I usually try to keep posts here interesting not just for folks who know me, but for the occasional random internet visitor as well. This one: maybe not so much.
So this is a purely personal landmark moment, but: I played bouzouki seriously for the first time in months last night, and it was delightful. Giorgos and Johnny were playing in a restaurant in Katerini (Giorgos with his fabulous rebetiko guitar and voice, and Johnny on bouzouki and voice), and I joined them for the whole evening. (Olga stayed home, which also meant I was forced to navigate the entire evening on my own Greek, without translatory assistance.) To my great delight, I knew about half the songs well enough to play a competent harmony, and almost all the ones I didn’t I could pick up in media res or fake with baglamas-style chords: I doubt any of the punters realised that I was just tagging along, let alone that I’m not even Greek.
At the end of the evening the last table was some local friends, and I handed over the bouzouki so Giorgos and Giorgos could play a bit together. (The owner of the restaurant, by the way, is also a Giorgos.) Here’s a short clip (starting in the middle of a song, sorry) so you can share my joy:
Giorgos on bouzouki is left-handed (this turns out to be very convenient for the shot framing), and very good. Giorgos on guitar is right-handed, and also very good. Hearing them play together was a wonderful cap to a lovely evening.