Guitar Kanun Duet: Butterfly

Label: Odradek Records
Original Release Date: March, 2019

World-premiere recordings of music for a unique combination: Western classical guitar and the kanun, a zitherlike Eastern string instrument. Versatile Greek musicians Vassilis Ketentzoglou and Sofia Labropoulou have created a repertory for this unprecedented combination, resulting in a new and fresh musical soundworld; a meeting of minds and cultures. On one hand, there is the guitar: a fretted, well-tempered, polyphonic “Western” string instrument; on the other, the kanun: a zitherlike “Eastern” string instrument, capable of playing microtonal scales, and typically played as a monophonic solo instrument. As this release demonstrates, these musicians have found innovative ways to blend these contrasting musical worlds: the guitar sometimes becomes an “Eastern” solo instrument, playing microtonal melodies and ornamenting as Middle Eastern instruments do, and the kanun becomes like a “Western” instrument, playing chords or even counterpoint. The album’s eponymous Butterfly symbolises bringing these instruments out of their cocoon, emerging into a colourful world in which guitar and kanun do not simply co-exist but blossom together as one.