NEW YORK – Musician and educator Peter Douskalis took time out of his busy schedule to talk with The National Herald about his music and his upcoming concert of multicultural songs and world music at The Bitter End in New York’s famed and historic Greenwich Village.
The guitarist whose father is from Piraeus and mother from Cyprus, spoke eloquently about the importance of teaching world music and sharing the rich tradition of folk music from around the world. As noted in the news release, the name of the concert is a play on words from “Coup d’etat” – the Coup D’Amour is a coup of love, to share the love of music and multiculturalism, and to promote intercultural harmony.
Douskalis told TNH about his book of world music arrangements entitled Multicultural Songs in the Essential Elements for Guitar series recently published by Hal Leonard Publications.
The collection was created to provide teachers and students of guitar with a repertoire from around the globe and an entry point into the vast multicultural world of music.
The arrangements presented within the book are all traditional, folk, or popular pieces from a wide range of countries and regions, yet all share musical commonalities.
From harmonic relationships between Syria and Turkey or Mexico and Russia; rhythmic commonalities between Turkey, Greece, and Albania, or meter similarities between China and India; progression similarities in Armenia and South America, as well as melodic consonants of Ireland and the Philippines, Cyprus and Iran, or Egypt and Japan; music is a universal language that unites us all, as Douskalis observed.
He noted that this is the first time a Cypriot folk song has been published by a major music publisher, giving access to Cypriot music, and making it mainstream in education where the focus is usually on Western European classical music and pop. Douskalis pointed out that a lot of Greek music has been published in the past for educational purposes, but Cypriot music with its distinctive influences was overlooked just as so many other types of world music.
The performance on Jan. 12 features music from all over the world, Douskalis said, rearranged/orchestrated for this special evening with two guitars, a violin, cello, and upright bass. The Coup D’Amour ensemble includes: Douskalis on guitar, Susan Davis on violin, Gjilberta Lucaj on cello, Luiz Bacchi on upright bass, and Jacob Yusufov on guitar.
Douskalis performs and records professionally as well as teaches music in the New York City Department of Education.
Besides authoring the Hal Leonard Essential Elements for Guitar series book Multicultural Songs, he has published his philosophy on multicultural music education curriculum design in the 30th World Conference Proceedings of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and has further presented his philosophies in Thessaloniki at the 30th ISME World Conference, a TEDx Talk, and the 32nd ISME World Conference in Glasgow. He currently performs in New York City, primarily working as Assistant Director and Guitarist for Pericles Kanaris and Synolon.
He also volunteers as the President of the New York City Chapter of the charity Guitars Not Guns and also partakes in Olympism For Humanity Alliance, Inc. projects.
His solo jazz guitar CD The Dance of the Sea has received national and international acclaim in Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, Los Angeles Jazz Scene, Jazz Journal (UK), and Cadence Magazine.
More information is available at www.douskalis.com.