Golden Horn releases Drawing in an Almond by Katerina Papadopoulou December 29 2013
The voice of Katerina Papadopoulou is well known to connoisseurs of Greek demotika (folk music). She and her wonderful cast of colleagues paint a beautiful and varied portrait of Greek songs that have an emotional depth that is sure to enrapture anyone who will give it their full attention. The styles that Katerina traverses is as impressive as it is delightful, taking the listener through an array of regions and musical textures with a satisfying diversity of emotions and sounds.
Katerina attained recognition long ago for her series of Traditional music TV broadcasts, Lalitades, her Rebetiko renditions, In Remembrance of Beautiful Times, as well as her CD of songs from Meli, tragoudakia mou poulo, released in 2002 and voted best CD of 2002 for Greek traditional music by the music magazine, Echo & artis.
The album starts off with a lovely version of I cracked a small almond, which begins a cappella and and then invites the listener to enjoy the whole ensemble. That ensemble is made up of a star cast of sensitive veterans of Greek and Armenian music, beginning with Ara Dinkjian, perhaps best known for his band, Night Ark, and the multi-platinum hit, Dinata, which was performed in the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The CD takes us from Drama, in Eastern Macedonia, to Crete, to West Pontus and then finally via a sweetly rendered unaccompanied song to the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean, through which we can really perceive the pure quality of Katerina's voice and her delicate phrasing. The last song is a traditional wedding song from Nisyros with its slightly angular phrasing and parallel 5ths that have remain unchanged for centuries.
Katerina is also joined by the late Nikos Papazoglou (who passed away in 2011, not long after the CD was recorded). Listeners will remember him with his signature red bandana as one of the World Music scene's most recognizable figures who helped to popularize Greek music in Europe and beyond with his band, Loxi falaga and the countless Greek and international hits he penned.
The lyra playing of Sokratis Sinopoulos is such a pleasure to listen to with the creative and attentive interplay with Katerina and also with Ara. It is both supportive and exciting at the same time. The most recent project of notice for Sokratis is his groundbreaking jazz collaboration with Charles Lloyd.
The rest of the line-up is star-studded as well, and the resulting collaboration is one of supreme subtlety, nuance and diversity. Drawing In An Almond remains traditional to the end, completely acoustic, with a recorded clarity that allows the listener to enjoy all the timbres of the instruments and voice in their full unadorned beauty. It is a wonderful presentation of Katerina Papadopoulou's art as well as a meaningful and colorful collaboration of some of the shining lights of the World Music landscape.