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fRoots review

fRoots magazine (No.363, August 2013)

Greek Cypriot folk roots updated, rearranged and delivered in style. Monsieur Doumani are the trio of singer/guitarist Angelos Ionas, Antonis Antoniou on tzouras (a close relative of the bouzouki) and vocals, plus Demetris Yiasemides who plays all things woodwind. They’ve been gigging around the island and beyond for a couple of years and this is their debut. Eleven traditional Greek Cypriot songs plus three originals very much in the same rootsy style, delivered with flair and imaginative arrangements.
They range from fiery acoustic instrumental workouts to songs that sound like Cypriot folk rock and even the odd bit of what the sleevenotes describe as “electro­acoustic manipulation” provided by Antoniou and most evident on the self-penned Young Upwardly Mobile Professional which features guest vocalist Maroulla Konstantinou and probably wouldn’t sound too out of place on an Imam Baildi album. The title of that song suggests some satirical intent and I suspect we’re missing something by not understanding the lyrics (it’s all Gre... well, never mind). But the band’s sense of fun and mischief shine through anyway and as pure sound this goes down a treat, the stringed instruments winding round each other and the clarinet, flute etc pumping and soaring away. I hear echoes of blues, swing, jazz and various folk traditions in their sound but their local roots are felt strongly enough to hold all this in place. An unexpected delight.

Jamie Renton