Various Artists

Music of the Balkans, Vol. 3: Greece, 1922-1950

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This third volume of songs and dances from the Balkans focuses on Greek recordings from 1922-1950. Unavoidable, due to the era of the recordings, is the record crackle and hiss, which is rather pronounced on some tracks. Regardless, this is a gem for fans of early world music recordings. Accompanying the disc is a booklet with information on each of the songs in both Greek and English. Music of the Balkans, Vol. 3: Greece, 1922-1950 starts off with two Macedonian instrumentals. The first, entitled "Broufas" (1928), is performed by a brass band with cornet player and lead George Kassaras, and the second is a 1930 solo piece named after the instrument it is played on, the gaida (a form of bagpipe). Next come three selections from the Epirus region: "Turtle Dove" (1937), with music by the Epirot Ensemble and vocal a cappella sections sung by the Five Glyniotes; then an instrumental dance number featuring the virtuosic clarinet of Kitsos Harisiadis; and, finally, a free rhythm "Dirge" (1928) with evocative soloing by violinist Alexis Zoubas, who is accompanied by a bowed bass drone. These songs are followed by two dances from Thessaly, with clarinetists Athanasios Lavidas and Nikos Karakostas, respectively. The latter is also heard on the next track, "Elenio" (1936), which is sung by George Papasideris. "The Doe" (1933) comes next, sung by Rosa Eskenazy. The last of these three songs from Southern Central Greece returns to the instrumental format with wild clarinet solos from Yannis Kyriakatis. Next comes one song each from the Ionian and Aegean Islands. "Girl From Cefallonia" (1928) is performed by a mandolin and guitar ensemble, while the "Syrtos Dance From Icaria" (1950) is a duet of vocals by A. Zebillas and tsambouna player I. Maillis. Two '30s vocal numbers from lute player Ioannis Bernidakis (aka Ioannis Baxevanis) represent Crete, followed by a couple of selections from Smyrna, "Ballos Dance From Smyrna" (1922) (with singer Marika Papaghika) and "Syrtos Dance From Bournova" (1937). Finishing off this collection of historical music is a 1939 recording of singer Nikos Papavramidis, who accompanies himself on Pontic lyre, followed by an instrumental dance of Constantinople, "Hassapiko" (1935).

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