various artists,
The Best of Greece, Vol. 3
(ARC, 2001)

The Best of Greece, Vol. 3 contains 13 tracks that are sure to appeal to any fans of music from this Eastern Mediterranean country. Some of the selections are traditional, but most are contemporary with a traditional feel. The work of four bands and individuals is showcased here -- Romiosini, Talking to Charos, Michalis Terzis and Kriteos.

Most of the tunes have a folky dance appeal. The beat is generally fast-paced, although there are a few slower songs on the CD. The music, in general, gives me the impression of what might be played at a typical Greek wedding reception or similar gathering. Even if you are not familiar with specific Greek tunes, I am sure that most of you have heard enough Greek music in movies and television over the years so that much of the sound will at least be vaguely familiar.

My favorite of the four acts is Talking to Charos. Vivienne Dogan Corringham provides some sultry vocals as she sings in the Rembetika style (also known as "Greek blues"). The urban folk music Talking to Charos plays has a heavy Turkish influence. The main instrument is the bouzouki (a stringed instrument played like a guitar). Their sound is rounded out with the baglama (another stringed instrument), accordion and tuba.

The individual with the biggest impact on this CD is Kriteos (or "the Cretan"). Atonios Kassotakis is from the island of Crete. He is known for not only his singing, but also his talent on the laouto (yet another stringed instrument), bouzouki and lyre. Kriteos is also part of the band Romiosini ("Greekness"). In all, he contributes to seven of the 13 tracks presented here.

The liner notes are pretty interesting. The CD was created in the UK. The information is presented in English, Dutch and Spanish. Either I have missed something or the inside data is generic to each volume in this series. A group called the Athenians is mentioned, yet they do not have a song on the CD. The only connection I can readily make is that at least one of the selections on this CD was composed by one of the members of the Athenians.

The Best of Greece, Vol. 3 gives you a pretty decent overview of four musicians/bands. The music is lively and entertaining. While not the best CD I have heard, it is a pretty decent addition to my world music collection. The music has a certain appeal that I think would spread to a wide audience. It is at least worth checking out to see if you agree.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 20 July 2002