Kostas Pavlidis, Sar Penen

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Greece, like most Mediterranean countries, has a Romany, or Gypsy, population. Pavlidis is one of them, exploring the musical possibilities of his heritage. For this, his third album, he casts his net wide, delving into the connections between the Gypsies and Middle Eastern music (the word Egypt and Gypsy share the same root). With the lute-like oud, the qanun (a kind of hammered dulcimer), and the ney flute behind his voice, tracks like the plaintive opener, "Which Land, Which Homeland," highlight the common qualities of Gypsy and Arab styles. Pavlidis also deftly turns his hand to Algerian rai on the excellent "Do You Want Me to Die?" and offers some lush slinky R&B with "Come." Although he's still young, Pavlidis has a mature, supple voice, perfectly suited to the emotional expression of the songs, which he handles with assurance, dominating the album except for the instrumental reprise of "Armenistis" that closes the disc.