KOMPANÍA
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KOMPANÍA

Athene, Attica, Greece | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Athene, Attica, Greece | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
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"Wild und archaisch"

Werner Leiss
KOMPANÍA are from Athens. The band’s métier is the recreation of rebétiko, a musical style that originated in micro Asia and after the flight of the Greek population spread out through the subcultures of Piraeus , Athens and Thessaloniki. Besides they occupy themselves with the music that was played in the café’s of the former city of Smyrna, now named Izmir: smyrneïka.
Katerina Tsiridou does not only posses a voice that is at the same time warm, powerful and expressive, she also studied classical piano, guitar and baglamas. She is, like the other members a fixed entity in the Greek music scene. With KOMPANÍA they are now also present internationally. Exactly only six months after the release of their highly praised excellent debut album “KOMPANÍA Live!, the band went into a studio this time to record their new work ‘Round Trip”. Here they succeed again, without loss of identity, to create an authentic, unpolished atmosphere, wild and archaic.
(translated by l. Schrievers)
KOMPANÍA
Round Trip
Chara Production
In Südwind Magazine für internationale Politik, Kultur und Entwicklung 02/2014
http://www.suedwind-magazin.at/start.asp?ID=256395&rubrik=15&ausg=201402 - Werner Leiss


"KOMPANÍA – ROUND TRIP"

Review ROOTSTIME (December 2013) by Dani Heyvaert
KOMPANÍA – ROUND TRIP
I admit, I was unfamiliar with this young Greek gang’s live debut album and so this second release, recorded in a studio situation was a first taste. Let me start out with the conclusion that this acquaintance was a very agreeable one indeed. In former days the group went by the name “Katerina Tsiridou & Kompania” and I happen to have cd material of that lady around, so the music was not completely new to me; all the more because over the years I developed quite a weak spot for anything that has to do with rebétiko, the Greek blues. On the cd cover they mention that they also play so called Smyrneïka music. Now I don’t remember much Greek but Smyrna appears to me to be the Greek name for what we know as Izmir these days (and) so Smyrneïka is the music of the Greek exiles, a cabaretesque genre that was brought to us, amongst others, by the great Rosa Eskenazi. The same Roza Eskenazi who happens to be the composer of the opening song of this record. “Arapina Mou Skertsoza”, a love song for a girl with beautiful black eyes whose whims the narrator would gladly submit to forever. So love. And passion…two universal and favorite topics in music.
Kostas Skarvelis is the second big shot KOMPANÍA is borrowing from: his ”Erinaki” is about an unrequited love of a man for a woman who doesn’t even look at him. That, dear reader, we call The Blues. Vasilis Tsitsanis’”Ta Xena Cheria” gets a treatment, a song about an orphan’s fate to end up in ‘he hands of strangers’. “Ta Mandala” is also by Tsitsanis.
In other words, the members of KOMPANÍA have respect for their great ancestors and are part of the tradition that was built by these people. This is also noticeable by renditions of songs by bouzouki master Apostolos Chatzichristos or the well-known “O Pinóklis” which was borrowed from Dimosthenis Zattas.
I could run through every song but I’m afraid it won’t do you much good. I can do you a much better service by recommending to listen to this record at least one time. You will hear a bunch of very gifted musicians and singers who try, in a fitting way, to breathe new life into the songs they inherited from their forefathers. I have not heard the band live yet, but I imagine that a KOMPANÍA concert can be quite an experience. Highly recommended for everyone who wants to get further acquainted with the music of the Greek worker.
www.rootstime.be - ROOTSTIME (December 2013) by Dani Heyvaert


"KOMPANÍA - ROUND TRIP"

The Greek ensemble KOMPANÍA recorded their new album “Round Trip”. An excellent follower from their debut “KOMPANÍA Live!”. A daring, innovative and very original variation on the rebétiko and smyrneïka after the revival of the 70’s. KOMPANÍA shows a musical round trip through a wonderful piece of Europe.
KOMPANÍA started in 2011 in Athens and plays the Greek rebétiko and smyrneïka. Those days derived after the exodus from Izmir (Turkey) to Greece at the end of the 19th century. Music of the poor people accompanied on the baglama. KOMPANÍA adds a few ‘new’ instruments like the accordion, (slide) guitar and several percussion instruments to create a more progressive style. We hear Greek music but also Turkish and Jewish (Sefardic) and even folk elements. All hide in between the tones, like a silk-screen and always with the Greek music in the front. A lot of new composed music we hear on ‘Round Trip’, sung by Katerina Tsiridou, Sotiris Papatragiannis and Dimitras Kranidas, with a striking Kranidas because of his beautiful (Turkish) voice ornamentation. The music is played and sung with a gorgeous musical diction. Apart as well are the guest musicians Ulas Aksunger and slide-guitarist Loek Schrievers, who is also the recording engineer and producer of the album. This Greek group proves that rebétiko is still alive and full in development.

