10.06.09Mavrothi Kontanis & the Maeandros Ensemble
Mavrothi Kontanis & the Maeandros Ensemble
BY RICHARD GEHR, The Village Voice NYC
The youngish Greek-American oud player Mavrothi Kontanis and his terrific quintet (featuring Greek clarinet star Lefteris Bournias) breathe new life into the Smyrneika cabaret sound and bluesier rebetika standards of pre-war Greece. Emotional yet virtuosic, Kontanis and company unwind their sensuous dance tunes and nostalgic laments with vigor and deliberation, reimagining a world in which Greek, Turkish, and Armenian styles blended together.
07.27.08Speed of Dark
The debut CD, Stalk That Myth, by NYC's Bowery Boy Blue is unusual for being based on Greek mythology, as interpreted by Jean-Paul Sartre in his play Les Mouches (synopsis). As ponderous and depressingly artsy as that sounds, the album could not be further from either of those descriptions. Every tune is crafted to make you want to listen again and again, starting with "Great Dead Town" all the way to its twin, the last track, "Dead Great Town."...
But this album would not be nearly as good without Megan Gould (nee Weeder, so she may be related by marriage somehow to Zeb), on strings and background harmonies. Megan arranged and plays three of the four pieces in the string quartet that acts as a vocal counterpoint throughout much of the record.
The Barbes website billed them as “probably the best Greek ensemble around," high praise from a generally reliable source. For once, putting cynicism on hold paid off: Mavrothi Kontanis and his spectacular backup band are the real deal... Megan Gould provided eerie sheets of sound on violin... get to know this amazing band.
11.30.05Greece: Explore Your Senses, at the NY Times travel show
On Sunday, the 25, Grigoris Maninakis and his "Mikrokosmos" orchestra presented a top-notch performance of Greek music that had people of all backgrounds and ethnicities clapping, dancing, and finally, shedding a tear or two when he sang his heartrending, extraordinarily beautiful rendition of Misirlou. Megan Weeder, who is not of Greek heritage, captured the idiosyncratic mood and emotion of the violin in Greek music perfectly.
09.24.05And This Bird Can Sing
The band consisted of violin, cello, and drums-bass-guitar, and was incredibly sympathetic. The strings (Megan Weeder and Marika Hughes) played contrapuntal melodies reminiscent of George Martin’s orchestral ragas on late-period Beatles records, stabbed rhythmic tattoos, and—occasionally and to great effect—tracked the complicated melodies in octaves...
"Megan Weeder is a... luminary who has added her sparkle and sleight-of-hand to a breathtaking array of musical endeavors... All musicians who have worked with Megan can attest to her quickness and agility with creating a part or executing parts exactly. She is a uniquely mellow string player. For someone with such a serene temperament she can play so fetchingly from the heart that for many local musicians no one else will do in the studio or on stage."