Workshops 2017


A Festival emphisising on the importance of musical expression

The accordionists participating in the Festival, not only attend the seminars and enrich their knowledge, but also participate and express themselves through music.

Either they are beginners or experienced, all accordionists, if they wish, have opportunities during the Festival to play and participate in small groups which are created to present their work and to meet each other by playing the accordion. On the last day of the seminars, small groups of accordionists, scatter on the pedestrian streets of Ermoupolis and fill the city with sounds where they all end together at Miaouli Square, the main square of the city, where there is a musical presentation of the seminars with the teachers and the participants. Hardly does anyone meet so many accordionists playing and being united by music, that the smiles on their face testify the “musical” joy that cannot be hidden.

Three workshops with one common theme :

“The urban folk music in Greece and in France”

  • The duration of each workshop is 3 hours per day, morning or afternoon, 15 hours in total.
  • The workshops will take place from Monday 31 July to Saturday 5 August 2017. 
  • A special day in the week, organized by the professors, will be devoted to a presentation of the work of each group.
  • The schedules will be arranged in order to give participants the possibility to follow two courses during the week.

Prices : €100  for one seminar and €180 for two seminars

WORKSHOP 1  :  “Greek accordion, walking the line between East and West

Teacher : Haroula Tsalpara


The accordion, its role and evolution in the folk music of urban areas of Greece, during the first half of the 20th century.

The accordion arrived in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Balkans in the mid-later 19th century. As various other instruments which arrived from the central Europe, it was adapted in the music idioms of every region. It was widely used in these areas as an easy, light, functional and transportable instrument, which allowed folk musicians to perform anywhere, providing them with self-efficiency and independency.

  • The purpose of this seminar is to enlighten this folk usage of the accordion, the repertoire and its evolution.
  • It is addressed to both amateur and professional accordionists, who love or feel curiosity for this exceptional way of performing, in this little angle of the world.
  • The music sheets together with acoustic samples of the pieces will be sent to the participants before the beginning of the seminar so that they can have a look at them.
  • The first day includes a short theoretical overview, while each of the following days will focus on the study of the structural characteristics (e.g. rhythm, accompaniment) of different folk pieces, taken from the very rich accordion repertoire of the Greek area. Every day includes a different music piece, so that the participants can practise in a cross-curricular way through the live repertoire of the instrument. The pieces will be taught both through studying of recordings and experientially during the class.


  • Monday 31/07

Part 1: Historic, politic and social background of the first half of the 20th century with the participation of Theodora Athanasiou. The accordion throughout this background and the differentiation of its role in the pieces of the composers of the Asia Minor and the later folk music. The instrument and the musicians-soloists. Short presentation of the music pieces and the characteristics that will be studied the following days.

Part 2 Politiko Hasapiko

  • Tuesday 01/08 Taftaliano Hasapiko (Fast, Hijaz)
  • Wednesday 02/08 : “Aivaliotiko Zeibekiko or Aptaliko”
  • Thursday 03/08 : Part 1: O Xenihtis” (Tsifteteli). Part 2: Co-operation with the seminar of Arthur Bacon.
  • Friday 04/08 Esi pou sernis ton horo” (Sirto)
  • Saturday 05/08 : Conclusion – Last rehearsal  and Concert

 WORKSHOP 2  :  “Musette, Swing, Improvisation”

Teacher :  Arthur Bacon

Arthur Bacon

Arthur Bacon

At the beginning, this accordion seminar will focus on improvisations.

Starting from raw sounds, the accordionists will arrive at the scales and the symphonies. Arthur Bacon suggests that the participants work with the internal sound, the one that takes places in the inner part of the accordion.

From the acoustic theme we will reach the fanfare and the virtuosity of folk waltz. We will study the masters of the genre, Gus Viseur, Joe Privat and Tony Murena, as well as various other influences, such as those of Jacques Brel, Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix.

We will learn how to listen, to reply, to hush and then to yell.

Teaching approach


  • Development of playing within groups (interaction / improvisation/ listening)

  • Modulation, variation and improvisation in folk swing

  • Swing / waltz accompaniments

  • Studying of folk pieces

  • Harmonic analysis

Before the beginning of the seminar the participants will receive some pieces (both in recording and in sheet music) via e-mail, so that we devote ourselves to playing when the seminar starts.

Construction of knowledge and development of tools aiming to help the participants become independent at:

analysis / improvisation / composition/ cover

References of the seminar :

Festival Roubaix à l’Accordéon (France), Festival Accordéons – nous (à Trentels, France) , Festival du Grand Soufflet (à Rennes, France), Festival du Printemps des Bretelles (à Illkirch France), École de musique de Couëron(France), Médiathèques de Strasbourg(France).

WORKSHOP 3  :  “Narratives Songs”

Teacher :  Avgerini Gatsi

Αυγερινή Γάτση

Αυγερινή Γάτση

Through paralogues and verses we build our own code of polyphony and harmony of the voices and we get to know the melodious rhymes of the speech.

Assonances from the tradition of different areas that inhabit our collective memory become a means in order to narrate our history.

We work together on the makams, the folk pathways, the improvisation and the tunes in land and the sea, by means of the words, the consonants and the vowels on familiar as well as our own couplets.