www.musicframes.nl - Review in MUSICFRAMES by Mattie Poels 2014-01-05


"KOMPANÍA-ROUND TRIP CHARA Chara 2013-2"

Kompanía are back less than a year since
their previous release, Kompanía Live and
they take us on a Round Trip journey of
rebetika and smyrneika songs. Four of the
album’s thirteen tracks are traditional and
the other nine are by composers like Tsitsanis,
Toundas and Eskenazi.
The album starts with a gentle tsifteteli
Arapína Mou Skertsóza sung by Katerina
Tsiridou. Erináki is a slow song about unrequited
love with heartbreaking lead vocal by
Sotiris Papatragiannis, beautifully accompanied
by Giannis Kalafatelis on accordeon,
Loek Schrievers on slide guitar and then the
resonator guitar and guitar of Dimitris
Kranidas and Nikos Protopapas picking up
the rhythm to turn it into a hasaposerviko,
lightening the atmosphere, though the love
remains unrequited.
O Pinóklis is one of my favourites with
faster rhythm and tragicomic lyrics. The slide
guitar intro is reminiscent of Nashville, but
we’re actually en route from the port of
Pireus to New York. I have never heard the
name Tsoklis (it comes from Themistokles),
but this song is the anthem of a true mangas,
the strong cool guy who’s sadly taken the
wrong path in life and lost his money at
cards. Kranidas’ singing and the brilliant and
witty lyrics make this a true diamond.
Chanoumáki is a karsilamas dance with
an upbeat rhythm that should get you dancing,
although the album is otherwise fairly
laid-back.
Two more favourites are Pame Sta
Bouzoukia and the more serious Ksipnó Ke
Vlépo Sídera (Ta Mandala). Don’t be afraid of
the long titles, the accompanying booklet has
short descriptions of each song with titles in
roman characters and English translations.
Matia Mou (San Pas Sta Kséna) was sung
in the past by Domna Samiou, Glykeria and
Chronis Aidonidis, and now Kranidas gives his
extraordinary interpretation. The final track
Thalassáki Mou is one of the most beautiful
ballads on this album, with Tsiridou again
showing her vocal range and powers.
Round Trip is by musicians that live and
breathe rebetika and who have chosen less
well-known songs. Beautifully arranged, with
the voices of Tsiridou, Papatragiannis and
Kranidas yet again capturing that authentic
sound of rebetika and Greek blues to the soul
and bone. Wonderful percussions by Ulas
Aksunger too.
www.kompania.gr
Elisavet Sotiriadou - fROOTS by Elisavet Sotiriadou


"KOMPANÍA biographies"

Katerina Tsirídou - vocal/baglamas /zills
From an early age Katerina learned the classical piano, folk guitar and baglamas. Her talent and astonishing voice led her to performing with some of the brightest stars in the Greek folk music scene from a very early age. Some of these performers are; Stellios Vamvakaris, Takis Binis, Babis Tsertos, Babis Golles, Agathonas, Giorgos Xydaris amongst many others. She has also collaborated with bluesmen like Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo in projects marrying blues with rebétika. She has innumerable television performances and has travelled extensively including concert tours of Northern Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.A. Katerina is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest rebétika singers, male or female, of her generation. In 2009 she released her first solo cd by the title Kismét. Her second solo cd was released in 2012 by the title Opou ki an íse yírise. Both cd’s produced by Nikos Protópapas and published by General Music. She has participated at innumerable recordings of others. Katerina & Nikos host a rebétiko radio program for 2 hours every Saturday.

Dimitris Kranídas - vocal/bouzouki/oud/baglamas

Singer, bouzouki and ûd player spent many years immersing himself in musical training and studies. He has gained a reputation for his fine vocal improvisation and solo work on both instruments. His training began at the school of traditional music of the late, great santouri player Aristidi Moschou and continued with ûd tutelage under the guidance of the ûd master Yurdal Toksan. He has played at all of the important ‘rebetadika’ in Athens while his talents and the unique color of his playing has lead him to play concerts worldwide including; Turkey, South Africa, France and Norway etc. He has performed and recorded with many of the biggest names currently on the Greek music scene such as, Agathonas, Babis Golles, Sophia Kolitiri, Babis Tsertos, Theodoro Polykantrioti, Katerina Tsiridou, Giorgos Xydaris and others.

