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Music of Kea
Antonakis Zoulos: Master Musician

Antonakis Zoulos, Violinist, Kea, GreeceAntonakis Zoulos is one of the finest traditional violin players in all of Greece and a living legend. I have not been to a panagiri or wedding where Zoulis did not work his magic over the crowd and his performances can begin at dusk and end at dawn. I have listened to him from my bed as the notes from his violin began competing with the roosters and the waking birds on an August morning and wondered how on earth he was making the sounds he made. The sounds that Zoulos is able to do coax out of the violin are no less remarkable then what Jimi Hendrix did with an electric guitar, fuzz, wah-wah a few thousand watts of aplification. And and the later it gets, the better he plays. The last two celebrations I experienced in Kea did not end until the sun came up.

Andonis Zoulos also happens to be the vice mayor of Ioulis, the capital of Kea and one of the few politicians in Greece who has recorded an album of traditional music. In fact I would go out on a limb and say it is one of the finest albums of traditional music that I own. With a bluesy voice and his amazing violin work, Zoulos, accompanied only by Panayoitis Perdikaris on laouto has recorded 13 songs from the island of Kea. The title Ta Tziotka, means the songs of Kea (Tzia). These songs are lively and the album well recorded. The cassette can be purchased at the Vourkariani Gallery in the port of Vourkari. For more information e-mail: vourkariani@aias.gr

Otherwise go to the town hall and ask the assistant Mayor himself. If it is not available just find out when his next gig is. If you are not going to Greece any time soon you can try writing to him at:
Antonakis Zoulos
Kea 840 02
Greece

You can contact him through the municipality:

Antonakis Zoulos, violin, keaThere are several festivals a year that Zoulos plays at, the biggest probably the name day of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, known in Greece as the Panagia on August 15th. Festivals for saints are called Panagiris. Other festivals on the island are Agia Triada, Agia Anargiri, Agia Marina, Agios Emilianos and the festival of Agios Yannis Prodromos on the 24th of June. The period preceding lent, called Apokreas is a timemof partying in Kea and there always seems to be some kind of wedding celebration going on in the main square.

If you have a highspeed connection you may enjoy these videos I took at a baptism in July if 2005. I had been sitting at Rolando's watching the dancers and listening to the music until about one am when I decided to go to bed. I woke up just as the sun was rising and the music was still going on with Zoulos and his young guitar player sounding like they could go on forever. They did. Until noon. Just as amazing is that the guests were still dancing. One day they will say to the little girl "At your baptism Zoulos played and we danced until noon!" Watch in the first video as the dancers come up and have a conversation with him as he is trying to play a solo, then to get his attention throw money in, or towards his box. Everytime somebody wants to dance they drop in a 50 euro bill or more. I would estimate that Zoulos pulls in the kind of money at a panagiri in the square what rock stars make in a good sized arena. Amazingly, when his good friend Giorgos Grekas, the young butcher died in a car accident, Zoulos decided he could not play in the square for two years since Giorgos had been such an intergral part of the festivities.

Video 1
Video 2 
Video 3

For a sample of a life performance of Zoulos I recorded at a wedding during the summer of 2000 click on the following links. The first song was recorded in the late afternoon and the others at night which is why they are a bit hard to see. But the sound quality is pretty good. Not as good as the album though.

Song1

Song2

Song3

Song4

Song5

Song6

Song7

See also Greek Music

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