14 September 2007


Tonight Abelisto and I went to a wonderful concert. The musician was Pavlo(www.pavlo.net), who plays Mediterranean music.

We had third row seats, center stage, and there was no one in front of us.

Before the show there was a cd of Pavlo's music playing just loudly enough to be heard over the normal chatter of excited people finding their seats, greeting their seat-neighbors and paging through the program.

The cd faded out. The house lights dimmed. And Pavlo and the four musicians accompanying him came out onto a dark stage.

As they started the first number the lights came up and we could see five handsome men, dressed in varying combinations of black and white, lovingly playing their instruments. As their fingers flashed and hands stroked the fretboards, drums and keyboards, they set the mood for the evening - sultry, sexy and smooth.

Right away I noticed that the musicians playing the stringed instruments - Pavlo on guitar, George Vasilakos on bouzouki, and Randy Rodrigues on bass - were using wireless transmitters instead of the usual wired set up. It did not take too awfully long to see why - they never stopped moving and dancing to the music they played.

The keyboard player, Denzil Remedios, seemed at first to be a bit shy and distant until I took the time to focus on what he was doing. I think that part of my first impression came from the fact that from where we were sitting we could not see his hands and he did not move as much as the other musicians while he was playing. When I concentrated on his contribution to the music I realized that he was fully engaged with the others and his playing was an intense and compelling underscore to the stringed instrument parts.

The percussionist, Gino Mirizio, spent much of the concert playing not only the congas but all of the percussion instruments - including the cymbals - with his hands. The resulting sound was a perfect match; its soft, slurry beat complementing the sounds of the keyboard, bass, bouzouki and guitar. Not limiting his performance to the background, Gino used sticks in several pieces and created a complicated and compelling rhythm that wove in and out of the music in a manner that made it hard to stay in our seats.

Catching me totally by surprise, Randy Rodrigues skillfully slipped his electric bass right into the music. I would have never thought of an electric bass as part of a Mediterranean ensemble (being more accustomed to thinking of bass players playing rock 'n roll or reggae or some such). I love new discoveries, new realities.

For much of the evening, the focus was primarily on Pavlo and George Vasilakos. They were usually at the front of the stage, hammering away at their instruments, pouring out amazing music. Sliding, bending, hammering on, pulling off, all those special techniques that make music unforgettable. Fast, fast fingers. Perfect timing. Exemplary showmanship and expertise.

Even though many might see Pavlo and George as the stars of the evening, Pavlo went to great lengths to "show off" the skills of his partner musicians. Every musician was in the spotlight a number of times during the evening. It truly seemed that there was great respect and affection between the band members.

I ended up being given a free cd of their music. During the song Under the Heat, Pavlo invited someone from the audience to come up on stage and dance with him. Well, I certainly could not pass up the opportunity to dance with a handsome man, especially on stage... I climbed over Abelisto and our son (who pretended to be totally mortified), and danced my way up to the stage. Once there Pavlo and I dance for several minutes, whirling and twirling and enjoying the music. He asked me if I had ever done any belly dancing. I held up my hand with my thumb and index finger about an inch apart. He smiled and said follow me and we shimmied and shook back and forth, looking into each others' eyes (yes we did the booby-jiggle-walk). We laughed, he gave me a big hug and then we bowed to each other and I danced off the stage as he picked his guitar up again and finished the song with his partners.

It was great, great fun. During the intermission, Pavlo autographed my cd with"Thanks for the dance! Pavlo"

I could write much, much more. The show was absolutely a blast. If you ever get the chance to see Pavlo in concert you should definitely go. And buy tickets as close to the front as possible, so that you too can get up and shake it up on stage with Pavlo!


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