Five years after the release of their first CD, entitled “Almost Like in the Past”, the music collective Loxandra continues to explore the Eastern music tradition, this time with a new CD, of their own production (Polyphonon label). While the work brings together many contributing artists, it is especially dedicated to three dear people and great musicians, Nikos and Giasemi Saragoudas from Greece and Müzeyyen Senar from Turkey.
This new CD entitled “Meyahane – Cafe Aman” was recorded in Greece (Thessaloniki, Drama, Arta, Athens, Spata) Spain (Valencia) and Canada (Toronto). The contributing artists are the following:
Nikos and Giasemi Saragoudas, Theodora Athanasiou, Brenna MacCrimmon, Ria Ellinidou, Sakis Giorgou, Asli Dogan, Areti Ketime, Dilek Koc, Manos Koutsaggelidis, Anatoli Mariola, Martha Mavroidi, Giorgos Matthaiou, Dimitris Mistakidis, Katerina Papadopoulou, Salih Nazim Peker (vocals), Efren Lopez Sanz (saz), Nikos Papaioannou (cello), Nikos Paraoulakis (nay), Stavros Pazarentsis (zurna), Sokratis Sinopoulos (classical lyra), Markos Skoulios (nay), Pantelis Stoikos (trumpet), Fotis Siotas (viola), Kostas Theodorou (double bass), Giorgos Psaltis (violin orchestra, vocals).
The songs included in the CD follow the tradition of Meyhane and Cafe Aman, but they offer a modern approach of the urban music of the decades from 1910 to 1930, in cities like Constantinople, Smyrna, Thessaloniki, Athens and Piraeus. Rather than a folklore reproduction of this tradition, the CD of Loxandra attempts new arrangements of the songs.
As Thomas Korovinis rightly puts it in his introductory note to the CD:
“Loxandra's musical study 'restores to life' a selective representation of songs that reflect the social aspect, as well as the style of musical expression and entertainment that prevailed in the urban society, in both sides of the Aegean, during the first thirty years of the 20th century. This particular collection, therefore, redeems such arrangements of 'urban style' that were for a long time scorned and neglected, and brings forth their timeless beauty and splendour.For instance, the amazing 'Vardar Ovasi', a song that reflects the heartbreaking passion of the Turkish refugees, who, because of the population exchange, were forced to abandon their homes in the region of Thessaloniki and the beloved, lush valley of Vardaris, for ever. ”