Tag: Greece

stringed instruments

The Cretan Laouto – A Big and Great Sounding…

I have discovered the Cretan Laouto some time ago and have written the following post in my German blog. I thought that I should also make a version in English about this interesting instrument from Greece.

The Cretan Laouto has 4 double strings, the three lower strings are tuned in octaves, the highest strings are tuned in unison. The tuning is similar to an octave mandolin in G – D – A – E, but the G string is tuned one octave higher than expected. So the tuning goes down from G to D, than up to A (on whole tone above the G), and up again to the E.

The form of the Cretan Laouto is similar to a mandocello with a rather big body. The scale is rather long, up to 75 cm, the strings are quite light an thin. The sound of the Cretan Laouto resemles a little bit the bouzouki, a twelve string guitar or a cittern.

The Cretan Laouto is played with a feather, this can be seen in some of the videos.

Das Instrument wird als Soloinstrument oder zur Begleitung der kretischen Lyra oder zum Gesang verwendet.

The instrument is used as a solo instrument, but also to accompany the Cretan Lyra or songs.

This is a short solo piece played with Cretan Laouto and guitar. This piece can also be played on a mandolin:

The next video shows a quartet with Cretan Laouto and also with a mandolin:

Ta Agria Poulia (The Wild Birds) – ΤΑ ΑΓΡΙΑ ΠΟΥΛΙΑ-ΒΑΣΙΛΗΣ ΣΚΟΥΛΑΣ

by Vasilis Skoulas.

A famous player of the Cretan Lauto is Mihalis Tsouganakis. He was born in Belgium, but moved back to Creta with his family when he was achild. There are many videos with Mihalis Tsouganakis.

Tsouganakis plays a kind of world music based on the Greek tradition. He uses this instrument in a very modern and unusual way as can be seen in the following video:

Michalis Tzouganakis Solo (Pali-Pali)

Michalis Tzouganakis performing “Pali-pali” at a concert organised for the celebration of the 80th birthday of Mikis Theodorakis.

Additional information

Discussion in the Mandolin Cafe about the Cretan Laouto: MandolinCafe

There I have found the following link to a Description of the Lauto in English

Playlist Cretan Lauto

mandolin orchestra

Mandolins in Greece – The Attika Plucked String Orchestra

Street of Dreams M. Hadjidakis, ATTIKA Plucked String Orchestra

Performed by ATTIKA Sextet at “Syn kai Plin” television music magazine


Mandolin: Aris Dimitriadis, Giannis Goumenakis
Mandola alto: Giorgos Goumenakis
Mandola tenore: Panayiotis Lampropoulos
Guitar: Michalis Sidiropoulos
Piano: Dimitris Giannis

Description of the Attika Plucked String Orchestra from  Homepage:

The Orchestra was founded in 1993 by Aris Dimitriadis, its Artistic Director. Since 1997 it operates under the hospices of the non-profit music association Erato.

Aris Dimitriadis has been working with Mandolin Orchestras for 20+ years. As a Mandolin soloist he has collaborated with many classical music groups and orchestras both in Greece and abroad. He created Attika to fill a quality gap in the contemporary Greek Mandolin scene by building on a long tradition of excellence and professionalism, which in the past made Greek orchestras renowned internationally.

Attika’s main objective is to expand the appeal of Mandolin music internationally. With a well-researched repertoire, Attika is following on the steps of the great Italian and French orchestras of this genre.

Bolero, R. Calace, ATTIKA Plucked String Orchestra

H. Purcell Round O in Re Minor, ATTIKA Plucked String Orchestra

More Information about the Attika Plucked String Orchestra

youtube channel of the Attika Plucked String Orchestra: http://www.youtube.com/user/attikaorchestra

Homepage of the Attika Plucked String Orchestra: http://www.attikaorchestra.gr/

More posts about Greece: http://www.mandoisland.com/index.php?s=greece


Kostas Grigoreas – In the Greek Mode – Compositions…

Kostas Grigoreas is a guitarist from Greece who has made many of his recordings available at youtube. In many of the videosGrigoreas plays composition for the guitar by Greek composers. Among others he plays pieces by Dimitri Fampas, Manos Hadjidakis, Akos Petik and Kyriakos Tzorzinakis.

