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Culture

Louloudis’ Dedicated to My Culture at Greek Cultural Center

December 18, 2017

ASTORIA – Alexandros Louloudis- Dedicated to my Culture, a unique performance blending jazz and Greek poetry and songs, took place on December 10 at the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria. The talented performers-led by artistic director Louloudis on drums and percussion, Alexandra Skendrou- poetic narration, and Rafael Statin, also known as Leafar, on saxophones, created a distinctive sound experience. The pieces of Greek poetryfrom ancient times to before World War II were performed skillfully by Skendrou who also sang Greek songs with her charming voice against the powerful backdrop of Louloudis and Statin’s playing.

It might not seem like jazz and Greek poetry would work well together, however, the creativity of the artists and the poignant emotion behind the words and the music made a strong impression on the audience. Many congratulated the artists and noted that they were looking forward to future performances by the artists.

Louloudis was born in Drama, Greece, in 1993 and started playing drums and percussion when he was 9. At age 12, Louloudis began studying drums and classical percussion at the Conservatory of Music in Drama under the guidance of Fotis Valeras and performed professionally for the first time at 13. He went on to play with various local bands and percussion ensembles while taking lessons with master drummer Nikos Vargiamides, performing outside Drama, playing a variety of hand percussion at traditional Greek music festivals and studying Jazz and Afro-Cuban music.Louloudis has performed at the ancient Greek theater in Philippi, the Oneiroupoli of Drama, the International Folklore Dance Festival of Xiropotamos and the Conservatory of Music Theater in Drama.

At age 18, Louloudis moved to New York City and in 2013, received a scholarship to study at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He was also awarded the Kostas Kouvidis Scholarship for drummers, from the You Are What You Do, Kostas Kouvidis organization.

Since moving to the United States, Louloudis has been mentored by Jeff Ballard, Francisco Mela, Gene Jackson, Sam Ulano, Reggie Workman, Billy Harper, Charles Tolliver, Oliver Lake, Rolando Morales-Matos, Jane Ira Bloom, Andy McKee, Yosvany Terry, Amir Ziv, and Master Drummer and founder of the Michael Carvin School of Drumming, Michael Carvin. Louloudis has also recorded and played with luminaries such as Ahmed Abdullah, Gary Bartz, Charles Tolliver, Diane Moser, Fabrizio Sotti, The New York Jazz Philharmonic, Bobby Sanabria, Yunior Terry, Todd Reynolds, Bang On A Can, Warren Smith, and Rafael Statin; and he has performed at countless New York venues such as Fat Cat Music, Melrose Ballroom, Silvana, Shrine, Why Not Jazz Room, Harlem School of Arts, Nublu, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Smalls Jazz Club, the Zinc Bar, Arnold Hall, Shapeshifter Lab and The New School Performance Space, and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Skendrou is a singer, actor, educator, producer, and dancer of traditional Greek folklore dances. A native of Greece, she is involved with several Greek-American organizations that promote Hellenic culture in the United States. Skendrouis the music teacher, chorus director, and coordinator of the Music School at the Academy of Hellenic Paideia. She holds degrees from the Atheneaum- Maria Callas Conservatory, Mannes College/ New School University as an A.S. Onassis Scholarship recipient, and the Theatrical Technical School for the Arts in Moscow.

Statin, aka Leafar, is a gifted avant-garde jazz musicianfrom Detroit, MI who has recorded and performed with Louloudisin the past. He has also received many positive reviews from New York jazz critics for his live performances.

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