NEW YORK – The Axion Estin Foundation presented Panegyris II: Music of Epirus – The Birth of Folk Music on November 17 at Saint Veronica Church in Manhattan. The event, under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in New York, was a guided tour from early Byzantine Church hymns to centuries-old folk songs and dances from the mountains of Epirus. Featuring the Axion Estin Chanters and virtuoso Epirus folk music instrumentalists Lefteris Bournias on clarinet and Vasilis Kostas on lute with dancers in costume from the Holy Trinity Greek Dance Troupe of New Rochelle, NY, the performance began with two instrumental pieces followed by the powerful voices of Chanters Eleftherios Eleftheriadis and Nektarios Antoniou leading the chants.
The event, free and open to the public, offered a wonderful journey through the sacred chants of the Greek Orthodox Church and the folk music of the region. Antoniou, the Principal Chanter at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, whose voice can only be described as the voice of God, offered a brief introduction, noting that the music of Epirus is the oldest folk music of Europe and highlighted the connections between the church and the celebration or festival, the Panegyris. He quoted the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, “A life without festivity is a long road without an inn.”
Antoniou thanked all those present including the Axion Estin Foundation’s Angelo Lampousis and the members of the Board of Directors, the dancers from Holy Trinity, the chanters, and the wonderful musicians. Fox 5 meteorologist Nick Gregory led the dancing and showed considerable kefi along with the entire Holy Trinity Dance Troupe.
The audience especially enjoyed the traditional songs, including the famed Yianni mou to mantili sou and Menousis, played with such skill by the talented Bournias and Kostas. The event concluded with a musical postlude of instrumental improvisation that impressed the audience and inspired enthusiastic applause. Many present noted that they are looking forward to the next concert.
Publisher and Executive Editor of the WestViewNews, George Capsis, gave the welcoming remarks at the event, thanking all those in attendance and reminding them to support St. Veronica to continue bringing such remarkable events to the West Village.
This Axion Estin Foundation Panegyris concert was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
More information about the Axion Estin Foundation is available online: axionestin.org.