Concert featuring pomes by contemporary Cypriot poets
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A few words from the Composer
A coming-of-age story about a woman on a quest to find a mystical spider who weaves Magic Mantles, set in a fairytale-olden time Cyprus. The story is interlaced with 8 songs I set to music, 5 of which are poems by 4 living Cypriot composers, 2 are folk poems and 1 is a free arrangement of a traditional song.
The story handles social subjects such as woman empowerment, the dynamic and different expectations between men and women, and inclusivity, how members of the society may treat people who are different from what they confine as normal.
The poems speak about love through different lenses like: family, the love of the parent to their child, there’s the poem of losing love through the eyes of a child losing their parent, loving your life and being content about your journey. Other poems take a more introverted approach talking about love as an entity you can’t run away from, and another uses also a form of sarcasm condemning a true tragic event and the unfairness of life and death.
The traditional poems used in this performance talk about will power to live, one uses a playful perceptive where a bird and a fair lady talk about their beauty and life, while the other is a discussion between God and Death and no matter how loved a person can be there is always an ending.
We are connecting the old with the new in this concert so we are performing a very well known Greek song but instead of performing it as is, our musicians will improvise on the main theme and expand it musically in terms of harmony, melody, and timbre.
Adapting traditional and folk idioms with contemporary sounds is the heart of this project. So even though you will hear a song in 9/4 rhythm – zeibekiko – the melody, and harmony are less expected and we break the form as well as we don’t use a refrain which is very typical in songs in this idiom.
Other songs are even closer to the contemporary classical idiom where the singer uses microtonal singing, the performers perform free improvisation and loop-pedals, the music breaks the canon of a steady beat organised in equal segments, and plays with timbre in less conventional ways for each instrument and the voice.
As I love contemporary poetry because it talks about concepts that apply in today’s world, I love contemporary music in the same way. That is why I believe it is important to support our living poets and stay connected with the happenings of our time.
What will happen:
A mini musical act with one singer and 3 instrumentalists on stage telling us an inspiring story about a girl challenging social norms in the time of long-long-ago, taking us on a musical journey with songs about navigating life through different shades of love. This concert features original poems by living Cypriot poets as well as traditional poems set to music.
The music creates a nostalgic and romantic yet spirited ambiance. The audience is invited to go on a fantastic adventure along with the singer and the musicians of the show, as they examine different shades of love: family love, love for life, love lost…
The music is a delicate blend of colourful harmonies, singable melodies, rhythms coming from Greek folk music (kalamatiano, zeibekiko) and less ordinary rhythms (11/8) and improvisation.
Flute: Demetris Yiasemides
Voice: Maria Andreou
Piano: Stefani Soteriou
Vibraphone: Andria Nicodemou
Listen to the songs
Posters by: Athina Chrysostomou
Demetris Yiasemides – Flute
After his studies in the United Kingdom, where he played the flute, Yiasemides worked as a flautist and trombonist in various ensembles, such as Anglia Sinfonia, the ARU Big Band, the Grand Union Orchestra, as well as the Philharmonic Orchestra of United Arab Emirates. In Abu Dhabi he worked as a wind teacher at Aldar International Schools in Abu Dhabi, and has also taught flute in Greece, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Today he is a flute teacher at the European University of Cyprus and in Music High Schools of the island. In addition, he is an active musician of the classical, folk and experimental music scene of Cyprus. He is also a member of award-winning group Monsieur Doumani, which is one of the most successful bands of Cyprus internationally, with concerts throughout Europe, Cuba and India. Through Monsieur Doumani, Yiasemidis presents an innovative and unprecedented use of wind instruments in Cypriot music.