Sotiris Papatragiánnis - vocal/baglamas/percussion
(contact band: sotirisart@yahoo.gr)
Since his early years, he was enchanted by the “rebétiko” music. He is a self-taught musician and singer. At the age of 15, he started singing and playing the guitar and a few years later he started playing the baglamás. Since 1997 he has worked alone or with various bands, singing "rebétika" and "smyrneïka" in most "rebetadika" and music halls of Athens, and also at many concerts throughout Greece and Europe (Holland, Belgium). He was in charge of the music program of the rebétiko music hall “Misirlou” for two seasons (2005/06-2006/07). He has by now worked with some of the most important people of the “rebétiko”, like: Spyros Liósis, Kostas Kaldáras, Agathonas Iakovídis, Giorgos Xindáris, Stelios Vamvakáris, Michalis Zampétas, Nikos Tatasópoulos, Manolis Páppos, Manolis Dimitrianákis, Christos Konstantínou, Spyros Polykandriótis, Lela Papadópoulou, Katerina Tsirídou, Nikolas Sýros, Thymios Stouraïtis, Antonis Ainítis, Dimitris Kranídas, Giannis Papavasiliou (Vlahos) and many others, as well as with the “shadow theatre” players Thanasis & Kostas Spyropoulos and Ilias Karellas, for a number of common appearances. He has published one solo cd, by the title "Romantza", produced by "General music" and "8th Nota". He has also participated at various cd’s of other rebétiko recordings.

Nikos Protópapas - guitar/b. vocal
The guitar is the backbone of any good rebétika band and there is no finer player than Nikos Protópapas. Nikos has been playing guitar professionally since 1984. He quickly gained a reputation for being one of the finest of the new generation of players. Hence he became the preferred guitarist of some of the best rebétika and folk singer of the past 30 years including; Agáthonas Iakovídis, Babis Gollés, Katerina Tsirídou, Stellios Vamvakáris, Iouanna Georgakópoulou, Giannis Lebésis, Manolis Dimitrianákis, Babis Tsértos to name a few. He has also collaborated with bluesmen Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo in projects marrying blues with rebétika and worked with the Swedish group ‘The Meraklidhes’. He has also recorded extensively with artists such as Babis Gollés, Agáthonas and Dimitri Efthasíou amongst others.

Tzimis Gkinis - accordeon
Tzimis Gkinis was born in Plomari of Lesvos island. He has been living in Athens since 1983.He studied graphics designing .He has been occupying himself with playing the accordion since he was 10 years old. He started working professionally as a musician in 1991 with groups that played Greek traditional music and particularly he occupied himself with the music tradition of Lesvos and Minor Asia. Since 1993 he has been cooperating with well-known artists of rebetiko and folk music such as Opisthodromiki kompania, Babis Goles, Melina Kana, Giannis Kotsiras, Sofia Papazoglou, Giannis Stamatiou(Sporos), Nikos Protopapas, Antonis Apergis etc. in music stages, concerts and music TV and radio shows. He has taken part in discography of many artists` discs such as Opisthodromiki, Giorgos Dalaras, Kostas Kaplanis, Christiana, Katerina Tsiridou etc. Since 2010 he has been a permanent musician of the Athens Bar(Lawyers`)Association`s choir. Since 2013 he joined KOMPANÍA.

KOMPANÍA released in 2012 (7-11-2012) a live cd, titled KOMPANÍA live! Recorded during their touring through Netherlands & Belgium in 2012. In February 2013 this cd entered the top 5 of the WMCE and recently reached the top 50 of the YEAR 2013 WMCE!!

And now there’s within a year a next album ROUND TRIP , this time recorded in a studio (XAPAaudio-Gendt NL) with guest musicians Loek Schrievers (also producer) on slide guitar and Ulas Aksunger on percussion. The cd is number 7 in the top 10 WMCE in January 2014!! - charamanagement


"GOOD NEWS FROM GREECE - top artists of rembetika & smyrneika"

GREECE and its music, specially rembetika and smyrneika, I just love it. As simple as that! The music is rich in scales and rhythms, comes straight from the heart and appeals to a diverse range of emotions. And along with the music one goes with these emotions. And let’s not forget the intense dancing as various as the music. Joy and grief, they find their way in music and dance. Being a Northerner I consider this pure richness. So it will not surprise you that I tried to enjoy Greek music and dance as much as possible through the years. I heard a lot of Greek artists and many of them made a great impression, but one group always stuck out for me; a band I would always want to hear whenever I had the chance to pay a visit to the Athens club circuit. They are a new generation who keep rebetiko music alive and they belong to the top. For many years the individual members accompanied a great number of famous older generation rebetiko artists in and outside Greece. They like musical adventure resulting in cooperations with blues artists like Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo. But as friends they always played with this band of their own, simply called KOMPANÍA . The level of playing is very high; it’s an “all star group” but more important, they are a real “band” with a lot of dedication, stunning solo and harmony vocals (3 great voices), competent in rebetika & smyrneïka. In fact I was so impressed that I wanted them to be heard outside Greece as well. Non-Greek people should get the chance to enjoy their music too! I organized their first tour in Holland/Belgium in May 2012 (at that time named 'Katerina Tsiridou & Kompania' and it turned out to be a huge success with most impressive and sympathetic performances. Fortunately we recorded one of the concerts and a cd titled KOMPANÍA Live! could be released in November 2012. In February 2013 the cd entered the TOP 5 of the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE). www.kompania.gr - CHARA by Margot Schenk


