The Secrets of the Rocks

There haven't been a lot of Greek singers making a dent in the U.S., but Kristi Stassinopoulou could bridge the language divide.

There haven't been a lot of Greek singers making a dent in the U.S., but Kristi Stassinopoulou could bridge the language divide. Like fellow Greek vocalist Savina Yannatou, Stassinopoulou works from a base of traditional music, using folk instruments like the saz and lyre. But she brings a different sensibility to the sound, including contemporary instrumentation and gritty, primal production. These elements are then filtered through distortion and unusual song forms. Stassinopoulou has a throaty alto voice that works best in a shamanistic mode, as on "Amorgos Passage" and "The Fates." The translated lyrics read like haiku, but sung in Greek, they sound like a call to the spirits. Co-composer/producer Stathis Kalyviotis frames the artist's songs with arrangements that have a very 21st-century folk-music sound. That said, such songs as "Strong Wind Blockade," with its spirited dance rhythm, might sound familiar to Alexis Zorba (the Greek).—JD