakis most famous song, opens the album and is also featured in its Greek version, Ti Einai Afto Pou To Lene Agapi (What’s this thing called love).
Another 50s song by Takis Morakis, Tha s’ Agapo (I Will Love You) is recorded for the first time on this record.

Priamos Morakis Quintet - Tha s' Agapo (I Will Love You)

You can buy the album here 
Priamos Morakis page (under construction):

Monday, May 28, 2012


What happens when someone gets overexposed to the blended poisonous geniuses of the Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and Julian Cope?

Well the only way to manage it is to lock himself at home and make sure the infection will have a permanent effect.

That’s the story of Sergios Voudris and The Voyage Limpid Sound.

Working all alone in his home studio he released his first album (Electronically Enhanced Dream, 2000) at the age of 21.
During the following years he recorded another 5 albums, none of which was released.
And then he formed a proper band and started preparing his 7th album (but 2nd released), The Voyage Limpid Sound Are Happy (2010).

The Voyage Limpid Sound - The Month of the Flowers (from Electronically Enhanced Dream, 2000)

The Voyage Limpid Sound - Design of a Pie (from unreleased album Little Personal Tragedies, 2004)

The Voyage Limpid Sound - Barberette's Summer Coif (unreleased)

The Voyage Limpid Sound - Shade (from The Voyage Limpid Sound Are Happy, 2010)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Into the Groove

Biri Biri

Biri Biri were formed back in 2003 when the 8 musicians first met in Crete. With references such as Tom Waits, James Brown, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Psarantonis, Bob Marley (to name a few) and instruments like bongos, shakers, darbouka, Chinese gong, Rudal heater (!!!!), trumpets, sax, guitars, bass and drums, they sure sound funky with a rock attitude. Their album Biri Biri was released in 2009 by Spinalonga.

Biri Biri - Doze 8

Dr. Vodkatini

They were formed by the end of the 90s. Their name comes from Vodka + Martini to show their cosmopolitan inclination that’s present in their music too.
Soul, jazz, latin and funk is nicely blended by the 10 good musicians to give an amusing and inspired dance album: Indulge In A Big Swig! (2007) by Prominence Recordings.Check.

Super Mario and the Exotic Watermelons

Super Mario and the Exotic Watermelons were formed in 2010 by dj Super Mario with an orientation towards funk, afro-beat and acid jazz.
They have released their first 7”, Santa Maria, in 2010 (amola kalimba records)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Cast-a-Blast is not just a record company. It’s a collective of dj’s, producers and musicians focusing on hip hop, lo-fi, jazz, funk, latin and dub.
Founded in 2006 and based in Athens, Cast-a-Blast crew aims at discovering, creating, producing some of the finest new beats.
The roster includes artists from many countries. On this post we'll focus on the 4 founders of Cast-a-Blast.

More artists, releases, news, downloads here:

Blend Mishkin

Driving force behind Cast-a-Blast, Blend is the co-founder and has produced many of its artists. Dj, producer and re-mixer he has been releasing music since 1997.
He has released a solo album for Sirius (Man Under Influence, 2005) plus two solo albums for Cast-a-Blast, Misplaced (2006), a fine blend of hip hop, funk, dub and Sudden Death (2009).

Blend – Smoke (from Misplaced, 2006)


Already active with the group Sugah Galore since 2004, she co-formed Cast-a-Blast in 2006 and released her first solo album, The Incredible/ The Invisible, in 2008.
She also contributed to other Cast-a-Blast releases as well as on Swing Shoes debut album.


Sugahspank! - Lost That Lovin' Feeling (from The Incredible/The Invisible, 2008)


 Dj, producer and co-founder of Cast-a-Blast, Palov formed the duet Palov and Mishkin (Blend) and released two albums: the compilation Backslam Extravaganza (2007) and Think Twice (2009).
He has also released a solo song, What's That, that was included in various nu-swing compilations.

 Palov and Mishkin - A Case of Amnesia (from Think Twice (2009)

Palov - What's That (from I Can Hear it Now compilation EP, 2010)

BNC (Bruises n Cuts)

The fourth co-founder arrived in Greece at the age of 10, coming from Dominican Republic. BNC music is fresh and groovy, mixing hip hop, latin sounds, dub and reggae.
He has released two solo albums on Cast-a-Blast, The Birth (2008) and Ruff, Rowdy & Unfocused (2010)

BNC ft MC Yinka - The Harder They Fall (from Ruff, Rowdy & Unfocused, 2010)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Inner Ear – The Pop Side

Inner Ear Records was created in 2007 in Patras. Their roster includes some of the best local artists and covers various musical styles from indie, to electronic, to pop, folk etc.
In 2010 they created another label, Exostis, to host the Greek-singing artists of their roster.

Nalyssa Green

In 2010 Nalyssa Green has self-released her album Barock, a blend of pop, folk and electronic forms, orchestrated with the use of theremin, guitar, handmade percussion, bass and keyboards.
Next year and as she is preparing her next release, Inner Ear released Barock in white vinyl.
More info about Nalyssa Green on her site (you can also download Barock for free):

Nalyssa Green - Indagattah (from Barock, 2010)

Evripidis and his Tragedies

Evripidis Sabatis started playing his piano and singing in Athens before moving to Barcelona where he formed his Tragedies. His music, based on piano but supported with many instruments and vocal harmonies, carries the sunshine of the Beach Boys and the fun of Housemartins while the lyrics deal with the small tragedies of everyday life. Full of humor and cynicism.

Evripidis and his Tragedies - Teeth (from his 2nd album A Healthy Dose of Pain, 2011)

Marietta Fafouti

Marietta Fafouti is also a piano player. She has worked on several films, documentaries, advertisements, musicals and released her first soundtrack of Loukia Rikaki film Hold Me. In 2006 she and some friends created the Art City, a website that aims to help artists to show and promote their work. In 2010 she released her first personal album Try a Little Romance.

Marietta Fafouti - Don't Stop (from Try a Little Romance, 2010)

Foivos Delivorias

Foivos Delivorias released his first album back in 1989 in Manos Hatzidakis label Sirius. He has released 5 albums since then with his latest being O Aoratos Anthropos (The Invisible Man). What is particular interesting with this album is the orchestration which is done by George Katsaros, Stamatis Stamatakis and Foivos Delivorias and give another –fresh- perspective to some of the most mature and beautiful songs Foivos has written.

Foivos Delivorias - Bolero (from The Invisible Man, 2011)


First it was Bolek and Lolek (a duo with the name inspired by the Polish cartoon). Bolek left so Lolek was left Alone (the title of his first solo album).
The album was released in 2009 and is a deeply lyrical one with the waltz being the leading element.
A dance for yourself, a dance without partner as he says…

Lolek - Have you Noticed (from Alone, 2009)

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