Pioneers of reinvented folk, Kristi and Stathis remix traditional demotika songs to reflect their own experiences of urban life in Greece. A previous release by the acclaimed duo topped the World Music Chart for five months, and they are once again set to shake up the scene with Greekadelia: this is Greek folk as it has never been heard before.
The invented term 'Greekadelia'perfectly captures the far-out spirit of this album. First, of course, Kristi and Stathis are both Greek and draw their central artistic inspiration from their homeland. Second, the pun on 'psychedelia' relates to the duo's ability to create music that shape-shifts, twisting and turning their listeners' expectations, and plunging them deep into a new world of expression.
Their head-turning approach of playing old demotika songs, mixed with quirky samples, Kristi's vocals, a traditional Greek lauto, an Indian harmonium and various frame drums, all underpinned by live looping, is sacrilege to some conservatives on the folk scene. Undeterred, Kristi and Stathis are keen to break away from the preservationists and explore something fresh and, importantly, resolutely Greek.
The opening track on the album, 'Matia San Kai Ta Dika Sou', begins with a sampled recording of a captain announcing his boat's arrival at an island. With this first track, Kristi and Stathis launch their musical voyage through Greece, each track taken from a different island or region of the country. The haunting sailor's song 'Anamesa Nissirou' is from the Dodecanese Islands. The song tells of a ship in dangerous waters and of the crew's prayers for help. Kristi's vocals leap and linger on mournful phrases, while Stathis' lauto loops slow, resigned phrases. 'Halassia Mou' is a song from the north western region of Epirus, the speaker yearns for their absent beloved: 'My blue-eyed one, you've been away for so many years.' The music is meditative, with a low drone anchored below a gentle, rippling interplay between lauto and percussion. 'To Ponemeno Stithos Mou' tells of a pain, 'because my heart weeps within'. Such strong words are matched by dramatic musical gesture - we hear a pounding frame drum, accented strums on the lauto, deep brooding harmonium chords and Kristi's pained vocal sung in high range.
Kristi and Stathis decided to record this album as a duo in order to retain the gentle intimacy of their live performances. With minimal instrumentation Kristi and Stathis carve out a unique soundscape, and present their own truly original, and entirely beautiful, take on the folk music of Greece.