Koos Gjismans

Parathiro anichto – open window

After having listened to only a few songs of his latest album, ‘Open Window’ by the Greek singer-songwriter Makis Seviloglou, I find that history is repeating itself. My eyes start watering, I get a faint feeling in the stomach, I have goose pimples and a desire to down a good glass of ouzo. What is it in this music, that moves me to tears and touches me to the core?

Again, Makis has produced his third album with our Dutch compatriot Casper Falke behind the buttons of the recording table. On the previous albums there was still a certain amount of popularization of Greek style elements, now there is none of it. On this album Makis opens the window of his home and together with the listener he looks across the untouched musical landscape of his homeland in the North of Greece. A region where, stylistically, unusual notions govern over things like rhythm, lyricism and tonality. Especially in the latter area Makis’ vocal antics are of a whole new order in comparison with earlier productions. The other musicians join without effort. This results in ancient musical patterns delivered with the passion, guts and virtuosity that we in the West know only from the elite in improvised jazz music.

Talking about elite, let me introduce the clarinet and flute player Apostolis Vangelakis. With his interpretation and technique, reminiscent of Eric Dolphy, he throws totally inimitable series of sounds, with ocean deep drops and intervals into the musical fight. In a same category falls violin player Zissis Kassiaras, whose play is a true tribute to the reputation of the Guild of Greek violinists.

Open window’ is demanding to the untrained Western ear, that much is clear. However the lovers of pure Greek traditional song will know how to deal with it and can eagerly look forward to the next tour by Makis and his partners in our regions.

                                                                                                                     Koos Gijsman

                               (Translated by Betty de Vries)