This band is Rizà and their self-titled debut album is a must listen – this trio adapt Greek traditional songs and instruments into modern soundscapes and contemporary folk, it’s the electronic production techniques that elevate this to a world treasure. It’s sometimes similar to the field recordings of the Ocora label, or the washes of sound found on releases by the seminal ECM label, as well as being influenced by jazz composition and numerous greats.
The Greek folk songs mainly originate from the islands’ regions and Asia Minor west coast on Rizà (a Greek idiom meaning ‘roots’ or ‘foothills’). “All tunes are re-arranged with a contemporary approach and tuned in an acoustic mood,” the band says. “Reflecting a range of musical references…Mediterranean jazz to the aesthetics of field recordings and DJ Shadow; from a pinch of Erased Tapes to overtones of Coltrane and noise electronics.” The band are Themistoklis Karpodinis, Costis Zouliatis aka Costinho and Petros Lamprides.
All lyrics are sung in their original language and melodies, without adaption or deviation from the traditional versions, accompanied by atmospherics and sound collages that are deeply stirring and emotive. “However, there are neither any Greek traditional instruments involved nor any other eastern strings that would bring a distinctive Mediterranean sound,” the band adds. “A rather western and even international approach to the far eastern music of Greece.”
It’s a beautiful album, being gripping and tense at points, then releasing the listener to soothe and meditate at appropriate junctures. This band show mastery in preserving their roots and traditions, while updating this sound, mystifying it and gripping their audience.
The album is on the APO [από] label. Follow the band and get more info at: