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Cretan Lute Music: Avraam Avramidis – “Taksideftis tou Erota (Traveler of Love)”

Avraam Avramidis was born on September 23, in Athens, Greece. His roots are half from Istanbul in Turkey and half from Nafplio of Greece. His passion and love for music begun at the early age of ten, where radio and cassettes were the only means of distributing music at that time. At the age of 16, his father bought him an Electric Guitar, and he immediately replaced it with an Acoustic one! Immediately starting to teach himself to play songs.

After a few years, while studying at University (the Department of Applied Informatics in Management and Finance), he developed strong relationships with friends coming from the Island of Crete, and it was at this point that he first started to experience the great Cretan Culture and the magical instrument, the Cretan Lute (or so called Lagouto).

From that moment on, he dedicated all of his time learning the Cretan Culture and performing with his Lagouto at live gigs, concerts and show.  He also had the good fortune to meet Yiannis Ksilouris (also known as Psarogiannis) and Paris Perisinakis, two great mentors of the Cretan Lute (and Cretan Music in general), who helped him to develop not only the technical skills of the instrument, but how to express his feelings through music.

Today, after building a home studio in his house, Avramidis dedicates his free time (his main profession being a Software Developer), in composing new songs that are clearly influenced by Cretan Music. The main instruments that he uses in his song orchestrations are all acoustic ones and among them are the Cretan Lagouto, Cretan Lyra, Turkish Oud (mostly recorded with Arabic tuning), the Acoustic Guitar, as well as percussion instruments such as the Bendir, Daouli and Cajon.

This instrumental piece, “Taksideftis tou Erota (Traveler of Love)” is the first single by Avraam Avramidis and it is an improvisation using two Cretan Lutes.

After listening to this, I did a quick research and discovered that Cretan music is not to be confused with Greek music. Yes, I too know that the Cretans are Greeks but apparently, calling their music Greek music is considered an understatement of the sheer beauty and matchlessness of Cretan music.

From what I’ve learned, Cretan music is an altogether different story. Apparently the Cretan instruments are almost all peculiar to this island and many of them are not used anywhere except Crete.

I read somewhere that Antonis Xylouris (probably better known as Psarantonis, a well-known representative of Cretan music), believes that music cannot be taught. He learned the notes but they never seemed useful to him. “There are no schools that can teach music,” he says. “Everyone can go to a music teacher to learn the notes, and become a musician. But not everyone can become an artist! One is born an artist. He has feelings and creates music from them. I never play a song exactly in the same way. If I play it again one time, it will not be the same. I decorate it, different each time. Every time I bring it further. Music is very long, it’s kilometers. Don’t listen to those who draw dots on a paper or to others who read them!”

Avraam Avramidis’ tuneful melody, “Taksideftis tou Erota (Traveler of Love)”, somehow reminded me of that statement; Not least because the song is improvised, lending itself perfectly to spontaneous artistic creation, where Avramidis proves himself to be more than competent.

Shamefully my knowledge of the Cretan Lute is much closer to zero than should be permitted, which inhibits my zest to describe the technical intricacies of Avramidis’ performance. However my ears are capable of perceiving the fact that “Taksideftis tou Erota (Traveler of Love)”, is a single to be savored, like a glass of fine vintage wine, and, although you could listen to it at low levels and still find it quite appealing, I recommend a much higher volume, perhaps using headphones, to best capture the depth and beauty of Mr. Avramidis’ playing and to not miss the intricacy and nuance of his virtuosity.

Let Avraam Avramidis serenade you with the beautiful tone of his unadorned Cretan Lute and be transported to an ambiance of serenity. This is the kind of music that simply relaxes and soothes the soul. It will put you in a very tranquil aura when nothing else does. Give it a try!

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