HomeCultureGreek virtuoso duet from Istanbul to make Australian debut

Greek virtuoso duet from Istanbul to make Australian debut

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Sydney-based Melisma Ensemble, and its director Dimitri Koubaroulis, are bringing NikoTeini duet from Istanbul to Australia for their debut tour.

NikoTeini consists of and is named after world-class Greek musicians Nikos Papageorgiou and Asineth Fotini Kokkala. Nikos plays the lavta (Istanbul lute) and Fotini, the kanun (zithe). Βoth instruments rarely heard in the Australian contemporary music scene.

Inspired by the traditional music of Greece and Turkey, as well as contemporary compositions written especially for them, NikoTeini will be joining Melisma Ensemble on a journey of Greek urban folk and Anatolian melodies, for one night only in Sydney on March 3. As a duet they will also be touring Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmania organised by the Greek Fringe.

Nikos and Fotini said the following on the Sydney concert.

“Hailing from Greece and living in Constantinople (Istanbul), we play and sing music that we love from the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean,” they said.

“Our story started in 2019, when we began to study music together. During Covid lockdowns, we decided to share our music every Monday through our YouTube channel.

“These videos, made with as simple technical means as a mobile phone, are essentially a demonstration of the simplicity and immediacy which represent us. Thus, for at least two years through our continuous presence, we have maintained contact with our audience.

“The repertoire we engage with is mostly classical or folk modal music traditions from different eras and regions; mainly those of Greece and Turkey. Additionally, we often get involved with newer compositions that we love and which suit our style.

“Our journey led us to the need for a new YouTube channel section, called “NikoTeini & friends”. In it, we feature musicians we appreciate and collaborate with, such as Antonis Apergis, Apostolos Sideris, İsmail İlgün, Alexia Mouza, Efren Lopez and others.

“Our most recent YouTube channel section (called “NikoTeini & composers”) is an invitation and a challenge at the same time which we pose to musicians and composers of styles different to our own. We present music they write specifically for our duet, which creates a novel type of interaction.

“Coming to Australia we will have the pleasure of collaborating with Melisma Ensemble under the direction of our beloved Dimitri Koubaroulis.“

Melisma Ensemble is a Sydney-based group which performs Byzantine Chant and music from the art and folk traditions of Greece, and the broader Eastern Mediterranean region.

Among the aims of the group is to make these rich musical traditions more accessible to the Australian public while providing an opportunity for enthusiasts to connect, enjoy and learn about them in a meaningful and creative way.

Dimitri Koubaroulis, founder and director of Melisma, is a chanter and teacher of Byzantine Chant and folk music with a special interest in the music of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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