1-What were your biggest musical influences & where do you get your inspiration from ?
Well if I go deep inside and try to find my main musical influences, then I reach my childhood and sounds of Macedonian brass orchestras that are still echoing in my head, with all their rhythms and melodies played day and night during festivities that were taking place in years and around the area where I grew up. If I could talk about some of the musicians that inspired me later on during my musical life which started at the age of sixteen, then I have to mention Charlie Haden with his Liberation Orchestra, Dino Saluzzi mostly with his solo albums and Egberto Gismonti with his approach to the music of the indigenous people of his homeland. Of course there were many others and each of them in a different way, but those three masters came very close to my heart because they made me think about music in a broader way. To tell you the truth seldomly was I attracted by virtuosity but I always enjoyed listening to albums of narrative character. Like The Ballad of the Fallen by Haden and the Liberation Orchestra or Kultrum by Saluzzi or Dancas a Cabecas by Gismonti and Vasconselos for example. Those three musical monuments gave me a lot of strength to go on my way and I was very lucky to have listened them in the beginning of my musical development. Much later I read in Fernando Pessoa’s writings that every art constitutes literature and that was a kind of confirmation of thoughts I had earlier. Now, as an answer to the second part of your question about where do I get inspiration, I could just mention the main influences I get from life. Personal and every day social life. Anthropological issues like cultural identity, migration, reality against truth, the world of dreams, emotions, poetry… Inspiration can come anytime and anywere since we know that we belong to the unexpected.
2-You are performing on December 8 at Onassis Cultural Centre. What is the project you are going to present? Is it connected to your previus work or it is something new?
After the release of Rousilvo in 2010 which is a kind of a folk opera and a tribute to an abandoned village and to a culture that is fading as a result of a long lasting social marginalisation it all naturally developed into a new project entittled Lost_Anthropology. It was already performed last summer in Munich with Antonis Anissegos on piano, Mathis Mayr on cello and myself on double bass, guitar, vocals and percussion. In a few words I could say that it is an allusion to cultural roots from primitive pagan rituals to modern poetry, dialectic approach to identity through narrative musical compositions in combination with free improvisation. In the upcoming concert in Athens we’ll be a quartet with Antonis Anissegos piano, Tom Arthurs trumpet, Stamatis Pasopoulos bayan and myself with the same setup. The collaboration with Tom starts with this concert but it was an old wish come true. I have heard him with the Berlin based trio Glue and I liked very much the way Tom creates his soundscapes with a trumpet. Antonis and I have known each other for a long time and his role is in many ways heart of this project. Stamatis on other hand was the first one that started working with me on this material last year in Saloniki. I am really excited about this performance of Lost_Anthropology.
3- You have collaborated with big figures of the Greek musical scene [like Theodorakis and Savvopoulos] on very different projects and we have seen you abroad in festivals with your own ensemble . What do you like the most : work on other people project or just do your own stuff and how difficult it is to work on different project at the same time.
I was lucky to collaborate with Michalis Siganidis F.M.S. ensemble as a drummer and Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico as a percussionist. When you have such personalities to be with then it is possible to feel their music as yours and be creative. Of course, playing with my ensembles gives me more possibilities to go deeper into my personal interests but both situations are joyful when you are around artists that like to share.
4-Could you tell us what are you working on these days. What is your next project ?
Hmmm… Difficult to answer. Aside of Lost_Anthropology I am working on something I had on my mind for years that just a few weeks ago started to take a musical shape. But lets keep some secrets for the future.
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