Greekadelia

The invented term ‘Greekadeliaperfectly 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.

Song Information

01       Matia San Kai Ta Dika Sou (Eyes Like Yours)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Cycladic Islands, ballos (Greek folk dance)

Eyes like yours cannot be found anywhere in the world, let me kiss them and be cured of the pain I feel in my heart.

02       Αnamesa Nissirou (Opposite Nissiros island)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Dodecanese Islands

Our sheet rope broke somewhere between the islands of Nisyros, Symi and Astypalea. Help us, St Panermioti, and we shall offer you our entire boat with all that is on board. We will turn to silver all your candles and fill them with oil should you save us, St Panermioti.

03       Me Gelasan Ta Poulia (The Birds Fooled Me)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Eastern Thrace, syngathistos (Greek folk dance)

The birds, they fooled me, they told me I would never die. So I built a charming little house, larger than all the rest, with seven floors and sixty windows. Now I sit by the window staring at the lowlands, and there I see death approaching, riding on a black horse. The birds, they fooled me …

04     Halassia Mou (My Blue-Eyed One)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Epirus

The day is breaking and night fades away, but my mind is restless because of love. My blue-eyed one, you've been away for so many years.

05     Mes Tou Aegeou Ta Nera (Immersed In The Aegean's Waters)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Aegean, syrtos of the Dodecanese (Greek folk dance)

Come out and see, angels flying over the sea and spreading roses among the islands. My Aegean, may your water become rose water.

06       Neratzoula Fountomeni (My Little Bitter Orange Tree Full Of Leaves)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Greek Mmainland, tsamikos (Greek folk dance)

Neratzoula, full of leaves, where is the youth you once had? Where is your early beauty? Gone is the youth, gone is the beauty, north wind blew and swept it all away …

07       Pes Mou Poia Mana (Tell Me, Who Was Your Mother?)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Peloponnese, tsamikos (Greek folk dance)

Tell me, who was your mother, the one that gave birth to you and sent you to me, my beautiful partridge?

08       Kato Sta Dasia Platania (Down At The Plane Tree Forest)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Thessaly

Diamandoula, why are you so pale? Is it some dark shade that's haunting you? Is there a ghost that torments you during the night?

09       To Ponemeno Stithos Mou (My Hurting Chest)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: East Aegean, slow kalamatianos (Greek folk dance)

My lips may be singing, but my chest is in pain, because my heart weeps within. My tears flow and wet the ground on which I stand. Sun, what have I done to you for you to set, abandon me in the dark, and leave to shine elsewhere?

10       Marenomai (I'm Wilting)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Roumeli, slow kalamatianos (Greek folk dance)

I am wilting like a basil plant watered with salty sea water. May your house burn to the ground, may your balcony burn and collapse along with you.

11     Erhomai Ki Esy Koimasai (I Come To You, You're Asleep)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Livisi, Asia Minor, patinada (folk style sung by small groups while walking)

I come to you and find you sleeping among the white jasmine flowers. My heart is a garden full of flowers and scents. Here are its keys, come take a walk in it.

12       Rodo Tis Protanastasis (First Resurrection Rose)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis, words Karavitis)
Origin: Crete, sousta (Greek folk dance)

Rose from the early-morning resurrection ceremony, candle light of Christmas, daphne scent, come, oh please come to me! A heart that knows how to love and give is a wealthy heart, but no such heart exists in this world any more … So come, oh, please come to me! Until when shall I wait? Until when?

13       Rodise I Anatoli (Rose-Hued East)
(trad, arr Stassinopoulou, Kalyviotis)
Origin: Thrace, tis tavlas (folk songs sung after celebrations in the early hours of the morning)

Many times I have sworn to myself that I shall never sing again, but I will now break my promise, for your sake. Eat and drink, my friends, and listen to my song; the east is becoming rose-hued and the west is starting to shine.