But Grigoreas has also recorded a CD with his own compositions – here is video with two pieces from this CD:

Kostas Grigoreas – “IN THE GREEK MODE” [AUDIO]

Artist: Kostas Grigoreas
Album: Guitar in the Greek Mode
Composer: Kostas Grigoreas

Manos Hadjidakis

I have already presented Manos Hadjidakis with some of his works like Giocondas Smile and Refelctions. Kostas Grigoreas has recorded a CD with works by Hadjidakis – The Guitar Notebook of Manos Hadjidakis”. This is the guitar version of one of my favorite Hadjidakis songs – Kemal:

Grigoreas plays Hadjidakis: “Kemal”

Kostas Grigoreas (classical guitar). Greek Television live recital. From album “The Guitar Notebook of Manos Hadjidakis” (Transcriptions for guitar by T. Karakatsanis)

Kyriakos Tzortzinakis

Kyriakos Tzortzinakis has studier classical guitar with Dimitri Fampas and has composed many pieces for the guitar. He is one of the most important Greek guitar composers.

Kyriakos Tzortzinakis (1950-1989) was one of Greece’s most important guitar composers.
Born in Athens, he graduated from the National Conservatory with a Diploma in classical guitar (class of Dimitris Fampas), and at the same time studied architecture in Florence.

In a brief lifetime, he wrote several works for one and two guitars, for flute and guitar, for piano etc. as well as a concerto for guitar and orchestra.

I have selected 4 Greek Images as an example:

Grigoreas plays Tzortzinakis’ “4 Greek Images”

from cd “Grigoreas plays Tzortzinakis”(buy at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kostasgrigor… )
Greek Television recital (1st tv performance of Kyriakos Tzortzinakis’ solo guitar music). Guitar by Kostas Grigoreas.

You can find more videos with works by Kyriakos Tzortzinakis on a special myspace page (see below).

Additonal Information

Homepage Kostas Grigoreas: http://grigoreas.gr/en/

youtube channel Kostas Grigoreas: http://www.youtube.com/kostasgrigoreas

Wikipedia about Dimitri Fampas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimitri_Fampas

Myspace Seite for Kyriakos Tzortzinakis: http://www.myspace.com/kyriakostzortzinakis

favorite tunes

New York Rock & Roll Ensemble – Reflections –…

After I have listened to Giocondas Smile by Manos Hadjidakis I want to present another famous work by this composer.

In the late 1960s Hadjidakis lived in New York and made a recording of some of his compositions with a group named the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble. This LP was titled Reflections and was released in 1970.

All the songs from this album are available as youtube videos now. I have listened to this album now several times, and I like it very much. Especially one song sticks to my mind, the song Kemal:

New York Rock & Roll Ensemble (Manos Hadjidakis) – Kemal

KEMAL – This is the story of foolish Prince Bass Fiddle and wise Jerry Kemal.
As you remember, last time, the Prince was found without a dime on the Ponce Valdez while Jerry
watched from a tree… (complete text can be found with the video)

More than 20 years after the release of this album Nikos Gatsos has translated the songs to the Greek language, and Aliki Kayaloglou has made a greek version of this Album.

I have selected a live recording of Kemal – but you can find some videos with the recorde version too:

Kemal – Hadjidakis/Reflections – Aliki Kayaloglou Live at Herodes Atticus Theater

Aliki Kagialoglou sings Kemal from her album with Manos Hadjidakis Reflections 1993, words by Nikos Gatsos. Live from her concert on October the 3rd 2008 at Herodion Athens.
Piano: Frixos Mortzos

The Greek indy group Raining Pleasure has recorded another version of this music in 2005. And again this is a very interesting recording. I have again selected a version of Kemal, a nice video with the english text of the story. You can very good hear the mandolin that was used in this song by Rainig Pleasure. Read more “New York Rock & Roll Ensemble – Reflections – Manos Hadjidakis – Kemal”