THE ATHENS CONCERT HALL - MEGARON MOUSIKIS
ATHINON: ANDREAS GEORGIOU AND THE ETHNIC JAZZ TRADITION
The music of Andeas Georgiou is placed in the
framework of the so-called ethnic jazz implying a form of
ethnic music which incorporates elements from the traditions
of several musical cultures such as:
- Melodic, harmonic and rhythmic features and often loans
of unedited traditional melodies.
- Traditional musical instruments. Georgiou has been experimenting
extensively with the use of various traditional instruments
in his own music such as, among others, the Greek tambura,
the Cretan mantoura, the Cyprian pithkiavli, the Indian
sitar and shahnay and the African sansa.
- The different approach of the very act of a musical performance
(i.e. the importance of the season of the year and the time
of the day during which a raga should be played to the people
It is important to be stressed right from the outset that
the use of the above elements is by no means binding. The
objective pursued is not the precise production of the music
patterns but the expansion of expressive potential and the
enrichment of the final musical output.
A distinctive feature of ethnic music is the freedom of
use as regards the material that is summoned up. When traditional
music is played in its authentic mode it is not ethnic music.
It is instead the so-called world music.
The ethnic approach on jazz dates back to the end of the
50s. The first substantial ethnic approach was the so-called
bosa nova, a new Latin American rhythm created by Joao Gilberto
The success of the "'Orfeu negro" film, which
was released in the 50s, contributed to the popularity and
the dissemination of this rhythm as well as of the Latin
American music in general. In the same year, Gilberto released
the epic album "Chega de sausade" introducing
bosa nova, a new kind of more relaxed samba combined with
lush jazz harmonies.
This new rhythm had soon a major impact. However, it is
most important the fact that this turn toward Brazil's music
signalled the beginning of the study of other musical cultures
such as Africa's and India's which eventually had a considerable
influence to the western world.
All the above had a significant impact on Georgiou's music,
too. His collaboration with Airto Moreira , the leading
Brazilian percussionist, is most crucial. Africa is echoed
in many of his compositions as it is often evidenced by
the titles of his works. Andreas has been definitively influenced
by India's cosmic approach to the origin of the universe.
Nevertheless, if the ethnic approach to music is characterized
by the tendency for experimentation, this tendency in Georgiou's
music is not limited only by the traditional ethnic aesthetics
but it expands to encompassing many other elements. His
experimentation with various instruments, which is generated
by the need for the expansion of the expressive potential
of his music, is distinctive.
As already said, Georgiou uses to this purpose various traditional
instruments. Yet, the most important one was the construction
of a guitar which he invented.
In his own words: "Almost from the beginning of my
career, in 1980, I had set certain goals. As a result in
1982 I invented my own 16-string guitar. This guitar did
not exist anywhere until that time. I had contemplated on
how I should apply certain harmonic systems as well as produce
multiple rhythms at the same time so that the guitar could
assume a different identity [...] It's just a different
instrument which in fact I had been studying for many years
[...] Still new questions were raised again and again such
as: what could be the configuration or the arrangement of
the strings so to speak. Thus I experimented with different
Georgiou's tendency for exploring different music capabilities
finds a wider expression in the sector of orchestration
whereas his relevant musical pursuits have been developing
from album to album.
In conclusion, his music is characterised by the harmonious
co-existence of influences from different worlds (each one
of which he explores in its entirety):
- From jazz with its intensive rhythms and the ingenious
improvisation which is based on the utilization of any musical
- From traditional music.
- From classical European music, where his music is rooted,
as it is often the case in contemporary jazz. His studies
include also Byzantine music, which is a form of eastern
classical music, an element that is easily detected in his
In general, Georgiou's music relies primarily on the rhythmic
element insomuch that it calls to mind rather the traditional
jazz although it's sound is quite different.
His compositions, which are dominated by the melodic element,
are fewer. Their inner strength though is far greater. Their
essential asset is the use of simple melodies which render
greater immediacy. Besides, artistic creation aims at approaching
simplicity which characterises whatever is beautiful.
GUITAR SUMMIT: ANDREAS GEORGIOY
Although Andreas Georgiou's performance drifts
from acoustic guitars (of 15 or 16 strings) to the electric
guitar, from solo to the small ensemble as well as the free-traditional
jazz mix of the 80s (including the dual aspect of the jazz
of this period) he seems to disregard this transition. The
process he follows is characterized especially by his sense
of listening, dialogue and a tendency to search for (and find)
a natural ecology of sounds.
JEAN-CLAUDE QUEROY, "ECOUTER
VOIR" musical magazine
MARDEL JAZZ: AIRES
[...] This is the case of Andreas Georgiou, who has marvelously
depicted this primeval music which diffuses its resonances
in various cultures of the Old World.
Andreas, using different guitars (acoustic and electric) along
with the Indian sitar, the shahnay, the African mbira, marimbula
and various percussion instruments, dives into the roots of
the Greek modes in a rhythmic pulse which echoes dances of
Andreas returns with unction and merriment to this territory
which from the Aegean Sea was launched to the entire world
a music system that was enriched in the course of centuries.
It's a ceaseless back and forth, a miraculous journey guided
only by the hand of the chosen.
Mar del Jazz seems to find in this group of the protagonists
its reason of existence.
Rene Vargas Vera
"LA NACION" ARGENTINA