My love and admiration of Cretan music have led me to form a new ensemble, the Cretan Quartet. My aim is to condense and present in a lively and tasteful way, both on the island and off it, my own “Cretan” compositions and the pieces of our traditional music that I admire and find moving. This programme is strongly stamped by and filtered through my personal taste, drawing on my long familiarity with the music of the island and my experience of strictly aesthetically delimited and timed “shows” at international festivals. It is in concert form, and at specific points includes dancing with or without musical accompaniment.
The musicians in the quartet, all young and exceptionally skilled and talented, trust my aesthetic standards (which almost always coincide with their own), and, above all, are keen and have the time for hard work. I present them in brief, not so much in the form of a CV but through a personal point of view.
Thanassis Mavrokostas (Dance – Mandoura)
The truth is that most of the programmes set up by ourselves and others engaged with the music of Crete are static affairs, with musicians seated in a row, playing their instruments and music with great dexterity. This, of course, is more than enough for this type of concert, especially when the music being played and the musicians playing it are of a high standard. But when we play traditional dance pieces, which is what most of them are, sometimes you feel there’s something missing… We’re missing the movement, the spatial expressiveness you find at every fiesta and in every group of friends in even the smallest Cretan village.
Thanassis is a top dancer with his own style, combining perfect technique with strength, nimbleness and an improvisatory mood. As the student from birth of his parents, Dimitris and Eleni Mavrokosta, he has different roots (Anogia – Agia Galini) and vast experience of and contact with Cretan dance, despite his youth. He is also an excellent musician (lyra – mandolin – mandoura), a dance teacher, a singer and, above all, a connoisseur. He’s been my dance teacher for the past two years…
Andonis Stavrakakis (Mandolin – Laouto – Song)
Andonis is a musician and singer of exceptional skill, ability and prospects. When you have skill, talent, and top teachers within your own family (Vassilis and Michalis Stavrakakis), the result is, predictably, also excellent… He incorporates the style and technique of the musicians in his family, while preserving his own personal singing and playing tone. We have worked closely together for several years, in the ensemble of his uncle Vassilis Stavrakakis, and our long artistic and personal contact forms the artistic cornerstone of the quartet.
Giorgos Stavrakakis (Laouto – Song)
Giorgos is the youngest and the most promising member of the Quartet. As the son of the Master singer Vassilis Stavrakakis, Giorgos is literally born into Cretan Music. He represents the style and the musical aesthetics of his family and his village of origin, and, despite his young age, he is already a highly skilled musician. As a lute soloist and a singer together with his cousin Adonis, Giorgos bringsundoubtedly a new atmosphere in the “Quartet”.