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08 Sep

Ladies of the Greek Jazz Scene Featured

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Ladies in Jazz bring a feminine flair to the masculine world of jazz.  Here are some artist who are the essence of  jazz music in Greece. Discover these fabulous ladies of jazz of the Greek jazz scene.

Tania Gianouli
Tania Giannouli is a pianist, composer and improviser. She writes music for theatre, documentaries, short films, video and concert. After recording Forest Stories in 2012, a collection of eight improvisations for piano and wind instruments alternating between avant-garde and free jazz with Portuguese reed player and improviser Paulo Chagas, Tania Giannouli and her newly formed ensemble released in 2015 Transcendence on Rattle Records. This album was elected the best album of 2015 (Jazzonline critics poll 2015) & (Jazzonline readers poll 2015)“Transcendence, the first album by the newly formed Tania Giannouli Ensemble is a challenging, musically literate tour-de-force. These richly textured, beautifully balanced compositions are performed with great rigour and passion, but above all they are strikingly honest and direct. This album is full of lyricism and originality, and the used orchestrations can be described as ‘intoxicating, characterized by a sensibility that evokes the colour of the Mediterranean’.

Irini Konstantinidi
"Irini has set very high standards with her performance in HORIZON." George Kontrafouris
“Irini has achieved a very personal style with her lyrical, expressive, impressively, crystal and accurate voice” Dimitris Trikas
Born in Athens, Irini started singing from an early age, recording with several groups and later she participated in theatrical and dance theatre festivals, contributing in the musical scores with her singing and improvising performance. In 2006 she obtained her diploma (winning the first prize) in Jazz vocal performance and improvisation, from Athenaeum Maria Callas Conservatory. Then she attended master classes on jazz singing and improvisation with various jazz musicians and vocalists such as Gretchen Parlato, Sheila Jordan, Miles Griffith, Deborah Davis, Mark Ledford and bassist Cameron Brown.
In 2009 she started writing lyrics for drummer Thanos Hatzianagnostou's compositions and by the fall of 2010 they had both formed the group The Wonderfall Quartet.
The Wonderfall Quartet has participated in the 6th Jazz on Tinos Festival in 2014 and also at the Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival 2015, representing Greece at the festival's 15th anniversary.She has also created an experimental project called Jazz-bound, exploring the colorful aspects of the voice as an instrument in jazz music and interacting with other musicians within the concept of multiple and non stable line-up formation, in order to create diverse musical and sonic environments.
Her latest collaborations were with the quartet of pianist Dimitris Kalantzis, with which she performed at the live stage of Gazarte (14/2/2015) and with the Athens Big Band at the concert "The Voice of Jazz" that took place at Michael Cacoyannis Foundation (2/2/2015).
She has released 2 albums With the Wonderfall Quartet: HORIZON (2014) ( best album of the year at the Jazzonline reader poll 2014  & critic poll 2014)  - THE WONDERFALL QUARTET (2011)

Alexandra Lerta
Alexandra Lerta studied Acting at the National Theatre School of Greece and after finishing her studies she worked in the theatre for a few years before deciding to make a turn in to jazz music. Her singing studies began in 1997 with Lena Giorgali as her main teacher. Being fond of Musical Theatre at the time, Alexandra took several Musical Theatre Summer Courses in London (Central School of Speech and Drama 1996, Mountview School of arts 1997, Guildford School of Acting 1999). During these years she started developing a great love for Jazz Music.In 2005 she followed a Jazz singing course in Edinburgh with Sheila Jordan as a main teacher and at that point she decided to commit to Jazz Music for good.
In 2006 she moved to Holland and studied for 1year at Codarts Conservatory in Rotterdam.In 2007 she decided to continue her study in The Royal Conservatory of The Hague.During this period of her study she attended several seminars and classes of great musicians such as: Jocelyn Smith, Bobby McFerrin,David Liebman,Sanna van Vliet,Fay Claasen,Branford Marsalis among others. She completed her Bachelors study in June 2011. Since then she has played in several Jazz Festivals in Greece (International kalamata Jazz Festival 2011, Ladona Music Festival 2011, Petite Fleur Jazz Festival 2011 with her “AdHoc Quartet” and in Festival Rematias 2013 and Agrinio jazz Festival 2013 and Jazz on Tinos Festival in 2014 with her project “InDuologue”(a Voice and Double Bass Duo).
InDuologue project with Double Bass player Vasilis Stefanopoulos has been released by Snip Records in 2013.

