Festival gets under way on Sani Hill

Music, dance and art – this is the Sani Festival’s crop this year, a series of summer events taking place on Sani Hill in the Halkidiki area. This year’s festival opened on July 10 with a concert featuring the beautiful music of Evanthia Reboutsika; the opening concert essentially set the tone for a festival whose ambition is to be different, while at the same time attracting as broad an audience as possible. The first half of the month of July was dedicated to jazz – so far, the festival has been closely linked to the popular musical genre. This year’s «Jazz on the Hill» festivities opened with the Lynne Arriale Trio last Friday, followed by an appearance by the Esbjorn Trio Svensson on Saturday (Svensson was elected as Sweden’s «leading jazz musician» in 1995 and 1996, while his «Winter in Venice» album won the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy). The jazz cycle came to an end last night with the Jacques Loussier Trio. For four decades now, Loussier has been studying the oeuvre of J.S. Bach and revising the great composer’s works through jazz improvisations. The musician doesn’t consider himself a jazz specialist, but someone who, working on Bach, sees the great composer’s music through jazz and other contemporary musical idioms. Events continue at the festival this week with «Cuba’s Grammys,» who will perform on Sani Hill on July 23 and are precisely that, Grammy-awarded Cuban musicians. On July 31, the stage will be taken by «Tango Flamenco,» an original mix of flamenco and Argentinean tango. In August, Sani Festival visitors can see Dulce Pontes (known as the successor of fado’s legendary Amalia Rodriguez), who will appear alongside Greek singer/composer Stefanos Korkolis on August 7, as well as another joint performance by Lavrentis Mahairitsas and Christos Thivaios on August 14. The month of September will be dedicated to classical music. Violin player Danai Papamatthaiou-Matschke and pianist Uwe Matschke will perform on September 1. They will be followed by a violin, guitar and cello concert featuring Ektora Lappa, Costas Makriyiannaki and Christos Gribas, respectively, on September 2; a double piano concert with Beata Pintsetits and Christos Sakellaridis on September 3; a piano recital by Elena Christodoulou on September 4, and a concert for vocals, cello and Electone (Athanassia Thomopoulou, Theodoros Papadimitriou and Panayiotis Koudouris) on September 5. Also on the schedule are exhibitions of works by Babis Vekris (July 24 to August 1) and Giorgos Kouvakis (August 6-15).