"KOMPANÍA Live! *****"

Singer Katerina Tsirídou studied classical piano, guitar and baglamas. At an early age she played with well known musicians from the Greek folk scene like Stelios Vamvakaris, Takis Binis and Babis Tsertos. But she also has connected with Louisiana Red and Jolly Jumper and merged blues with rembetika. On this cd you can hear live recordings with the group KOMPANÍA which consists of four more musicians.
With baglama, ûd, accordion, bouzouki, guitar and percussion the music moves through the highs and lows of life. So much expression, so wild, so archaic, so existential, this is music from Greece without holiday romanticism. KOMPANÍA certainly stands for a honest, authentic, unpolished interpretation of the rembetika repertoire. - CONCERTO by Leiss


"The songs of the Greek subculture in Athens – rembetika- and those from the oriental café’s of Smyrna/Izmir – smyrneïka - are presented by the Athens quintet in a most impressive manner"

FOLKER April 2013

The songs of the Greek subculture in Athens – rembetika- and those from the oriental café’s of Smyrna/Izmir – smyrneïka - are presented by the Athens quintet in a most impressive manner. Excellent lead and harmony vocals as well as great performances on lute type instruments such as the baglamas, bouzouki and ûd and also on accordion are merged into an extremely intensive atmosphere with high level playing. - Folker


"You don’t need an education in ancient Greek/Latin or an evening course in modern Greek to enjoy the expressive vocals and the emotional layers in the songs performed by the relatively young group ‘KOMPANÍA’"

You don’t need an education in ancient Greek/Latin or an evening course in modern Greek to enjoy the expressive vocals and the emotional layers in the songs performed by the relatively young group ‘KOMPANÍA’. The way fado is connected with Portugal, rembetika as a form of music is closely intertwined with the bluesy Greek music that spread two centuries ago from a.o. Piraeus harbor, mainly through the circuit of café’s where refugees got together. The five peace group KOMPANÍA prefers playing this originally underground music. Last year the band made quite an impression with their live concerts in the Netherlands/Belgium and in November at the ‘Bruges‘ festival. The magic that showed then can also be heard on this live album – a registration of the May 6th 2012 concert at the Lutheran Church in Nijmegen (NL), including the enthusiastic applause and the introduction of the band’s members.
Katerína Tsirídou takes care of the vocals together with Dimítris Kranídas , who also plays bouzouki and Arabic lute- and Sotíris Papatragiánnis, also playing baglamas – a miniature bouzouki- and percussion. The singers sometimes join together in harmony like in the beautiful opening song ‘O Macharagiás’. Níkos Protópapas plays guitar and Giánnis Kalafatélis accordion. Three solo voices, harmonies and the sometimes oriental sound make this a varied album while in your fantasy you place yourself in the tekés or taverns where the musicians let themselves go in their comforting music: either melancholic songs about life or dance music. KOMPANÍA´s musicians know perfectly well how to deal with these different moods, like in the stirring and moving ´Barbagiannakákis´ with its mysterious intro, the lament of ´Romántza´, the sparkling ´Misirlou´ or the passionate ´Acharisti´. In quite a few songs you can hear a Turkish influence which makes it all more universal.
The bluesy layer is integrated within the songs. By the way both Katerina and Nikos have played with Louisiana Red and Bob Brozman. All the band´s members have been involved in the gamut of Greek music for a long time before they decided to join forces in a ´company´.
Katerina released several solo records just like Sotiris. That you cannot understand the words does not really matter, you can still trace the poetry as well as the joy and the longing analog to the weather beaten path that a long time ago prompted the refugees to the café´s hoping to find warmth and company or to numb their sorrow. But festive and dance music are part of Greek culture too with at the core infectious bouzouki riffs and percussion. This album reproduces the live atmosphere well in which the joy of playing, comradeship and a strong connection with the Greek folk tradition go hand in hand. KOMPANÍA will be touring again soon (April-May 2013) , so you can see them in action. - ROOTSTIME – review by Marcie


"THE ‘LIVE!’ REBÉTIKA by KOMPANÍA"

