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Bouzouki workshops on Samos

- by Karen Mills

Bouzouki workshops on Samos.

I love the sound of the bouzouki and the bouzouki is, of course, the sound of Greece. Now you can learn the basics of bouzouki playing or even make your own instrument in workshops held on the holiday island of Samos.

The workshops are held at the Samos Bouzouki School in Pythagorio, home of musician Yannis Loulourgas, who is passionate about both the music and the instrument.

In the Greek music workshop you get to hear how Greek music originated, and learn to play simple songs and rhythms that underpin Greek music.

Greek music not only draws on the major and minor scales but on many ancient scales handed down from other cultures – Ionian, Dorian, Byzantine are just a few. One scale is called 'sabaa' an Arab word for sunrise.

You get 10 one-to-one lessons and to join you need only know how to play any string instrument. At the end of the course you get DVD showing bouzouki techniques and y0ur own CD.

The Build Your Own Instrument workshop is a step-by-step guide to carving, shaping, decorating, varnishing an instrument and in five days you get to own your own hand-crafted baglamás.

The baglamás is a small stringed instrument widely played in the Eastern Mediterranean. All the parts are prepared and ready, so you can start assembly straight away.

At the end of the workshop Yiannis and his family invite you on a Greek barbecue. For detail of courses check the Samos Bouzouki School website.

Yiannis studied Byzantine music on Patmos and started playing the bouzouki professionally in 1973, aged24. In 1977 he went to the United States to carry on with his music studies and stayed there until 1983.

Nowadays his instruments are not only sold all over Greece but around the world. Yiannis Loulourgas lives with his wife Jocelyn and two children, Thanasi and Maria, in Pythagoreio, Samos.