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Live Reviews

Photo: Renata Baluk

New York World Festival- Sounds of the Mediterranean
September 16, 2007

By Ernest Barteldes

Middle Eastern

This season's Summerstage concert series closed in style with an afternoon-long showcase of music from around the Mediterranean. The event also featured a couple of workshops on devotional music and Greek dance.


Morocco's Orchestra Of Tangiers played a selection of traditional songs from Andalusia, and they were well received by an audience who filled the Summerstage grounds even though the temperature was a little below average for late summer. The music was devotional and moving, and the accomplished musicians showed amazing chops. Also present was singer Aberrahim Saviri, one of the most popular singers in his region, who added his poignant vocals to the music performed by the group.


Next up Pontic lyra player Christos Tiktapanidis. Accompanied solely by a percussionist, he performed a selection of songs from the Black Sea, which connected with the crowd. He showed amazing speed on his three-stringed bow fiddle, and sang with a sincerity and honesty that easily came across.


Introduced as “The Nightingale Of Greek Music,” veteran singer Amalia Papastefanou took the stage backed by a quintet that included clarinetist Lefteris Bournias and keyboardist and musical director Yannis Anastasopoulus. Her infectious music, and soon a lot of people in the audience were moved to get on their feet to dance .


Halfway through the show, the Papastefanou left the stage and Bournias took the lead to show his amazing chops on his instrument – it was an incredible instrumental number that had people cheering halfway through the song. She returned and closed the show by performing a warm tune that (according to a Greek fan) spoke of the beauties of her native land, which she left 40 years ago when she immigrated to the U.S.