Disciples of Markos

Opa! The music of the Balkans is alive and well in the Bay Area. All 3 of these bands are local and kind-hearted, the show was a fundraiser for Sweet Relief, an organization providing aid for musicians in need. A funtastic night of Greek music. Turns out Guinness substitutes nicely for Ouzo.

Bouzouki and drum

Disciples of Markos are a very special treat. They play the music of Markos Vamvakaris known as the patriarch of Rebetiko, a wild folk music that Markos helped create in the 1930s hash dens of Greece. Markos was a master of the bouzouki (a Greek lute) and in the Disciples of Markos we have another master of the bouzouki in Dave Murray. This latest incarnation of the band has 6 members (including accordian, drum and both male and female vocals). Most of the song titles involve hash. Although there are no other dates scheduled yet, do catch Dave’s other band – The Squirrelly Stringband – at the monthly square-dance every 1st Friday at Berkeley’s Niebyl-Proctor library.

Opening the show Agapi Mou stripped down to the essence: father Alan and his daughter Aya. Aya’s violin work was simply amazing. She possesses that perfect balance of raw folk exuberance and technical precision. It doesn’t hurt that she is young and gorgeous. On this night the songs were mostly of Greek origin although the band often veers into Albania, Turkey and Armenia. They will play Berkeley’s under appreciated Le Bateau Ivry on October 26th. Sadly my camera battery was still charging during their set.

Inspector Gadje

Things got wild when Inspector Gadje took the stage. They are a 12 piece brass band (10 horns, 2 drums) playing a completely different Balkan style. With all the horns and clarinet there was a definite Klezmer vibe, and the room burst out in dance. They play October 28th at Vitus in Oakland. I believe they serve Ouzo!