Herald: A synthesis of old and new melodies, all the way from Cyprus

A synthesis of old and new melodies, all the way from Cyprus

09 Feb 2019 04:44am IST

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Nicole Remedios

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09 Feb 2019 04:44am IST

Report by
Nicole Remedios

Leave a comment

On a faraway Mediterranean island of mysteries, art, culture and traditions, there emerged a blend of music in the melody of the old traditional tunes and modern euphony. That musicality belonged to none other than the band Monsieur Doumani from the island country of Cyprus. Café tuned in as Sur Jahan 2019 presented this trio band on the last day of the world peace music festival

Monsieur Doumani is a trio band comprising

Antonis Antoniou playing the tzouras, Angelos Ionas on the guitar and Demetris Yiasemides playing the trombone and flute. Andys Skordes is another influential member who joins the group as a substitute while the band tours the world with their fusion composed music.

The band was formed as Monsieur Doumani in the year 2011, producing their first limited-edition EP entitled ‘Cyfolk’ in 2012, when the trio felt the need to contemplate the history and culture of their country, Cyprus. The band has received acclaim from the audience as well as international critics, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Songlines Music Awards 2014. Following that, it was nominated for ‘Best Group’ at Songlines Music Awards 2016. Their second album, ‘Sikoses’, has been top listed at the Transglobal World Music Chart and has been awarded ‘Top of the World’ in Songlines magazine.

They reveal that the word ‘monsieur’ is ‘mister’ in French while ‘doumani’ is a Greek word describing ‘stepping into a room full of smoke’, hence the name of the band literally means ‘Mister Smoker’ or ‘Mister Smoking’, identifying the bond of friendship that the band shares along with their music composition. Most of the music composed by the band has a specific explication of subjects that matter, for instance, racism, social conflicts, society, political issues, division of the Island, history of Cyprus, and people of the world.

Their latest album, ‘Angathin’, meaning ‘thorn’, has blown away millions with its effective lyrics, tunes and essence. The album deals with all the political issues and imbalance that occurs in the world today. Music from ‘Angathin’, their previous albums as well as some traditional music from Cyprus was performed at the festival of Sur Jahan on Friday. The band also showcased some music that denoted their journey together.

According to the members of Monsieur Doumani, the human mind has the tendency to wander away, either into the past or imagining the future. “Music is an amazing experience; in fact the best kind of music is opening your ears to the sounds of the environment, where you suddenly discover your life in the present and not worry about the past,” they express.

They reveal that growing up in Cyprus, some 10 or 15 years ago, the country had limited options in the field of music and its production. Most of the songs had to be recorded in Greece. The boys realised that if they wanted their music to sell and speak to people, then it needed to go outside to the rest of the world. Hence they took the initiative of exposing their music globally. Today, it has not only led them to fame but also a deep sense of love and respect for Cyprus. From the time they started as a band till date, Monsieur Doumani has grown and become confident in the type of music they offer to the world.

The main goal behind composing fusion music was to entertain the audience with a traditional feel of history and culture and a tinge of modern symphony. “We had faced a lot of criticism when we first launched as a band because of the kind of music we composed,” said Antonis who plays the tzouras. Explaining their difficulties, the band shared that because of the old and rigid mindset in their hometown, it was difficult to earn a standard with their music composition as people didn’t accept the new motive. “They felt we were ruining the old traditional music while compiling them with a modern tune,” he added. However, as time passed, people adapted to the change and realised that it was necessary to preserve the history and culture and one form of doing so was with the music of the Monsieur Doumani band, as they portrayed the history of Cyprus through their songs.

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