American influence isn't something new in Greek music; in the 1960s, Greek artists were being influenced by American pop and rock. Nonetheless, some Greek artists are still coming up with fresh and interesting things to do with their American influences. A perfect example is Kristi Stassinopoulou, whose second album, Echotropia, combines Greek rembetika with everything from psychedelic rock (the Jefferson Airplane and the Doors are obvious influences) to funk, folk, and electronica. The Athens native has also been influenced by Turkish and Arabic music, which isn't surprising because Greek music has a lot in common with Middle Eastern forms. On this CD, the saz (a traditional Turkish string instrument) is right at home with electric rock guitar and funky electric bass. Most of the songs were co-written by Stassinopoulou, although the soulful vocalist also puts her spin on the traditional Persian/Iranian song "Majnoun." At times, Echotropia reminds listeners of Annabouboula, an adventurous Greek-American trio that fused Greek music with rock, dance-pop, and funk in the late '80s/early '90s. In fact, one of the people Stassinopoulou thanks in the credits is Annabouboula guitarist George Sempepos. But even though there are parallels between Echotropia and Annabouboula's experimentation, Stassinopoulou never sounds like she's emulating Annabouboula or anyone else. This excellent CD demonstrates that Stassinopoulou is a soulful explorer in her own right.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson