NEW YORK – The 2nd Kiklos Greek Traditional Music Festival’s An Evening of Greek Sacred Music was presented by the Axion Estin Foundation and the Patras Society of New York “Kostis Palamas” on December 17. The enchanting evening brought together the hymnal and folk traditions of Greece and included a seasonal repertoire and modern compositions performed at the Advent Lutheran Church in Manhattan.
The festival’s artistic director, Nikos Paterakis, invited musicians from Greece as well as the Greek-American community to perform, offering a unique experience for the audience that braved the inclement weather to attend this special event.
The performers from Greece were: Nektarios Papageorgiou on clarinet, Stefanos Dormarakis on kanonaki, and Elias Papantoniou on percussion. From New York, Axion Estin Foundation Executive Director Nektarios Antoniou on vocals, Spyros Koliovasilis of Maryland on oud, and Angelos Papadatos on the bass.
Paterakis told The National Herald that the musical theme for this year’s event included “a repertoire that combines the relationship between the traditional hymns and the repertoire of our traditional Christmas carols, a relationship that is not very often illuminated, in combination with some contemporary compositions which are stepping off from these two traditions.”
The compositions that were performed were created by Manos Achalinotopoulos, Ara Dinkjian, and the guest musicians.
The Kiklos Festival premiered in 2018, with a music night at the 74th annual Pan-Arcadian Federation of America conference, at the Petros Patridis Hall at St. Demetrios in Astoria. As Paterakis pointed out, the Festival allows himself and other musicians of his generation to create work inspired by the timeless sounds of traditional music.
The Byzantine influence on the traditional music of rural Greece is undeniable. The Greek Orthodox hymns have enriched countless communities’ musical expression throughout the centuries, as melodies and themes gradually passed down from the religious scholars of 9th century Constantinople onwards gradually adapted into regional songs for popular celebrations, weddings, laments, epic poems, and more.
As these two worlds converge over a long period of time to establish a Christian Orthodox culture for Greeks, the meeting manifests distinctively in the festive occasion and festive songs. Diverse regional influences embrace themes of motherhood, charity, and the Nativity story to create a rich and vibrant cultural heritage unique within the Mediterranean.
This music continues to inspire composers and performers to create original works that balance the evocative tones of the East with the structure and poise of the West, continuing an age-old lineage of living cultural heritage by contributing this generation’s contemporary voice.
Axion Estin Foundation’s Panegyris programming is 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.
The event was held under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in New York.