GREEK / BALKAN DANCE MUSIC
Wedding-on the floor.
DRÓMENO pulls from the deep currents of the intertwined traditions of Greece and the Balkans to bring you magnetic harmonies and intoxicating rhythms skipping across the borders of Northern Greece. Headed by Ethnic Heritage Council award-winning couple Christos Govetas and Ruth Hunter on clarinet, accordion, and voices, this group follows the tradition of legacy bands from the Balkans, including their grown children, Eleni and Bobby Govetas on bass, violin, and saxophone. They are joined by Mik Bewsky on guitar, and Nico Sophiea on percussion.
Drómeno: (from ancient Greek) An artistic, social, cultural performance-spectacle, (sometimes dramatized).
A cultural event and/or ritual.
Christos Govetas is a well known multi-instrumentalist and brings his authentic voice and earthy clarinet style from his homeland in Eastern Macedonia. After moving to this country in his teens, Christos discovered his love of traditional music and went on to learn regional music from all over Greece, and beyond. In addition to the clarinet, Christos plays the zourná, bouzouki and outi, bringing his 40 years of performing experience to the mix. Christos is a beloved teacher at many music and dance workshops and has performed and toured extensively in the US, Canada, Europe and Greece. In addition to leading Dromeno, Christos also plays with Pasatempo Rebetika, and also plays laouto and sings regional Greek music with Ziyiá and SeaMuse. Christos is the 1999 recipient of the prestigious Northwest Folklife Fellowship Award honoring his cultural contribution to the Greek-American and Folk dance communities. Christos and Ruth are also the recipients of the Ethnic Heritage Council's Gordon Ekvall Tracie award of 2017. Christos is also a member of Bill Frisell's Grammy nominated The Intercontinentals.
Ruth Hunter began her musical career singing and playing Bulgarian folk music, but immersed herself in Greek music and culture after marrying Christos in 1995. She sings and plays accordion, tambura and kanun, and for ten years led the folk-choir at Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church as well as playing with Drómeno. Ruth has been actively performing Greek and Balkan music since 1985 as a founding member of the iconic women's group, Medna Usta, and playing with many other groups, including The Balkan Noyz Boyz and the Bay Area Balkan Ensemble. In addition to playing with Drómeno, Ruth also sings and plays Rebetika with Pasatempo Rebetika and has taught music and singing at workshops and toured in the US, Canada and Greece with Drómeno and Pasatempo Rebetika. Ruth and Christos are also the recipients of the Ethnic Heritage Council's Gordon Ekvall Tracie award of 2017.
Eleni Govetas has been immersed in music since day one. She began performing (on doumbeléki) with her parents at the age of nine and has continued to add instruments to her repertoire. Eleni has mastered the nuances of regional music on the défi and doumbeléki, and has added saxophone, zourná acoustic and electric bass and in the last four years is a sought-after traditional Greek violinist to her growing list of musical endeavors. Eleni is equally at ease playing folk music and old-style Rebetika and has a love for the music that shows in her playing. She has performed at dance competitions, concerts, workshops and parties in the US, Canada and Greece. She has played with the Bucharest Drinking Team and The m9 in the Seattle area and is a member of Melez band, Eleni Govetas Kompania as well as Kultur shock. She's also taught kid's band and Greek Ensemble classes in Mendocino Balkan Music and dance camp in California.
Bobby Govetas is following in his sister's footsteps and is already an accomplished percussionist, performing on daouli, defi and drum kit as well as bass, trombone and keyboards. He is equally at home playing the subtle rhythms of Macedonia and Thrace as he is rocking out with his friends. He has performed at dance competitions, concerts, workshops and parties in the US, Canada and Greece and brings his own special energy and enthusiasm to the music. Bobby also plays in the Seattle area with The m9.
Mik Bewsky a guitar player from Manitoba and Vancouver Canada, cut his teeth on Balkan music through his Serbian heritage, quickly blending contemporary Balkan brass and Tallava tunes with his other favorite ska and punk guitar sounds. His music is rooted in tradition and branches out from there, adding a playful and innovative texture to beloved melodies. He is a veteran in the Balkan music scene of Vancouver and the US west coast, adding his unique sound to Melez Band, Drómeno, Eleni Govetas Kompania, Super Krystal and other groups.
Nico Sophiea (defi, doumbek, drum set) grew up in Berkeley, CA to musician and artist parents, and began playing drums at age four. After graduating with a degree in Composition from the University of Puget Sound in 2011, he moved to Seattle to pursue his love of music. As a first generation Greek with an immigrant mother from Epirus, Nico grew up visiting Greece regularly throughout his life and first discovered his love for traditional Greek music after finding his mother’s record collection of Rebétika and Dimotiká. After meeting the Govetas family, Nico was exposed to other avenues of studying traditional music and dance in the U.S., and eventually found a home playing the music he loved with the Govetas’ family band. He brings to the band a deep love of the music of Epirus and other traditional music and culture from the Balkans and Mediterranean (his father is second generation Lebanese/Palestinian-American), as well as years of experience playing rock, jazz, and classical percussion, which add a rich layer of drumming technique and style to his playing. Nico currently plays in several bands (Drómeno, Eleni Govetas Kompanía, somesurprises, DANGERKNIFE, and MX-80 Sound) and teaches part time at the Meter Music School in Seattle.