Saturday, March 17, 2012

Arzentina (Chimerinoi Kolymvites, 1981)

long drive you did. I see, buying a musical instrument is not something you can do by phone... but still. Long drive." she said, laying the silver tray on the wooden table. A coffee and something sweet is always a warm welcoming treat to a stranger.

Her husbant smiled gently entering the living room. "Welcome, young man".
"It's very nice to meet you Mr. Papadamou", I said.

There were all kinds of stringed musical instruments all around the place. Bouzoukis, baglamas, uds, tzouras, mandolins, lutes etc. hanged on the walls, laying on the couch, everywhere.

Driving all the way to Thessaloniki (300km) to meet a musician and constructor of musical instruments and come back with a bouzouki in the backseat of the car was indeed a long drive. However, the instrument I bought was special enough to worth it. Mulberry wood, walnut, fir wood, wenge and poplar combined at the various instrument parts along with Mr.Papadamou's handcraft produced a sound that is slightly different from the typical bouzouki's sound. This happens -in different ways- with all his instruments. In all 5 albums he has been a vital part of the band Chimerinoi Kolymvites we can listen to that difference. He made his instruments and he performed with them too - which is notably difficult if you think the different abilities somenone's hands should have: strong enough to work with wood and elegant enough to run precisely at a strigned instrument.

Chimerinoi Kolymvites, First album cover (1981)

Chimerinoi Kolymvites (= winter swimmers) have been active since 1979, and besides Mr.Papadamou, there is an other man -their "frontman", if we may use that term- that is the soul and the voice of the band. Argyris Bakirtzis voice is a remarkably destincive and peculiar one. Even when he just speaks. The band is still active consisting of a big group of friends at their sixties, that mostly live on the northern parts of the country. Most of them have their jobs too, but they often meet for concerts and - if in the mood - for albums too.

The song we present today is a sword, blading your evening. Few seconds with no intention to become music. A song about the eternal will of joy. Argyris sung it because they couldn't afford paying someone else to do so at that time. Fortunately, as it appears. But singing a moment of happiness can't last long. So it's just one and a half minute. The band usualy performs this one at the peak of a concert and people stop talking and dancing. They all raise their drinks in the air and they sing loundly with a smile on their face.

Chimerinoi Kolymvites, the band

Music, Lyrics: Argyris Bakirtzis
Vocals: Argyris bakirtzis, Isidoros Papadamou

The sea waves told me
tonight; that is all,
who knows about tommorow.

Come, my bird, let's go to Peramos
to be at "Arzentina"
fires, the seas will see
oh-oh, joys will see the stars

And the living-dead of our memory
ether flying,
flying in chaos, in dream
totally desparate.

*"Arzzentina" had been the first disco of >Peramos, a seaside resort close to the city of Kavala.

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