Afrodyssey Orchestra is an instrumental ensemble of six established musicians from Athens, Greece. Officially as Afrodyssey Orchestra since February 2013 their compositional concept is incorporating West African rhythms with idioms from all over the world. That’s mainly what the band’s name states: A musical journey (odyssey) driven by the African percussion. The band’s influences span Jazz, Funk, Psychedelia, West African music, Afrobeat, High life and Greek musical idioms. Their infectious style stems from an experimental conversation between these different musical forms and traditions.
Their blasting performances manage to make communion between the band and their audience, transmitting to the people the impulse to move. In addition to their original work, the band performs innovative versions of well-known African , and World music compositions.
Most band members are multi-instrumentalists and lesser-known instruments played include the Kamelen Ngoni, a type of African harp, the Balafon, an ancestor of the Marimba and Vibraphone and of course djembe and doun doun.
The band has built a strong following in Greece with a reputation for exceptional musicianship and have started to introduce their music in Europe through their live performances in venues and international concerts in Berlin (2014) and Spain (2015).
They released their first original work in 2014 in CD and in vinyl on 2016. At the moment the ensemble is busy working on their new album, which is going to be recorded and released in 2017.
Current Band Members:
Konstantinos Arvanitis – Guitar
Vassilios Ikonomidis – Percussion, Balafon, Tenor Saxophone, Keyboard
Christos Konstantinidis – Drums
Vasilis Papastamopoulos – Bass
Narayan Protin – Djembe, Percussion, Kamelen Ngoni
Thodoris Rellos – Tenor & Soprano Saxophone
Former & Session:
Leandros Fratnik – Drums
George Kosteletos – Drums
Panagiotis Raptis – Alto Saxophone
Kostis Vazouras – Barytone & Soprano Saxophone
- 9 & 16/11 2014: Afrodyssey received airplay for a specially recorded version of “Ti se mellei” on Athens’ contemporary music station: Pepper 96.6 for the programme YOUcover.
- 13/3/2015: Radio y Televisión Española – “In the Land of Aou Tila” (01’:55’’)
- 16/3/2015: Radio y Televisión Española – Live Recording from MUD Festival (38’:20’’)
- 17/3/2015: Poplaroid Radio – Live Recording from MUD Festival (35’:40’’)
- 16/7/2015: Kosmos 93.6 (ERT, Greek Radio & Television network – Interview & Album presentation) http://webradio.ert.gr/kosmos
- 29/5/2016: 9,58FM ERT3 (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation - Public broadcasting network - Interview & Album presentation)
Recent quotes & reviews
- "Afrodyssey Orchestra despite being a new musical ensemble, it has nevertheless proved to be highly capable and efficient with a great love towards afrobeat (and not only) attempting to approach it without renouncing its greek heritage, but embracing all. Even if their first album may include parts where technique prevails and less risks are taken, as the album unfolds it lures you, and them, to a state of complete freedom, and to a creative musical verve and adventure consistent to their name."
- “Afrodyssey Orchestra honor above and beyond the promise that comes with their name, guiding the listener into a musical journey that flows unconstrained between the genres… They make it seem such an easy job, even though it is not”
- “An Afro fusion band with greek origins and unique musical identity “
(9/11/2014 – YOUcover – Radio Pepper 96.6)
- “Exotic rythms and African dances in Athens. An Odyssey through Africa is the proposal of Afrodyssey Orchestra , who since their establishment in March 2013, they manage to mix in a unique way the African traditional rhythms of West Africa with jazz, funk….”
- “…. The time was not the best nor the weather helped, not to mention the wind. But a few minutes before 16:00, on the outdoor stage of CMA Las Armas, the Greek band Afrodyssey Orchestra did not allow anyone to stand still. They made the 200 people who were there to start shaking to the rhythm of the saxophones, guitars and drums … It’s a question of rhythm…”
(Review in El Periodico de Aragon on the participation of Afrodyssey Orchestra in SLAP festival 2015 @ Zaragoza)
- “…and then it came the greek earthquake…a really fantastic concert…the ultimate surprise…the revelation of this edition of the festival…an afro-exlosion…while what you think you hear is from Ghana or Mali nevertheless it’s music played by Greek musicians…“
(Radiotelevisión Española – RTVE)
Started playing music (guitar, piano) at the age of fourteen and formed his first band Blackfinger Wolf a year later. He studied Commercial Arranging at Berklee College of Music, Boston MA. He has played with many bands in Athens and the States, worked as a composer for theatre, TV and Radio and is conversant in diverse genres. Kostas is a recording artist with modal jazz quartet Anakata, indie-folk group Low Cost Travelers. He is a founding member of Afrodyssey Orchestra as composer and guitarist.