Sugahspank (Georgia Kalafati)
Sugahspank!, is one of the best voices around town. Born and bred by the sea, in Pireus, with just a year and a half of singing lessons, the girl can surelly sing and she styles it up rather nicelly. Songwriter and singer with a terrible funk-soul voice, she moves comfortably from soul, funk and hip hop to blues, gospel, swing, and rock n 'roll.
She has released 5 albums: 3 albums solo , one with the swing shoes  and another one with Dimitris Kalantzis.
Sugahspank! & The Swing Shoes - A Holy Show (The Lab Records)
Dimitris Kalatzis/M.Rizou/Sugahspank!/L.Palaiologou - Santa's little secret (Cobalt Music)
Sugahspank! – The incredible/ The invisible (Cast-a-Blast)
Sugah Galore- Spacecakes (Feedback sound/ Spinalonga records)
Sugahspank/Animacorda/Alex Retsis: Atakti Revisited (Ánthrōpos Mēkhané)

Idra Kayne
Idra Kayne is certainly a new revelation of the soul funk scene of Greece. Her voice has an impressive depth as a real 'black ' diva .
Daughter of a Ugandan father and a Greek mother – was born and raised in Greece during the ’80s. She discovered her passion for the performing arts at a very early age. She has studied dance (ballet & jazz) for 15 years and has been a member of a choir for 12 years. After graduating high school she studied social work at the university of Athens. She has studied technical voice placement at the Vocal Art Academy and has taken acting lessons at the Theatro ton Allagon.
Since 2000 she has performed at various well known nightclubs of Athens and has collaborated with various artists as a backing vocalist. In 2007 she performed at the Meet The Streets Festival in Rotterdam as a member of the Roots&Routes project. Her first album “Don’t walk away” was released worldwide on December 14th 2011 by EMI Records, written and produced by Big Time Pr. In March 2012 her first single “Don’t walk away” was chosen as Song of Spring 2012 by Jumping Fish while she has participated in 4 theatre productions since 2011, the operetta “Daughter of the Storm”(2011) and the musicals RENT (2012), FAME(2012), ANNIE(2013) and PRISCILLA (2014).

Katerina Polemi
Katerina is a natural talent with music in her soul, a guitar in her hands, and rhythm in her feet. She is a vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. But most of all, she is an artist with an extraordinary love of performance.
Graduate from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Katerina was born in London, UK and raised between Greece and Brazil. She began hermusical journey at the age of four years old, and has been performing ever since.
Her first solo album, "Spread the Music, Not the Name"was released in 2011, and is comprised of her own original works,delivered in the theatrical Gypsy Jazz musical style.

Aggeliki Toubanaki
Aggeliki Toubanaki is a multitusk vocalist. Since 2007 her interests, revolve around jazz, folk scales and rhythms as much as exploration of vocal improvisation and extended sounds techniques. In 2008 she creates the project «Aggeliki Toubanaki & the Buzz Bastardz» (global Balkan Bastard jazz) and in March of 2015, she released her debut album (Greece, New York) with original compositions and selected cover in seven different languages. Nowdays, she also presents the “Voice project Jazztronica & Drums” with the drummer Ilias Doumanis. At  the 8th Jazz on Tinos,with Nikolas Anadolis, ( recipient of the Martial Solal prize at the age of 19 years old.) they gave as a duet an outstanding  performance.


Terry Varkitzoglou
Terry is one of the new talents of Greek jazz. Born in Athens,She started taking music lessons at the age of 12, but her first experiences in local choirs began earlier as a child. In 2004 she was accepted at the Music Department of the Ionian University in Corfu. Influenced by the strong presence of the universities jazz department, she decided to become an improvisational musician and to emphasize on jazz studies. There she studied and worked  with renowned musicians like George Kontrafouris, Dimos Dimitriadis, Vasilis Rakopoulos and Dimitris Kalatzis. At the same time she was a bandleader and a member of professional bands performing different music styles in venues around Greece. For five years she participated in Ionian Jazz Summer Academy in Corfu where she studied with international jazz vocalist such as Sheila Jordan, Mark Murphy, Katchie Cartwright and JD Walter.
With the intention to concentrate further in jazz singing she moved to New York in 2011 . She was awarded with the Fulbright Scholarship and the Onassis Foundation scholarship to pursue a Masters Degree at Aaron Copland School of Music. During  her studies she was  a semifinalist at the 2012 European Jazz Competition "Voicingers" that took place in Zori, Poland.
Terry currently lives in Athens, Greece where she is preparing to released her upcoming debut album "Qualia". Working with a significant team of skillful jazz musicians the project has been praised by the audience and jazz critics around the city. Numerous appearances have been staged.


Last modified on Thursday, 08 September 2016 15:39

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