Christos Tzitzimikas


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Patimata is Greek traditional folk singer Christos Tzitzimikas' second album, eight years after his 1993 debut. Here he focuses on songs from Pogoni, a region of Epirus (Northwestern Greece) sitting on the border of Albania. The music has a more East-European/gypsy feel than the Thessalian tradition, even though Pogoni is considered to be the cradle of Greek pentatonic music. Tzitzimikas is accompanied by what was a typical group in this region, playing on traditional instruments: Petroloucas Chalkias on clarino (a form of clarinet), Achilleas Chalkias on violin, Christodoulos Zoubas and Thanassis Markopouloss on laoutos (Greek lutes), and either Nikos Kontos or Andreas Papas on defi (a Greek tambourine). The recording is nicely detailed -- both laoutos sounding particularly well. But the strength of this album lies in the singer's voice, warm, rich, highly evocative and virtuosic in its snake-like microtonal inflections. Highlights abound, but the opener -- "Double Gaita (Five Young Men)" -- "My Head Is Aching," and "The Sun Is Shining" are all of special interest. The album stands very well on its own and will please many fans of Mediterranean neo-folk music. Musicologists and collectors will also be interested, as the CD is packaged in a lavish 112-page hardcover book (14x16 cm). It contains a historical overview of the region and details on each song, including scales and lyrics in Greek and English. A beautiful production.

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