Stefani Soteriou – Piano
Stefani Soteriou was born in 1989 in Larnaka and is from Athienou. She started piano lessons with Christos Pechlivanis when she was 8 years old and then carried on with Dr. Nichola Constantinou. She studied music and piano performance with famous pianist Elena Mouzala at the Ionian University in Corfu. She also studied music and piano education, played with the orchestra of the university and with many student ensembles. Graduating she played in many solo concerts, with ensembles and piano four hand in Cyprus and in Greece. She was a member and leading pianist in various professional music groups like the vocal quartet Avanti 4 and Professional Music Artists. Since 2012 she is accompanying the aateure choire of Club Athienou. Today she is a piano teacher at Larnaca’s Music school and has her own private music school Stefani Soteriou Diapason Music Lab in Athienou, in collaboration with the National Odeum in Larnaca.
Maria Andreou – Voice
With studies in Music and Theatre, Maria Andreou is dedicated to art and is a multifaceted artist: as an actor, musician, song performer, and composer. She studied Acting at the drama school ‘Vladimiros Kafkaridis’ and graduated with honours. She received her first degree in Music from the University of Hull (UK) Kingdom) specialising in song and composition. She carried on with her postgraduate studies at the University of York (United Kingdom) where she was awarded a Master in Arts and PhD in Music Composition. As a singer, she participated in various concerts and music representations (Festival Faneromenis, 5 classical festivals music for young people, Cultural Capital Paphos 2017 etc.
As an actress, she participated among others at Ancient Greek Drama Festival (Troades, Electra,etc) and at Musical Theatre performances (Fiddler on the Roof etc). As a composer she wrote mainly Theatrical Music compositions and she won various competitions (1 st Prize – Yianni Papaioannou with her work Aeriko for alto Flute).
Andria Nikodemou – Vibraphone
Andria Nicodemou (CY/BOS) is a multifaceted musician from Cyprus, specialising in the vibraphone, improvisation, interdisciplinary and interactive performances. Her music is characterised as “open-ended play”, where movement, theatricality and sound are equally important. She has collaborated with important artists such as Joe Morris, Anthony Coleman, Marty Ehrlich, Ikue Morri, Tayler Ho Bynum, Anne La Berge, Tatsuya Nakatani, Ab Baars, Gerald Cleaver, Gianni Lenoci, Ingrid Laubrock, Joe McPhee, Garrison Fewell, Laurence Cook, Guilermo Gregorio among others and she has performed at various venues and festivals worldwide. Andria has published recordings with the Relative Pitch label in New York – “The Industry Of Entropy”, with Glacial Erratic Records the trio album “Raven” and with the Subcontinental Records the album “River Is Full”. Andria is the co-founder of the award-winning Thread Ensemble from the City of Boston, the founder of the non-profit organisation Make Music Cyprus aimed at the development of music education and the music scene in Cyprus, the International Special Projects Consultant for Make Music Alliance (USA), and the founder and curator of the Breach Festival dedicated to free improvisation and experimental music in Cyprus.
Charalambos Chrysostomou – 21 Nyfoules (1973) and In the Clouds
Charalambos Chrysostomou comes from Kyra Morfou. He is an Electrical Engineer, a graduate of the Polytechnic School of the University of Patra. From 1981 to 1995 he worked as an Electrical Engineer on construction sites in Saudi Arabia and Cyprus. In 1995 he returned to Cyprus after being appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering. He retired in 2020 as an inspector with a rich writing career. He was involved in poetry when he was a student in Secondary School and University. Some of his poems are: Prayer of a Small Child, 21 Brides, In the Clouds, My island, Flight, etc. He also wrote a short story entitled “Green Line 1974” which describes a real event that happened next to him during the Turkish invasion of 1974, when he was serving as a Probationary Lieutenant. This short story was performed by the Shadanga Duo in November 19 ‘in Hjørring, Denmark at the Ode to the Wind festival as a musical act written by Rania Chrysostomou.
He is a self-taught painter, and likes to do wooden constructions. The poem 21 Brides was written in 1972 when he was in the 5th grade in Secondary School, influenced by the death of 21 students of the High School of Spili Rethymno in Crete. The poem In the Clouds is dedicated to his granddaughter Olivia. A different version of the poem was performed by Plektó Duo in Cyprus in 2020.