The Greek rembetiko group KOMPANÍA, formed around singer Katerina Tsirídou, were touring the Netherlands in the spring of 2012. The cd ‘Live!’ is a registration of one of their concerts, recorded at the Lutherian Church in Nijmegen and it offers a compilation of special rembetika & smyrneïka (music from the café Amans of Smyrna and Istanbul).
In the early 20th century rembetiko music originated in Thessaloniki and Athens (Pireaus: Athens harbor); music played by refugees from Izmir in Turkey. Accompanying themselves on baglamas, santur (cither) and violin, they sang about life on the fringes of society: life in exile, the loneliness, poverty and especially missing loved ones. In the thirty’s the image of rebétiko changed and it became the music of the tekés, the café’s. The government was dead against this development; tekés were closed and rebétiko was outlawed. But in the late seventies there is a revival in Athens with a.o. Eleftheria Arvanitakis and slowly rebétiko becomes a familiar sound within the Greek music culture.
The group KOMPANÍA with singer Katerina Tsirídou, connects with this late 70’s revival. Tsirídou has a powerful and flamboyant voice and she is assisted by a.o. singer-instrumentalists Sotiris Papatragiánnis and Dimitris Kranídas with whom she delivers a perfect rebétiko emotion, especially when they are singing together. Conspicuously not all songs are performed on bouzouki and/or baglamas. We hear a very well-balanced mix highlighting also accordion and even the ûd (Arabic lute). KOMPANÍA creates completely her own sound, where profundity is easily replaced by playful lyricism and splendid perceptible dynamics. It’s too bad that every song on the album ends with applause; logically because it’s a live recording, but the applause sounds so far away and so hollow, in contradiction with the music that sounds so close and warm.
Although the members of the group have been playing together for years KOMPANÍA was officially formed during the fall of 2011. Years ago they were ‘discovered’ by Margôt Schenk and Loek Schrievers (both members of Palio-Paréa) who decided the band should build a name outside Greece resulting in the tour through the Netherlands & Belgium in 2012. Another tour is planned during April/May 2013 and more concerts will follow in 2014.
2013-01-17 - Mattie Poels, music journalist


"KOMPANÍA Live!: Rebétika – Smyrneïka From Athens"

KOMPANÍA
Live!: Rebétika – Smyrneïka From Athens CHARA 2012-1

How does the Maharaja song become the opening track on an album of Greek rembetika and Smyrna music? The fact is that in the ‘50s and ‘60s Greece’s popular music was very much influenced, inspired and captivated by Bollywood cinema and its soundtrack so it may actually be no wonder that Maharaja from the early ‘50s is on a rembetika album after all. But even with the Indian reference here, KOMPANÍA’s Rebétika – Smyrneïka From Athens brings me back to the koutouki atmosphere, an underground, cramped den with rembetika music, meze, retsina and great company.
This live album, however, is recorded in Belgium’s N9 Villa club and not in a Greek smoke-filled joint so maybe the reason the sound has this authentic Greek wisdom is because this same venue has hosted punk, jazz and a wide variety of anti-establishment music before. But back to the band – that’s what Kompanía means – and the characteristic depth of Katerina Tsiridou’s voice who, together with the two lead singers Dimitris Kranidas and Sotiris Papatragiannis and musicians Yiannis Kalafatelis and Nikos Protopapas, creates a truly vintage style rembetika album. Of course the reason the album has this quality not only in sound but in music as well is because all five musicians on board follow the same direction and they are simply brilliant at what they do. Their musicianship, harmony and synchronization are flawless and cool, as KOMPANÍA sticks to the traditional and original version of these songs. There are no surprises or modernizations here of these famous rembetika pieces which are composed and written by Toundas, Tsitsanis and Peristeris to mention a few.
This album is a lovely introduction to some of the best known rembetika songs like Garsóna about the best waitress in the world who waters down the wine to earn a few extra quid; Misirlou and Of Amán about drinking and thus getting drunk, and Hatzí Baxés with references to the sweet doll from Thessaloniki, the baglama and Tsitsanis himself. Another point of trivia is that Katerina Tsiridou plays the baglama, check her out on youtube clips!
www.kompania.gr
Elisavet Sotiriadou - fROOTS - Elisavet Sotiriadou


"REMBETIKO SURVIVES AGAIN AND AGAIN"

