Vivi Gkeka – The Greek and Carribean Mandolin Sound

Vivi Gkeka (or Vivi Geka) is a mandolin player from Greece. I have recently discovered her videos on youtube.

The recent videos with Vivi Gkeka have been produced together with the pianist Dr. George Roberts. Let’s start with one of the Carribean Music Videos – Sly Mongoose

Working with Vivi, my Athenian Mandolin collaborator on this piece, further reinforced to me that music and playing has an accent. Though she easily got the notes correctly, to get the Caribbean intonation we had to get her dancing on the chair in rhythm. And even after that you could sometimes hear her Greek heritage coming through.

Sly Mongoose, Caribbean music for Mandolin and Piano. Musical Musings by Dr. George Roberts

Vivi Gkeka has sent me the following short CV:

Vivi was born in Athens, Greece. She studied theory of music, piano, classic guitar and classical singing at the Greek Conservatory. She has graduated in singing and harmony.

Studied classic mandolin, participated for years in mandolin orchestra and took a Diploma at the Eratio Conservatory. She has collaborated with prominent Greek composers and performers in concerts in Greece and abroad as well.

She collaborates with the Orchestra of Greek National Opera, the State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, Camerata, the Symphonic Orchestra of Volos, the Opera of Monte Carlo, the Symphonic Orchestra of ERT, the Athens State Orchestra and others.

She has many participations in the Greek discography, in movies and theatrical plays. She was a permanent member of the “Orchestra of Colors” from its establishment and of the Municipal Athenian Mandolinata, until their dismantle.

She is a permanent member of the orchestra “M. Hadjidakis” and permanent partner of the singer and composer Nena Venetsanou.

On 2004 with Stella Kypraiou they released the CD “Love Polirythmia” with 21 melodies of Manos Hadjidakis for guitar and mandolin.

Vivi has been involved in composition and improvisation, performing in various musical scenes in Greece, she is teaching the classic mandolin and theory of music and she is doing musical training in young children.

She has bachelor degree from the Hellenic open University in Humanities Studies and specializes in European Civilization.

The last years she is living in the Caribbean with her family and she has the opportunity to study and play traditional music of the area.

CV by Vivi Gkeka

In the past Vivi Gkeka has played Greek music and classical mandolin music in a mixed ensemble.

This is a song by Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis.

Νυχτερινός Περίπατος – Nyhterinos Peripatos

Manos Hadjidakis-Μάνος Χατζιδάκις Performed by ” opou gamma, ro ” Mandolin: Vivi Gkeka Cello: Christina Kolovou Base: Vaggelis Zografos Piano: George Diamantopoulos Arranged by George Diamantopoulos

The videos with Dr. George Roberts and Vivi Gkeka are great examples how well piano and mandolin can be played together. There are only few mandolin players who do regularly play together with a piano. In the time around 1900 when the mandolin was very popular in Europe many pieces for mandolin and piano have been composed and pblished, and maybe many interesting pieces could be discovered.

I have compiled my favorite Videos with Vivi Gkeka in the following Playlist.

The next video has been recorded together with the guitarist George Diamantopoulos, a quartet recorded in a multi track video: Vivi Gkeka – Mandolin, Mandola George Diamantopoulos – Guitar, Mandola

Pavane, Op 50
YOU RAISE ME UP for steel pan, piano and mandolin with KHAN CORDICE and VIVI GKEKA
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