Takimi is a group based in Epirus—Northern Greece—with members living in Parakalamos and in Ioannina. The are the hand-picked band of musicians that have accompanied the legendary Gregory Kapsalis—the most celebrated Epirotic clarinetist of the late 20th and early 21st century—for over two decades. Leading Takimi is Thomas Haligiannis from Parakalamos on clarinet and Kostas Karapanos on violin from Ioannina. Both are extraordinarily mature artists representing the lush, stately dance tunes of the Zagori region, a rich variation of Epirotic repertoire with complex rhythms, angular time signatures, and mind expanding tonalities.
Takimi means “group of friends” and their musicianship demonstrates a hand-in-glove familiarity—as if they were not only friends but also brothers. All four of the musicians are Romas and perform the traditional feast-dances—or paniyeria—throughout Epirus. They also play music at festive events or glindi, marriages, and tsipoura—or the celebrations held while making tsipouro, the Northern Greek moonshine. Evolving over time, the standard instrumentation of the Epirotic groups include a clarinet, a violin, a laouto—a four course fretted lute—and a defy—or chimed hand drum.
Though the Epirotic repertoire is intended primarily for dancing, the group Takimi also excel at performing the more contemplative pieces such as the mirologi or Lament For The Departed, the skaros or Shepherd’s Song, and the selfo or Nightingale’s Song. Takimi performs the most deeply traditional airs and songs of Epirus with an almost transcendent skill and touch.
Takimi of Epirus have an acclaimed CD of field recordings on the JSP label recorded and produced by Grammy-winning engineer and archivist Christopher King who has been nominated six times for a Grammy and won a Grammy in 2002. He has been researching and documenting Epirotic music for over five years. He personally selected this group to be represented among the finest performers in Northern Greece. His book on this music entitled “Lament From Epirus” is forthcoming from W. W. Norton & Co. His writings have been published in the Oxford American and in the Paris Review “The Daily.”
Read more about Christopher King and his ongoing hunt for the source of the world’s most beguiling folk music in this marvelous article published in The New York Times Magazine (Sept. 24, 2014) by Amanda Petrusich HERE.
Now booking North American spring dates May-June 2017