REMBETIKO SURVIVES AGAIN AND AGAIN
Today Razzmatazz presents a special, extra concert. The famous Greek group KOMPANÍA played the Bruges Festival Friday night and visits Oost-Souburg before heading home.
By: Renée de Dreu
The combination of underground and music often points at inimitable, renewing and rebellious movements which are too obscure and avant-garde to be at ease with. “Rebellious-that certainly applies to the lyrics of our music” states Sotiris Papatragiánnis. “The words are simple and direct and they refer to basic things in human life. It always boils down to existence and survival.” ‘Our music’ means rembétika, the form of Greek folk music that has its roots in the beginning of the last century. Papatragiánnis sings, plays percussion and baglamas with KOMPANÍA, a group of musical friends from Athens that reverts to the roots of rembétika music and the different influences that affected it. “Even if we look back at musical traditions, rembétika is still stigmatized with a sense of ‘underground’, meanwhile with lots of masterpieces though.”
KOMPANÍA is a five-piece group, all born musicians with singer Katerina Tsirídou as figurehead. Guitar, accordion, zills and especially the stringed instruments baglamas, bouzouki and ûd define the sound of rembétika. “Thanks to the tradition (which was passed on through the generations) the music from the outskirts of the cities still exists”, Papatragiánnis says. “Athens has a lively club circuit where a lot of rembétika can still be heard. No big concert halls, but clubs where musicians, instrumentalists and singers get together and play”.
Club owners in Athens don’t book bands; they usually invite individual musicians to play together for a certain period of time. The five members of KOMPANÍA met in this circuit. “We were on the same wave-length, three solo voices that also harmonize well and the freedom to experiment and at the same time stay close to the originals as well.”
The latter Papatragiánnis almost sees as a responsibility. “There is no rembétika museum or such thing, so by playing as a group in this style we take part in that assignment. Rembétiko, also called the Greek blues, in its early days was not music by poets or professional musicians. The name of the writers of many of the songs from the early period were hardly known. “Not until the second part of the last century the names of the songwriters begin to show up and the music evolves.”
In rembétika there is joy and there is sadness. Music that in contrast with, for instance, Portuguese fado was never embraced by some dictatorial or colonel regime. So there was censure ship in periods when democracy was lost in Greece. “There were adjustments in the lyrics, but it also generated an extra social and rebellious vitality. Rembétiko survives again and again because of the power of the music and in times of crisis, when the term cultural demolition comes to mind, it’s the mission of musicians to express that power.”
Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant 2012-11-10 - Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant 2012-11-10


"Katerína Tsirídou & KOMPANIA in De Villa of N9 in Eeklo (Be) on 2012-05-04"

“….whoever expected this Friday May 4th, to pass in mournfulness was wrong. The lively high spirits radiating from this rebétika concert amply beat any sense of defeatism…rarely have we seen N9´s audience go crazy like this. And with good reason. We know many outstanding solo artists who cherish the old rebétika but as often as not the shoe pinches in the accompaniment and framework department. It is not so that the individual musicians playing in these groups are necessarily of lesser quality but that their ensemble playing leaves much to be desired, that they lack coherence. This company (built around Katerína Tsirídou) is a different story, not only does the line-up count three excellent lead singers (who can also harmonize), moreover the five members play like one body in perfect unity……”. Antoine Légat 2012-5-8 - Antoine Légat 2012-5-8


""KOMPANÍA": The rembetika band, that spreads our folk music throughout Europe. Katerina, Sotiris, Dimitris and the other guys, give their "answer" through their melodic culture."

"KOMPANÍA": The rembetika band, that spreads our folk music throughout Europe. Katerina, Sotiris, Dimitris and the other guys, give their "answer" through their melodic culture.
KOMPANÍA means folk music band. It is, since the 19th century, a "hive" of original music culture, all over the Balkan region. This is the name, that a company of friends chose to give to their band, touring Europe! They are all significant performers of the traditional rembetika songs: Katerina Tsiridou: Vocals, Baglama, Zills - Sotiris Papatragiannis: Vocals, Baglama - Dimitris Kranidas: Vocals, Bouzouki, Oud - Nikos Protopapas: Guitar and Giannis Kalafatelis: Accordion. So, because people outside Greece tend to appreciate tradition and beauty, far more than the natives, who usually settle with non worthy, cheap-pop, by-products, the Dutch, without any delay, recorded the successful ‘KOMPANÍA’ concert and they released a cd, featuring 15 iconic rembetika songs! We asked them for a few words, about their admittedly beautiful work:
-Do the non-Greeks still appreciate the rembetika?
Some years ago, the rembetika songs, were more popular outside Greece, than nowadays! Nevertheless, so far, in every place that we played the theaters were full and more importantly, the love and the respect that we met, were unprecedented. It's a sad fact, that outside Greece, people respect the rembetika and the Greek tradition, far more than many Greeks.
-In your opinion, what is it that attracts the non Greeks and what do they understand in rembetika?
Even the people that don't speak Greek in order to understand the lyrics, they totally understand the spirit and the feeling of the songs, through the music and the renditions. Let's not forget that music is an international language, and especially folk and traditional music has no expiration date!!!
-Can the artists change the bad reputation Greece has for many people around the world these days?
Those who are really responsible for the present situation in Greece and around the world, make a big effort to pass on to the people, far more blame than what they deserve. So, it's not that easy to change people's way of thinking about Greece. It's a political issue and we don't have the means to change attitudes. Still I hope, that we give food for thought to some people, to think that besides money and numbers, people all over the world, produce some things far more important... They produce art, culture and ethics and these ideals are priceless!
-And what about the Greeks outside Greece?
These Greeks, of course, really need to keep in contact with their homeland and its tradition! It was unbelievable for us, when we first realized that some people did a three or four hours drive, just to come and attend our concert and then travel all their way back to their home, during the night! But in the end of every show, when they come to say hello to us, you can actually see in their faces, all the strength they have absorbed from the art and that's the most important and heartwarming earning of this journey...
By Ilias Voliotis - Kapetanakis, 06-01-2013
www.mousapolytropos.gr - By Ilias Voliotis - Kapetanakis, 06-01-2013


