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NEW YORK – The band Sounds of Cyprus returns for another beautiful night of traditional Cypriot folk music on Thursday, April 28, 7 PM, at the Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent Street in Astoria, featuring talented singer Elena Chris on vocals and Music Direction by Peter Douskalis who also performs on laouto, oud, and guitar. Alex Tasopoulos on viola, Erikos Vlesmas on bass, Stavros Papadopoulos on pithkiavli and ney, round out the gifted musicians of Sounds of Cyprus who perform classic Cypriot favorites from the traditional repertoire including songs by Hadjimichael, Tokas, Ioannidis, and Violaris to name a few.
Chris and Douskalis spoke with The National Herald about the upcoming show.
When asked about the most challenging and rewarding aspects of performing the traditional songs, Chris told TNH, “I feel that through these songs many emotions, images, and memories are born both to me and to the listeners. We all become one and sing together. Through the songs, music, and my interpretation of them, I have to make the audience feel comfortable, sing, and express their feelings. For me, this is the most demanding aspect of interpreting traditional songs.”
“The most rewarding aspect is the comments of the people who have felt these feelings,” Chris continued. “The people who sang with us, enjoyed the rich music of Cyprus from childhood, and brought back beautiful images and memories from that time. Our goal and purpose is to keep the musical tradition of Cyprus alive so that not only our elders can listen, but the youth can learn it as well.”
Of the program for the April 28 performance, Chris said: “It is a very nice program of traditional Cypriot music with musical instruments that we do not often see, such as laouto, oud, and ney, which will fill the space of the Cultural Center with incredible sounds and melodies. We have chosen songs that people know and some others that we are sure they will really like!”
Douskalis added that “the audience can look forward to a diverse program of traditional Cypriot music, ranging in styles and time periods that highlights the multicultural influences of the island. We’re particularly excited to have Stavros Papadopoulos joining us, who plays the pithkiavli and ney, instruments native to Cyprus of both the Turkish and Greek origins.”
When asked how they decide what traditional songs to include in a concert program, Douskalis told TNH: “Elena and I usually talk about ideas for songs to include that would make a diverse program musically but also representative of the rich musical tradition of Cyprus. I often search for songs that are specifically known to be sung in both Greek and Turkish, since Cyprus has that beautiful multicultural influence of culture.”
Of what they are working on next, Douskalis noted that “the band is always evolving and growing. Elena and I have some projects that are currently in the works that we look forward to sharing with you soon!”
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