The band Pliri Ntaxei on parallaximag.gr
By: Leon Nar
We live in arid times no doubt about it. People around us grumble all the time and the future does not seem very promising. Still, there are times when you leave everything behind and think that creation is after all invincible.
That is exactly what we were thinking the other day while listening to the band Pliri Ntaxei performing live at one of the city’s favourite music spots. I was excited, first of all because the band stands as a true guardian of rebetiko music, particularly of rebetiko music composed before the World War II. The band manages to convey the unique tone colours of the music of that period in the best possible way. There is nothing redundant about their music, no deviations; you feel you have entered a real pre-war tavern of Piraeus. If the name of the band sounds strange, you should know that it is taken from the song Ο Σταύρακας μεσ’στον τεκέ by Stavros Peristeris, an old instrumental rebetiko, typical example the sub genre of the hash smokers’ songs (χασικλίδικα).
Proving wrong all those who claim that nowadays it is very difficult to write rebetiko songs, the band used familiar music forms and took an important step forward by recording 10 superb tracks for their newly released CD. It is not only the familiar musical scales that bring memories of pre-war rebetiko music but also the sound, the voice and the way they perform the songs. The sole deviation has to do with the lyrics. They talk about contemporary issues without losing the trademark bluntness of the genre’s lyrics, thus uniting past and present. The contribution of Christos Pappas and Irini Karanikola who sign the lyrics to the songs is therefore very important.
Let’s talk about the members of Pliri Ntaxei. What is immediately apparent upon listening to their music is that, above all, they are having fun. Nevertheless, they all have a solid musical background and they have been around the block for some time now. Christos Pappas, who composes most of the band’s music, has completed classical music studies and has collaborated with Broken Seals, Dinos Sadikis, Boomstate and Dimitris Baslam. Lefteris Tsikouridis, has studied classical violin and is currently teaching at the Specialisation Three-string bouzouki at the Department of Music Science and Art, University of Macedonia. He is a member of many music bands in Greece and in Switzerland and a member of the band Strada Rebetiko in Canada! Manolis Porfirakis is the guitar player and singer of the band. He has studied piano, sound engineering and byzantine music. He wrote 3 of the album’s songs and in the past he played, among others, with Agathon Iakovidis and Dimitris Mystakidis. Katerina Douka is the female singer of the band. She has a profound love for traditional music and she a founding member of the band Methorios from Thrace that plays Greek traditional music. She has already participated in the recording of quite a few albums.
Undoubtedly, the unique result has its roots in the different musical background of the band’s members.