We practice the mechanisms of breathing and articulating, we engage in games of rhythm and movement, we sing denaturing the pain and the joy, the insobriety and the loneliness of our ancestors.

We coordinate our mind with our body inviting the awareness and the emotion.
The workshop is addressed to professional and amateur singers, as well as to musicians who desire to work with their voice.

This workshop will be in interaction with the workshops of Haroula Tsalpara and Arthur Bacon.


 Resume of the teachers

Haroula Tsalpara

Haroula Tsalpara was born in Athens. At the age of seven she began studying the piano at the Conservatory of Athens, in the class of G. Michailidis. In 2004 she was among the first ten people who entered the Department of Music Studies of the University of Athens. In 2005 she attended an annual seminar on Music Therapy (Nordoff-Robbins method) led by Maria Froudaki. Right after the end of the seminar, she offered volunteer work in a music therapy group at the institution of welfare programmes PIKPA Voulas. In 2008 she received her degree in Harmony by the Greek Conservatory in the class of E. Tzerahi and continued her higher theoretical studies and two years later, in 2010, she received with honour her degree in Counterpoint. During the same year, she graduated from the Department of Music. In 2011 she finished her studies in the piano and received with honours the Diploma from the Orfio Conservatory of Athens, class of G. Michailidis.

In 2005, Haroula started working on greek folk and traditional music. In 2007 she discovered and since then she has been studying the interpretations of great folk music Greek singers, such as Roza Eskenazi, Rita Ampatzi, Stella Haskil, Sotiria Mpellou, Ioanna Georgakopoulou, Ntaisi Stayropoulou, etc. From 2011 onwards she works as a singer and musician in various entertainment settings, a fact that has offered her the chance to gain practical knowledge around Greek folk music. In 2013 she started playing the accordion, under the coaching of A. Tsekouras at the beginning and then receiving advice by I. Vavatsikas . She has worked with different eminent artists and has been an founding or not member of music groups. Since 2013, she has started studying and experimenting on the piano, in an attempt to search the identity of that instrument in the orchestras of urban folk music of the 20th century. This endeavour , which is being continued up until today, is called “PianOLAterna” and is being presented every Saturday afternoon in Athens at “Ouzeri Lesvos”

Today, Haroula is a member of the groups “Mpam” (2015-) with Th. Athanasiou and G. Smarianaki and “Banda Jovanica” (2015-) with K. Korkovelos, G. Niarhos and G. Smarianaki. She also continues on her endeavour “PianOLAterna and works in different entertainment settings together with various other artists who have as a point of reference the music of the gramophone as well as the traditional music of Greece and the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Arthur Bacon

After attending the Jazz class at the conservatory of Strasbourg (with Eric Watson and Marcel Loeffler), he completes his studies at the Jazz-Institute of Berlin (with Greg Cohen and John Hollenbeck).
Invested in many collaborations, he appears in Berlin and Brussels in various projects ranging from electro to noise music. However, it is especially with the groups Zakouska (gypsy jazz) and The Summer Rebellion (freak-blues) that he personalized his accordion play style.
With the recording of three CDs and the various years of touring in these two bands, he comes forward as a quirky accompanist and a ferocious improviser.
He is one of those musicians you need to see on stage or even elsewhere to fully appreciate his musical energy. He often gives master classes in France and Belgium on the accordion and the improvisation methods.

Avgerini Gatsi

Avgerini Gatsi was born in Athens in 1989 with origins from the beautiful Ipiros. Her musical journey starts at the age of 8 on the piano with Maria Stoupi. Later on, she studies at the musical high school in Pallini where she learnt a lot of theory of the Byzantium and European music (harmonies), ney and saz. After completing her year 12 studies she continues on at the Athens conservatory with emphasis on modal music (makams) with Christos Tsiamoulis as a teacher. She also continues on the ney with Harris Lambrakis.

She now studies at the musical section of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and participates in the traditional band of the department. She has attended numerous seminars at the musical workshop Lavirinthos in Crete with Omer Erdogdular (ney), Yurdal Tokcan (oud), Zohar Fresco (rhythm), Mercan Erzincan (turkish grommet song), Ross Daly (composition – makams) και Socrates Sinopoulos (makams). She has also worked with Alexandros Papadimitrakis, Mihalis Kouloumis, Manousos Klapakis, Dimitris Brentas, Maria Ploumi, Stefanos Filos, Santouristas band and Elektrobalkana.

Since 2012 she directs the mixed chorus of traditional music “perperouna” and since 2013 she teaches traditional songs and improvisation on makams at the summer music seminars of Ikaria (musical yards) and Samos.

For the last five years she has been an active member of the group “rebetien” and later a member of the vocal group “bilia faux”, where she is responsible for the instrumentation and the cover of the material for voices.

She has worked with: Alexandros Papadimitrakis, Michalis Kouloumis, Manousos Klapakis, Eugenios Voulgaris, Thymios Atzakas, Dimitris Mprentas, Maria Ploumi, Stephanos Filos, Santouristas Band, Elektrobalkana, Vasilis Skoutas, Dimitris Mitarakis, et al.

—– Contact —–

 Candia Prindezi (Gr – Eng)
+30 69 71 80 41 86
Christelle Loukitch (Fr – Eng – Gr)
+30 22 81 04 28 75
Facebook: Syros Accordion Festival

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