Versatile Greek musicians Vassilis Ketentzoglou and Sofia Labropoulou have created a repertory for this unprecedented combination, resulting in a new and fresh musical soundworld; a meeting of minds and cultures. On one hand, there is the guitar: a fretted, well-tempered, polyphonic ‘Western’ string instrument; on the other, the kanun: a zither-like ‘Eastern’ string instrument, capable of playing microtonal scales, and typically played as a monophonic solo instrument.
The two musicians have found innovative ways to blend these contrasting musical worlds: the guitar sometimes becomes an ‘Eastern’ solo instrument, playing microtonal melodies and ornamenting as Middle Eastern instruments do, and the kanun becomes like a ‘Western’ instrument, playing chords or even counterpoint.
Sofia Labropoulou is a kanun player, composer and improviser who has developed a distinct sound by masterfully blending the worlds of folk, classical Ottoman, western Medieval, experimental and contemporary music. Classically trained with piano and classical percussion since the age of 8, it was instant love when she first encountered the kanun almost a decade later. With her Byzantine music diploma in hand, she moved to Istanbul in (2003) to pursue her love of the kanun and study Ottoman music.
As a soloist, she collaborates with renowned composers, musicians, and orchestras from all over the world, she composes music and presents Kanun and Greek folk music master classes worldwide. Since 2013, after years of playing together with Vassilis Ketentzoglou, the duet’s first CD “Butterfly” was released by Odradek Records (2019). Her first personal album “Sisyphus” was released in December 2020 (also by Odradek Records). She currently lives in Vienna, Austria.
Vassilis Ketentzoglou is a guitarist, composer and orchestrator. He has collaborated with many well-known Greek artists (such as G.Dalaras, N.Xydakis, E.Arvanitaki, V. Papakonstantinou and others) and with several orchestras (like the Ossipov State Russian Folk Orchestra, the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, the CityMusic Cleveland Orchestra, the Athens State Orchestra and the Armonia Atenea – The Friends of Music Orchestra) and has performed in concerts all around Greece and in many distinguished concert venues abroad (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA).
Some of his own compositions can be found in recordings with the Guitar Kanun Duet (V. Ketentzoglou & S. Labropoulou), A. Toubanaki & the Buzz Bastardz, N. Xydakis, F. Velesiotou and S. Papazoglou. Vassilis holds an MMus in Composition for Screen by the Royal College of Music (London, UK), a BMus (Hons) degree in Music by the Royal Holloway – University of London, and the Degrees of „Classical Guitar Performance“, „Harmony Specialist“, „Counterpoint“ and „Fugue“ by the Hellenic Conservatory.
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