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Erini performing at Drom in New York City on May 24 with Stavros Papadopoulos, at left, Sebastian De Urquiza on bass, in the background, and Eduardo Mercuri, at right. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
NEW YORK – Gifted vocalist Erini impressed the audience with her dynamic performance titled ‘Global Bridges with Erini’ on May 24 at Drom in New York City. She opened the concert with a song from her native island of Crete and then continued to transport the audience along on a musical journey across continents through her performance of songs from the Greek, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Iberian, and Sephardic traditions, in seven different languages, highlighting her clear-toned, mellifluous voice and versatility as a performer.
Erini was accompanied by the talented musicians Eylem Basaldi on violin, Eduardo Mercuri on guitar, Sebastian De Urquiza on bass, and Engin Gunaydin on percussion. The concert’s special guests were Stavros Papadopoulos performing on ney and Greek-born bass player Panagiotis Andreou.
Taking the stage, Erini warmly thanked everyone for their presence, noting that she moved to New York only recently from Boston. Growing up in a musical family on the island of Crete, Erini played the piano and cello and performed with her hometown’s string orchestra and choir. She traveled abroad to continue her music studies in England and the United States, learning about the music of various cultures, eventually performing in different countries and languages, hence the global nature of the concert’s program, but as she pointed out, “you always return to your roots.”
Performing beautifully in all the languages on the program, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ladino, Turkish and Arabic, it was the songs in her native Greek which truly delighted the audience. Her moving performance left everyone looking forward to her next concert.
As a descendant of Greek-Anatolian refugees, Erini’s mother introduced her to the Greek-Anatolian musical tradition which ignited Erini’s passion for singing. She spoke about her heritage during the concert, encouraging everyone to Google the history of the Greeks of Anatolia, as an introduction to the classic songs of Asia Minor including Smyrneiko Minore which she pointed out was recorded in 1919 in New York City by Marika Papagika, who was originally from the island of Kos. Also in the set was the well-known traditional song from Smyrna ‘Ti Se Melei Esenane’ with a spirited performance by Erini as she invited the audience to sing along.
For a few songs, she was joined on stage by Stavros Papadopoulos on ney, whom she introduced as an attorney/musician, who added a special depth to the songs with his evocative playing. Later on, Panagiotis Andreou, who has been called the “Greek god of bass,” also shared his unique musical skills alongside Erini’s masterful vocals.
In her remarks, she noted the power of music to connect everyone across borders which was showcased by her personal musical journey and by the international musicians who performed alongside her in the concert, learning about each other’s cultures and sharing the gift of music with the appreciative audience. Erini concluded by thanking everyone for attending and mentioned she has many more projects in the works, so stayed tuned.
Erini studied Contemporary Vocals at BIMM Institute in England and was cast as the only vocalist of the show ‘Kurios’ by Cirque Du Soleil in 2014, touring for three years and performing a total of 1,074 shows. Erini completed her master’s degree at the Berklee College of Music and has performed at Carnegie Hall. She has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Danilo Perez, Luciana Souza, and Terri-Lynne Carrington as well as acclaimed Greek artists such as Vasilis Skoulas, Pantelis Thalassinos, Christos Zotos, and Mario Frangoulis.
Erini is also a professor at Berklee and presents workshops and lectures on Greek traditional music at universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Tufts, among others.
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