Yiota Vei


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Labels that work hard and tirelessly to provide top-notch liner notes deserve to be praised, and it's obvious that Music Box International (a Greek company based in Athens) worked especially hard when assembling Paralogs. This collection of Byzantine folk songs, most of them ballads, contains not only the lyrics printed in Greek, but also English and French translations of the material. An expressive and charming Greek singer with an impressive range, Yiota Vei favors a highly traditional approach (as opposed to more modern Greek pop and bouzouki music) on "The Slave," "For the One That Was Betrayed," "The Looter's Song" and other Byzantine classics. These haunting songs call for a modal style of playing, which is why one will notice the similarities between a Mediterranean effort like Paralogs and the music of the Middle East, India and North Africa. (Modal playing is also the approach that jazz legend John Coltrane favored in the 1960s.) The English translations of the lyrics are a joy to read, but even without them, the power of this music comes through loud and clear.

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