Percussion Festival at Fones Cafe

Not too long ago, it would have seemed quite odd – by local standards – to stage a festival focused exclusively on percussion, but the concept seems to have grown and consolidated in recent years, as reflected by the string of events both in Athens and other parts of the country. One of the development’s local forerunners, the capital’s pint-sized Fones Live Cafe, a venue never hesitant to take unconventional routes, has launched its fourth successive Percussion Festival, a 10-day event featuring a solid cast of some of the country’s finest exponents, which began Friday and runs through Sunday. Tonight’s act, Imole, an Athens-based multicultural outfit, comprising four Cubans, a Chilean, a Peruvian, and one Greek member, are an ebullient lot who like to mix percussion, song and dance, based on Afro-Cuban tradition. Tomorrow’s act, Michalis Klapakis and his group, Ta Dachtyla tis Ekatis, will break percussion’s hold on the festival by introducing several other instruments, such as the saxophone and a double bass for a fusion of jazz-traditional. Solis Barkis and the quartet which backs him, on Thursday will present both composed and improvised work, exclusively on percussion. The combined strength of African and Eastern percussive instruments, such as the djembe, doom doom, and darbouka, intermix with vocals, dance and the gaida – a local bagpipe instrument – for the work of Ta Krousta Tis Taki, which performs on Friday. The German-based Indian tablas player Shankar Lal, a regular performer at the Fones Club in recent years, will be improvising with local associates on Saturday. The festival closes on Sunday with the duet of Alekos Christidis and Vangelis Karipis, who will be presenting jazz standards and traditional themes on marimbas, the xylophone, vibraphone and other traditional percussion instruments. Fones Live Cafe is located at 9 Artemonos St, Neos Cosmos, tel 927.0628. Next month, the members of a Greek-French coordinating committee to handle the plethora of events scheduled throughout the year, under the auspices of the French Embassy, will be announced.

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