November 10, 2018 @ 8:00 pm
1103 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Legion Arts

Stelios Petrakis started out as an instrument maker, renowned throughout Europe for the sterling quality of his fiddles and lutes. Only later did he emerge as a virtuoso musician in his own right. Today he tours the world with an ensemble that performs the spirited and often hypnotic dance music of the island of Crete, as well as its epic songs and laments. Cretan music, shaped over the centuries by many influences (Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Venetian and Ottoman) is a highlight the Eastern Mediterranean musical family. Kin to the Greek music of the mainland, it is characterized by the predominant use of the three-stringed bowed instrument, known as the lyra, accompanied by the Cretan lute, or laouto. On the current tour, Petrakis, on lyra and lute, is joined by Thanassis Makrokostas on bagpipes and cello, and Andonis Stavrakakis on mandolin, laouto and vocals. (Thanassis also dances up a storm.) Reflecting their mastery of the island’s music, as well as an open and welcoming outlook toward the world, the trio’s repertoire includes arrangements of traditional pieces as well as new compositions that draw on the music of Greece, Crete, Turkey and Iran. Traditional in inspiration, original in conception, their songs are closely defined and tightly constructed, reflecting the traditional structure of Cretan music, where musicians improvise and explore within well-defined limits. Of the group’s live performances, Songlinesmagazine has raved, “Not only do we get to witness Makrodostas’ acrobatic footwork, we get to appreciate the skirling mandoúra and the eerie rizitiko.”