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12 days of music

Joss Stone will be headlining this year’s Fengaros Music Festival. ALIX NORMAN looks forward to an event packed with music to tempt all sorts

In summer, any festival worth its salt moves out of town and into the open spaces… Pharos takes us to Kouklia with its International Chamber Music Festival, The Festival of Ancient Greek Drama plays out in three open-air stadiums, and the Countryside Animafest does exactly as promised – gets us out into a series of beautiful bucolic villages. Later on in the summer, there’s the opportunity to get alternative in a forest, courtesy of the AfroBanana Republic festival, and in October we’ve got the Open Studios event – which sees artists all over the country inviting the public to travel off the beaten track for a spot of venturesome art. But for now, let’s take a look at an annual festival that draws us to the stunning village of Kato Dhrys, there to bask in some seriously wonderful music: the Fengaros Festival.

Now in its fifth year, Fengaros is a harmonious 12-day happening, dedicated to all things music. Divided into two parts, the festival begins with a series of workshops and masterclasses before finishing with three days of fantastic performances. The first few days (known as Fengaros Music Village) all take place in Kato Dhrys: an “ideal setting to host the workshops, lectures and concerts that take place in the framework of Music Village,” say organisers. Thus we kick off with educational sessions in the form of interactive music classes (instructed by artists/musicians of international calibre in the areas of modern and traditional music) with “themed sections which are intended to approach the art of music and theatre broadly yet effectively, whilst putting particular emphasis on original areas of artistic development”, and organised and spontaneous performances of musical and/or theatrical pieces from the students themselves.

This Music Village aims at creating both a “productive exchange of ideas and experiences between artists, students and participants of varied musical backgrounds and nationalities” and the “creation of a long-lasting hybrid, artistic community, characterised by solidarity, both in the fields of collective creativity and in the production/distribution of artistic work,” organisers explain. And the 12 workshops see artists from Cyprus, Greece and England leading workshops on “music, theatre and storytelling, proposing alternative methods of learning and creating” and setting the scene for the Fengaros Festival itself…

Following on from the Music Village, this year’s festival (also set in Kato Dhrys) sees three stages hosting a total of more than 30 acts, and those in the know promise a line-up which “surpasses all previous editions and maintains a high quality musical programme, embedded into an immaculately organised three-day festival.” Acts from Greece, England and Israel will join local artists and bands to create a stylistically varied line up, ranging from pop/rock, psychedelic rock, blues and ethnic to traditional music, jazz and the like…

Among others, Fengaros’ Main Stage will be playing host to English soul-diva Joss Stone (yes, you read that right; it is indeed the Joss Stone you’re thinking of: winner of two Brit awards, one Grammy and with several platinum albums to her name), the alternative experimental rockers Electric Litany (who will be travelling from England to headline the third, rockier day of the festival), and singer/songwriter Adam Beattie and his full band. From a little closer to home, the first day will see performances from Pavlos Pavlidis and B-Movies of Greece, Boom Pam from Israel with their particular brand of Mediterranean Surf Rock, and Greek violinist/singer Fotis Siotas along with his new band, Sotires. Also appearing will be pop-rockers Super Stereo and the heavier The Noise Figures, rock-trio

The Low Spark, Larnaca’s beautifully progressive The Ladderman, and similarly local act Rumba Attack.

On Friday, The Village Stage will host the Harris Lambrakis Quartet, featuring the most important ney player in the region, and lute virtuoso Giorgis Manolakis from Crete (who will join forces with lyra player Spyridakis and percussionist Papatzanis). Saturday is headlined by Larry Gus, the only Greek artist signed to DFA Records and Sunday will see folk/blues Moa Bones (one of the hottest names in alternative music in Greece), English folk songstress Brooke Sharkey From Cyprus, and Sandy Brour (who will be performing songs from their newly-released album) taking to the stage.

All in all, both the Music Village and the following Fengaros Festival are sure to be the musical highlight of the month. And what could be better than spending a spot of your summer, literally, ‘out of town’? Let’s all head out into the countryside this month, for this most harmonious of summer happenings!

 

Fengaros Music Festival
July 29-31, preceeded by the Fengaros Music Village from July 24 to 29. Both events are in Kato Dhrys near Larnaca. For a full programme of events, tickets and bookings, visit the website http://louvanarecords.com, email [email protected] or call 99 735225

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