Tasoula Markou – Elpida
Tassoula Markou, of the genus Kolokoudia, was born in Paralimni in 1939. She studied at the Primary School of Paralimni and then at the Hellenic High School Famagusta. She graduated from the Cyprus Pedagogical Academy in 1960. She served in the Primary Schools of the area for 39 years and retired
in 1999 as Director.
With the start of the liberation struggle in 1955 was initiated in EOKA. She was a member of the teams at the Famagusta High School and head of the women’s department in Paralimni. On her own initiative The “Philoptochos Brotherhood of Paralimni” was founded in 1975, of which she was also President until 1985 when it was dissolved. She is one of the founding members of the “Provincial Association for the Welfare of the Blind of Free Famagusta” (1981) and was President of this Association from 1995 to 2013. She was a member of the “Social Ministry Committee” of the Holy Metropolis of Constantia – Famagusta and member of the Board of the “Paralimni Fighters Association”. She has been a member since 2011 of the Union of Greek Writers.
She is married to Makis Markou and has three children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
From a young age she was involved in poetry. Her poems were published in the newspaper
“Kypros” under the pseudonym “Vanda”. She took part and distinguished herself among Panhellenic people in poetry and short story competitions. In 2012 she published the poetry collection “Emergence of the soul”, which was designated as “Book of the Year 2017” and was honored with the First Prize by Hellenic Cultural Association of Cypriots (EPOK) of Greece. “Unfolded Memories” (Ξελιπλωμένες Μνήμες) is the first novel she publishes.
Elena Gonata – An mborousa (If I could)
Mgr. MA Elena Gonata Ph.D., is a native Cypriot conductor and educator. She studied Music Education and the Art of Choral Conducting in the Czech Republic, orchestral conducting at the University of York, and in February 2022 she achieved her Ph.D. in Music Theory and Education at Charles University Prague. She has both classroom and choral education teaching experience, combined with multiple choral direction assignments. In April 2018, Elena Gonata completed her composition ‘Requiem’- A prayer for him, an acapella work for SSA choir, whose world premiere was held in November 2018 at Famagusta Gate, Nicosia. She relocated to Prague in August 2019 and since then, she belongs to the teaching staff of the Meridian International School.
She started writing poetry when she was 16 years old and continues to write and set them to music. The poem If I Could (Αν μπορούσα) is part of a trilogy of poems and were written for her dad when he passed away. The poems were published in 2013 in the newspaper “Athlitiko Vima” (Sports Step) where he used to work.
Maria Kouvarou – Odi ston Erota (Ode to Love)
Maria Kouvarou holds a PhD in Sociology of popular music and is currently at the University of Cyprus as a Research Specialist, studying topics related to the Cypriot popular music scene. She has released two poetry collections The Birth of the Bitch (2017) and Travelling Still (2018), and the novel / literary psychograph Skiamachia (Blinding Shadows) (2019). Her short stories and poems have been included in various anthologies, while her texts have been distinguished in literary competitions. As an academic she has published articles in Popular Music and Society, Historia Critica, Popular Music, and Journal of Popular Music Studies. She is one of the founding members of the Collectiva Inanna artistic group, a member of the editorial team for Larnaka: The Anthology (2021) and a piano and song performer. Her poem “Ode to Love” was written in 2018.
This and all performances of this concert would never have been possible without the help and support of the following people (in no particular order):
My husband and precious children, Athina Chrysostomou, Elena Chrysostomou, Andreas Chrysostomou, Pampos Chrysostomou, Stefani Soteriou, Maria Andreou, Demetris Yiasemides, Andria Nicodemou, Maria Kouvarou, Elena Gonata, Tasoula Markou, Angharad Cooper, Kasturi Torchia and Esprit Concrete, Panagiotis Vassiliades, Cultural Services of Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, Archdiocese of Cyprus, Marie Stratie, Andria Antoniou, Zorpas Bakery.
Inspiration by My Octopus Teacher, 2020 Netflix Original documentary film directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed