Sophia Bilides sings Smyrneika

Sophia Bilides. Photo by Valerie Catrow, 2009.

We have been trying to get this superb singer to the Lowell Folk Festival for many years, but she has always been away in Greece during the festival. Not only will Sophia Bilides be appearing at this summer’s folk festival, she and her trio will be performing for the Lowell Folklife Series, in an 8:00 p.m.   concert this Saturday, March 24th.

Sophia Bilides is considered the “foremost practitioner of the Greek singing style known as Smyrneika” (Boston Globe), the cabaret song tradition of the Greek Asia Minor refugees of the 1930s and ‘40s. She accompanies herself on santouri (the Greek hammered dulcimer) and zilia (finger cymbals), backed by master musicians Mal Barsamian on outi (oud) and kythara (guitar), and Mike Gregian on doumbeleki (hand drum). Although many in Lowell’s Greek community won’t need it, Bilides  provides translations and song contexts to help bring audiences into the intimate atmosphere of an Anatolian cafe-aman. Song lyrics, which are set to richly intricate melodies, Middle Eastern modes, and sensual rhythms, voice the universal themes of nostalgia for lost homelands, endurance, love in all its guises, and the celebration of life.

Consider joining us as we celebrate Women’s History Month and Greek Independence Day by attending this free concert on March 24th in the Visitor Center of Lowell National Historical Park. No reservations required.