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Greeks & Indians
Vol. 3: Ta Ipirotika (Songs from Epirus)
Saraswati (www.saraswati.gr)

Greeks & Indians is a collaboration project between various classical Indian performers Rakesh Chaurasia (bamboo flute), Shubhankar Banerjee (tabla), Devashish Dey (vocals) and Greek traditional artists Petrolucas Chalkias (klarino, a slightly altered clarinet), Andonis Kyritsis (vocals) and Achilleus Chalkias (violin).

This CD comes hot on the heels of two others that were improvisations most of the same performers and is promised as the first in a series of collaborations that will match music from all parts of Greece with that of India.

The idea to begin from Epirus was a stroke of genius, as the two traditions merge so effortlessly that you swear they must have been united some time in the past. It is a theory that the informative and well-written booklet (only in Greek) tends to accept, even though it clearly notes that it is unsubstantiated.

The key to understanding the fluidity of this approach seem to be twofold. First, many traditional musicians in Greece are Roma, a people that initially arrived in Europe from India. Second, there are long-established merchant routes between the two countries that have been operating since the ancient times.

Most famous of the music of Epirus are its moiroloja (laments). The lyrics of the songs speak of love, death and immigration, subjects common to all and totally contemporary. They lend themselves beautifully to the slow, improvisational character of the raga and the results (recorded live in Athens in 2000 for this CD) are often mesmerizing.

Unlike many other fusion projects that end up sounding too predetermined and forced, this is a truly enjoyable, relaxed and improvisational experience. As with many successful fusions, it is an endeavor that at first sounds improbable but comes to feel natural. The end result is a work of exceptional beauty. - Nondas Kitsos

Listen to a short MP3 sample from the CD.


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