"“KOMPANÍA Live!”: Fine Greek music… made in Holland!"

“KOMPANÍA Live!”: Fine Greek music… made in Holland!
“…it’s a really marvelous work, which – without being ‘retro’- has solid roots in the past and succeeds (or at least I think so) to see in the face what we experience as modern day, each of us from his own rooftop or his own hole.
Because who can categorize in a certain era, the always young and beautiful, globetrotter ‘Misirlou’, which in this case has the good fortune to be expressed through the warm voice of Katerina Tsiridou? And furthermore, who can characterize as ‘past’ or even ‘present’ – one side only – the wonderful ‘Romantza’ of Roukounas, which, by the distinguishing Papatragiannis’ folk voice, makes you feel embarrassed that you allowed to your eyes to get wet (and not because of a sniffle…). And finally, what can you say about these guys who don’t hesitate – and they do well – to include in their folk repertoire also the classical, but not “hardcore” rembetiko, “Ala” by Michalis Souyioul, although there is an obvious danger to get criticized by some, “well-intentioned crusaders” of the rembetika “orthodoxy”?
In any case, the “KOMPANÍA – Live!” is a fine, well-made work and the fact that the songs are performed in a concert’s live setting instead of the glass safety of a recording studio, does not affect negatively the dynamics and the lyricism of the whole outcome. On the contrary, it injects a strong booster of authenticity and – keeping in mind the proportions – it brings to mind the old, glorious vinyl ‘Mia vradia stou Jimmy tou chondrou (One night at fat – Jimmy’s)’ with the unforgettable Marika Ninou. Also notice that the outside live recording, has no bad effect at all, either at the artists’ voices or the proper sound of the music instruments…”
By Othonas Tsounakos, 18-01-2013 - By Othonas Tsounakos, 18-01-2013


"“….One word could be enough to describe their performance: ‘magical’!!"

The group’s name may sound unassuming (kompanía means ‘band’) but in terms of music we are on a completely different level. One word could be enough to describe their performance: “magical”.
Of course they played material from their recent “KOMPANÍA Live!”CD, but there were also other, often classic rebétiko songs on the repertoire. Not only the musical level was very high, they also touched the audience visually; the interesting start of their set, with one musician on the stage playing and the others joining one by one, a song with three baglamades which felt very special and intimate. As the concert evolved, it grew in depth, atmosphere and of course audience involvement. Many of those present, including myself will remember this concert for a long time.”………

By Bobtje Blues 12-11-2012 www.bobtjeblues.com - www.bobtjeblues.com


"“KOMPANÍA played a concert that deserves a citation in the great tradition of the Bruges Festival”"

From reviews of KOMPANIA’s concert at the Bruges festival (Belgium) 9-11-2012:
“KOMPANIA played a concert that deserves a citation in the great tradition of the Bruges Festival”
“……..a different ball game was Friday’s top of the bill ‘KOMPANÍA’, a classic five-piece rebétiko line-up built around singers Katerína Tsirídou, Sotíris Papatragiánnis and singer- bouzoukiplayer Dimítris Kranídas. The start of the concert, presentation, choice of repertoire, set-building, skill, precision and finesse in the renditions, beautiful three or even four part harmony vocals, dynamics and the sheer joy of playing: they scored highly in all these segments. The beginning with Sotiris alone on stage, starting to play his baglamas into the devoted silence , slowly joined by the others…..This is in total contrast with the total visual inactivity of many Greek acts – something is happening! In other words: these people are ready to shine outside Hellas. Not only the presentation was excellent, inside the band things are in the right place too; the members have many other obligations, they play in different groups, take part in recording sessions; still they insist on working together as KOMPANÍA on a regular basis and embrace this old repertoire with love, passion and knowledge. What they are doing is not necessarily new, it’s a respectful contemporary rendition of what once was a living form of music, but this five piece band gives it a new soul, a transplant, which may keep it alive far into this century.”………. Antoine Legat 2012-5-8 - www.folkroddels.be


Discography

= KOMPANA live! released in 2012 (7-11-2012) a live cd. Recorded during their touring through Netherlands & Belgium in 2012. In February 2013 this cd entered the top 5 of the WMCE and recently reached the top 50 of the YEAR 2013 WMCE. 

