Greece / Spain / France, 2011, Andalusian classical music
Stelios Petrakis, Efrén López & Bijan Chemirani – Mavra Froudia: All but the last track are original compositions, but even then, these scored improvisations are structured around dance rhythms born of the cultural traditions of those who live near the Aegean and Black Seas. Hence the relentless whirling energy of the music. It’s supposed to get you up out of your chair. The finest dancing requires the finest instruments, and this trio doesn’t disappoint: Petrakis on Cretan lyra and laouto (a kind of mandolin), López on hurdy gurdy, fretless guitar, and many more traditional indigenous instruments, and Chemirani killing it on various percussion instruments, even going so far as to play on ghatam (clay pots). This is masterfully complex without wearying the ear, for there is an ever-rotating core of joy at the center of this liberating music.