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Let the true face of music shine

By Maria Gregoriou

Music lovers who have been waiting for the second album by Nicosia-based trio Monsieur Doumani need wait no longer: the follow up to 2013’s Grippy Grappa is now available in stores and the band will be touring the island to present it.

It has quite a reputation to build on as the band’s first album received a lot of positive reviews from international media. The album was named Top of the World album in the British magazine Songlines, a magazine that specialises in and celebrates world music. Grippy Grappa also got the band a nomination for Best Newcomer in the Songlines Music Awards 2014, and a chance to participate at WOMAD, Charlton Park, 2014.

The band, formed in 2011, is made-up of Antonis Antoniou on the tzoura, Angelos Ionas on the guitar and Demetris Yiasemides, who plays wind instruments. The new album, like its predecessor, was influenced by Cypriot folklore and refers to the island’s musical tradition.

The boys plan to take Paphos by storm on Saturday, give Limassol something to sing about on Sunday, and Nicosia something to move to on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The album is entitled Sikoses and the band has said that despite the success of their first album, they have chosen not to play it safe, but to challenge themselves even further.

Ethnomusicologist Nicoletta Demetriou said “the title of the album is revealing: in the Greek Cypriot tradition Sikoses (a Cypriot term) mark the last day of feasting and meat consumption before the period of Lent begins. Significantly, Sikoses also mark the period of carnival, when people are allowed – even encouraged – to put masks on. The allegory chosen by Monsieur Doumani – the passage from the excesses of the previous period to sobriety and contemplation, and from disguising to revealing one’s true face – is telling”.

With Sikoses, Monsieur Doumani has experimented with electronic sounds while also introducing elements from diverse musical styles. Apart from staying true to Cypriot folk music, the band has also tuned into folk law from Italy, Norway and the Balkans to come up with these new unique songs.

The lyrics to the ten original tracks on the album (there are 13 tracks in all, but three songs are re-workings of traditional Cypriot pieces) reflect the current state of affairs in Cyprus. But that is not to say it is all doom and gloom – pretty much like our economy – the band members have managed to keep their humour and satirical vibe very much alive and kicking.

Catch the boys and be one of the first to hear these new songs (and receive a free copy of the CD) before they are played in the UK during a tour the lads have planned for May until June.

Monsieur Doumani

The band give a live performance to celebrate their new album. March 28. Technopolis 20, 18 Nikolaou Nikolaidi Avenue, Paphos. 8.30pm. €10 with a free CD. Tel: 70-002420
March 29. B Municipal Market (Theatro Ena), Limassol. Tel: 96-458399
March 31 until April1.Exandas Music Stage, 11 Themistokli Petridi Street, Nicosia. Tel: 97-770787

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