= ROUND TRIP released Oktober 2013. This time recorded in a studio (XAPAaudio-Gendt NL) with guest musicians Loek Schrievers (also producer) on slide guitar and Ulas Aksunger on percussion. The cd is number 7 in the top 10  WMCE in January 2014!

Katerina Tsiridou released 2 solo cd's: title 'Kismet' (2010) and 'Opou ki an yirise' (2012).

Sotiris Papatragiannis released a solo cd 'Romandza' (2011).



Photos

Bio

Katerina Tsiridou - vocal/baglamas/zills From an early age Katerina learned the classical piano, folk guitar and baglamas. Her talent and astonishing voice led her to performing with some of the brightest stars in the Greek folk music scene from a very early age. Some of these performers are; Stellios Vamvakaris, Takis Binis, Babis Tsertos, Babis Golles, Agathonas, Giorgos Xydaris amongst many others. She has also collaborated with bluesmen like Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo in projects marrying blues with rebtika. She has innumerable television performances and has travelled extensively including concert tours of Northern Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.A. Katerina is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest rebetika singers, male or female, of her generation. In 2009 she released her first solo cd by the title Kismet. Her second solo cd was released in 2012 by the title Opou ki an se yirise. Both cds produced by Nikos Protpapas and published by General Music. She has participated at innumerable recordings of others. Katerina & Nikos host a rebetiko radio program for 2 hours every Saturday.
Dimitris Kranidas - vocal/bouzouki/oud/baglamas Singer, bouzouki and oud player spent many years immersing himself in musical training and studies. He has gained a reputation for his fine vocal improvisation and solo work on both instruments. His training began at the school of traditional music of the late, great santouri player Aristidi Moschou and continued with oud tutelage under the guidance of the oud master Yurdal Toksan. He has played at all of the important rebetadika in Athens while his talents and the unique color of his playing has lead him to play concerts worldwide including; Turkey, South Africa, France and Norway etc. He has performed and recorded with many of the biggest names currently on the Greek music scene
Sotiris Papatragiannis - vocal/baglamas/percussion (contact band: sotirisart@yahoo.gr) Since his early years, he was enchanted by the rebetiko music. He is a self-taught musician and singer. At the age of 15, he started singing and playing the guitar and a few years later he started playing the baglamas. Since 1997 he has worked alone or with various bands, singing "rebetika" and "smyrneika" in most "rebetadika" and music halls of Athens, and also at many concerts throughout Greece and Europe (Holland, Belgium).

Nikos Protopapas - guitar/b. vocal
The guitar is the backbone of any good rebetika band and there is no finer player than Nikos Protopapas. Nikos has been playing guitar professionally since 1984. He quickly gained a reputation for being one of the finest of the new generation of players. Hence he became the preferred guitarist of some of the best rebetika and folk singer of the past 30 years including; Agthonas Iakovidis, Babis Golles, Katerina Tsiridou, Stellios Vamvakaris, Iouanna Georgakopoulou, Giannis Lebesis, Manolis Dimitrianakis, Babis Tsertos to name a few. He has also collaborated with bluesmen Louisiana Red, Bob Brozmann, Jolly Jumper and Big Mo in projects marrying blues with rebetika and worked with the Swedish group The Meraklidhes. He has also recorded extensively with artists such as Babis Golles, Agathonas and Dimitri Efthasiou amongst others.

Tzimis Gkinis - accordeon
Tzimis Gkinis was born in Plomari of Lesvos island. He has been living in Athens since 1983.He studied graphics designing .He has been occupying himself with playing the accordion since he was 10 years old. He started working professionally as a musician in 1991 with groups that played Greek traditional music and particularly he occupied himself with the music tradition of Lesvos and Minor Asia. Since 1993 he has been cooperating with well-known artists of rebetiko and folk music Since 2013 he joined KOMPANIA.

KOMPANIA released in 2012 (7-11-2012) a live cd, titled KOMPANIA live! Recorded during their touring through Netherlands & Belgium in 2012. In February 2013 this cd entered the top 5 of the WMCE and recently reached the top 50 of the YEAR 2013 WMCE.

And now there is within a year a next album ROUND TRIP , this time recorded in a studio (XAPAaudio-Gendt NL) with guest musicians Loek Schrievers (also producer) on slide guitar and Ulas Aksunger on percussion. The cd is number 7 in the top 10 WMCE in January 2014

Band Members