Christos Konstantinidis, born in Serres, Greece on the 14th of March 1985, has been developing a passion for music since the age of twelve when he got his first drum courses from Sotiris Ladias. He has devoted himself professionally to music ever since the completion of his school education. With a particular interest for improvisational music and Jazz, he enrolled to the conservatory of Thessaloniki where he studied subjects ranging from Harmony and Theory of Music to Classic Percussion until he decided to attend in 2005 a preparatory year in the conservatory of Rotterdam in Netherlands, where he completed his rich musical education in 2010. He has worked, co-operated, learned and performed with various important musicians, from a contribution at an early age to the recording of a new album by the well-known Greek band “Μωράστη Φωτιά” to accomplished musicians such as Hans van Oosterhout, Peter Ypma, Joost Kroon, Joost Patocka, Lucas van Meerewijk, Owen Hart jr., Hein van de Gein, Kris Goessens, Jeff Ballard, Billy Hart, James Carter, John Abercrombie, Mark Guilliana, Jim Black. He has been an active performer with various projects, both in Greece and abroad (Cyprus, Netherlands). Since 2010 he is based in Athens where he is performing and teaching.
Narayan Protin began playing percussion at seventeen, going on to study at Filipos Nakas Conservatory, Athens. He later attended the West African Percussion Studies Course at the National Conservatory of Amsterdam. He has travelled many times to Africa (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea) studying with master drummers such as: Fadouba Oulare, Moussa Oulare, Mansa Camio, Billy Konate (Guinea), Sega Sidibe (Mali), Harouna Dembele (Burkina Faso). He is former co-founder of the group Afrolab Percussion and a founding member of Afrodyssey Orchestra. Narayan also teaches traditional West African percussion and plays for dance classes and performance.
Vassilios originally studied classical piano and theory at the National Conservatory of Athens (Odeion Athinon). During his university studies in Italy he was introduced to the flute and tenor saxophone. His musical influences stem from Autophysiopsychic Music which refers to music that comes from one’s physical, mental, and spiritual self and are clearly audible in his work. Vassilios studied West African Percussion with a number of renowned African musicians and teachers such as Harouna Dembele (Burkina Faso), Sidiki Camara (Mali), Thomas Guey (Ivory Coast), Moussa Oulare (Guinea), Babara Bangoura (Guinea). He has played with Urbanoise (Experimental Electronic) and was invited to play at Netaudio Berlin Festival 2009 for the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in addition to being a founding member of Afrodyssey Orchestra on Percussion, Balafon, Tenor saxophone, Keyboard.
Vassilis is a graduate in advanced harmony from the Sibelius conservatorium in Athens (2006) and has also studied electric bass with Yiotis Kiourtsoglou. He is also a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Athens (2014). Vasilis performs with a number of other bands and projects: Sun Electric Dopperman, Los Tre, Blue John and the steamboats, Lost Bodies (in 2011 they performed at the Rockwave Festival in Athens, the most prestigious international festival in Greece for Rock music) and Poltergeist. He teaches el.bass since 2006 and he is a founding member of Afrodyssey Orchestra.
A seminal figure on the jazz scene for the last two decades, saxophonist Thodoris Rellos is known for redefining the sound of jazz in Greece through his work with Mode Plagal and beyond. Born in Athens, he studied flute in the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki with Tone Takahashi, theory with George Zervos and Byzantine music with Nikiforos Metaxas in Constantinople, where he worked with the Bosphorus Ensemble. He has played the saxophone since 1980 for various groups, festivals, concerts and appearances in Greece and abroad. He has recorded for the radio, television, film, theatre and dance performance. Some of his compositions can be found in “The morning and the evening” (Lyra 1991) with M Siganidis. “Mode Plagal” (Ano Kato Records 1995) with Kl Aantoniou and T Kanellos. “Acid Free” (1985-1992) with V Dallas, G Melakis, P Benetatos. “Pyros Aethir” (Legend 2000). Bosphorus and Mode Plagal, “Beyond the Bosphorus” (Hitch Hyke 2003). Thodoris plays saxophone for Afrodyssey Orchestra since their Berlin tour (February 2014).