Hermoupolis, Syros: the Greek Capital of Jazz

In Hermoupolis of Syros, the capital of the Cyclades and one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, was successfully held from 30th April to 2nd May the Greek part of the International Jazz Day. The International Jazz Day, is held under the auspices of UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and was celebrated this year for the fourth year. The crowning event of the celebrations, took place on the 30th April in Paris, the designated 2015 Global Host City, at the historic UNESCO building, where an all-star jazz concert was held. The events of Syros were organized by the non-profit organization “B-Jazz”, under the auspices of the Municipality of Hermoupolis and the South Aegean Region. Syros and Hermoupolis have a long relationship with music (it was here where the “Patriarch” of Rebetiko music Markos Vamvakaris was born, in whose honour there is a Museum today in Ano Syros), and especially with Jazz music, as occasionally big names of the international and domestic Jazz scene such as JazzXpress, Eric Inake Group, Braam DeJoode Vatcher Trio, Ramon Valle Trio, Human Touch, Andreas Symvoulopoulos Trio, Stratos Vougas Quartet etc., have chosen Syros for their appearances. The main venue of the event was the central Miaoulis Square of Hermoupolis, one of the most beautiful ones in Greece, which is dominated by the island’s impressive City Hall, built from 1876 to 1891, according to plans by the famous Bavarian architect Ernst Ziller. The opening of the events took place on the evening of Thursday 30th April, in the courtyard of the City Hall, with Andreas Polyzogopoulos Quartet (Andreas Polyzogopoulou-trumpet/flugelhorn, Kostis Christodoulou-keyboards, Anthony Maratos-bass and Alexander-Drakos Ktistakis-drums), followed by the group Trilogia, with the "legends" of Greek jazz (George Kontrafouris-organ, Giotis Samaras-guitar. and George Trantalidis-drums). On Friday, 1st May, it was the turn of the Jazz & Bossa Trio (Miranda Verouli-voice, Andreas Polyzogopoulos-trumpet, Theodoris Kotsifas-guitar), which thrilled the audience that packed a central bar of the city, while Saturday, 2nd May, the dance group Lindy Hop Athens, accompanied by DJ Mariangela, closed the events with impressive swing dance moves on Miaoulis Square, and later on, at a nearby restaurant-bar. Also, as part of the festivities for the International Jazz Day, from 30 April until 6 May was held the first Hellenic Jazz Competition “Apollon” in the historic Apollon Theatre (1864), which is a miniature of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The awards ceremony of the competition, in which many groups participated, was held on 6 May, with Manesis/Gyftakis/Gouliaris Trio winning first prize (1,500 Euros), and BopCy band from Cyprus (Haris Ioannou-saxophone, Dimitris Miaris-piano, Gregory Makamian-double-bass, Marios Spyrou-drums) winning second prize (1,000 Euros). It should finally be stressed that the inhabitants of Syros and also the numerous Greek and foreign visitors who were on the island during that time, packed the venues of the concerts, and applauded  whole-heartedly the musicians and the dancers, thus confirming the importance and impact of the event on music lovers. photos by © Spiros Katopodis www.vi3w.com