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Evritiki Zygia
Ormenion

Teranga Beat
Review by Bruce Miller

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Teranga Beat, a label based in Dakar, Senegal, has focused most of its releases on unearthing lost recordings of performers from the Senegambia region. But because the label owner, Adamantios Kafetzis, is Greek, itís not at all surprising that he would eventually turn his attention closer to the Aegean Sea. Initially, there was a two-volume set featuring Kyriakos Sfetsasí mid-1970s Greek Fusion Orchestra. However, a visit to his fatherís homeland of Drama, Greece for a cousinís wedding allowed Kafetzis to make a much more current, but also ancient discovery.

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The band playing the pre-wedding feast was none other than Evritiki Zygia, and what he heard blew his mind. Here was a band predominantly playing ancient Thracian instruments- bagpipe, kaval, Thracian lyre, davul- but also including an organ and moog that not only underpinned the bandís sense of groove, but also helped pull their sound clearly into the present. And the results are passionate, hypnotic sculptures of breakneck melody and trance. Because Thrace occupies a large hunk of Southern Bulgaria, as well as extreme Northeast Greece and Northwest Turkey, itís not always easy to pin the style down. The radical time signatures and relentless melodic patterns of traditional Bulgaria loom large here. Yet, due to Stratis Passopoulosí flute-like kaval running parallel to Spyros Stratosí bagpipe, anyone versed in Irish traditional music will hear an obvious connection. The davul, a large parade drum smacked with a stick, is incorporated not unlike a bodhran might be as well.

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The ecstasy of desert-region Rajasthani piping echoes off of this music too. And itís not a surprise, knowing the bagpipes did in fact travel from India to the UK; of course, they stopped along the way. So, this is hardcore folk music as the pristine; itís a place at a crossroads of cultural travel, at once a unique Thracian tradition dating back thousands of years and a clear example of how musical cultures are connected over just as many kilometers. ďOrmenionĒ is the concept of honoring the old while using its components to paint the unblemished. Evritiki Zygia embody this term perfectly, causing a collective audience hypnosis, suggesting the unhinged, and landing on something musicians since Orpheus have been practicing all over the globe. - Bruce Miller

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