"Nikos Brisco writes and sings songs about people getting in trouble and making bad things worse because they don't know any other way; in other words, he sings songs about real people. In albums like Greek/Texan his music is as tough and gnarly as it is tender and mournful, mixing the intimate and the epic with strains of folk, blues and a bit of rock wafting through like hot and cold breezes. There is nothing slick, nothing manufactured, nothing calculated about Brisco. In his live performances, he sings like he means it because he obviously does. In "Greenbelt," the song that leads off Greek/Texan he sings: Remember, first we give our soul/And then we give our bones. It's an incantation of sorts—a promise and a reminder to himself that the only way worth doing anything is to do it all the way."
—John Freedman, The Moscow Times 2003
NEW UPDATE 10/6/05
In January of this current year Ruth Margraff and I opened a GREAT preview of our newest work "Cafe Antarsia" at HERE Arts Center's "CULTUREMART Festival" for two sold out nights! The work was directed by Ian Belton with dramaturgy by Donna Linderman. I had a wonderful live score featuring Rami El-Aasser on percussion, Ron Riley on guitar, tzoura and mainland laouto, Ruth on accordion and lead vocals and myself on Gypsy guitar, trichordo bouzouki, baglama and mainland laouto.
Cafe Antarsia is a new folk opera set in Ottoman occupied Crete in 1889. The plot focuses on three brothers, one based on Nikos Kazantzakis "Captain Mixhales", the leader of the Cretan rebels, his younger brother Thanassos and Cengiz the Turkish Pasha who was blood brothers with Mixhales when they were both young. Karaghiozis makes a human appearance in this new work as a Half Greek Half Turk local that can play both sides and put fire and flame into the Freedom Fighters of Crete in the time of the last failed rebellion from the Ottoman Empire!
"From the enchanting lilt of librettist Ruth Margraff's voice, the
gorgeously poetic dialogue with which Margraff has endowed her
libretto, the intoxicating Balkan rhythms composer Nikos Brisco has
laced through his score for a feisty gypsy band, and the historic
subject matter complete with warring factions, bloodthirsty brothers,
and dangerous seduction, it seems that the duo may have a little
masterpiece on their hands!"
~Arts Cure Magazine on CAFÉ ANTARSIA at 2005 Culturemart Winter Festival/Here Arts Center Jan. 14, 2005
In May of this year the CAFE ANTARSIA ENSEMBLE traveled to Romania to perform two shows at the 2005 International Theatre and Music Festival in Sibiu. The shows were Amazing, the people of Sibiu really know how to host a party in celebration of all the wonderful art happening around them. Artists from all over the world showed up! We were able to perform out doors on the grandstand in the early evenings just as it was getting dark, the beautiful setting along with about 500 people in attendance cheering was more than enough to bring out the best in us. The ensemble expresses deepest appreciation and thanks to our Romania hosts and guides and now friends Delia and Pia! Lets meet again in 2007, CHEERS to Sibiu! (raise glass or Tuica) YAMMAS!
In September we perfromed in Dubrovnik, Croatia and Budapest, Hungary, the shows were great and we would like to give a shout out to all those who walked our path with us.
On September 17th I was kindly invited tp perform at FARM FEST 3at beautiful Flynn Farm in Wilbarger County just outside of Vernon, Texas. Man it was GREAT to get back home and I want to thank the folks there for bringing me back, a special thanks to Steve Taylor form the Vernon Plaza Theatre. I also want to thank the other GREAT TEXAS bands that rocked the day and night in with me. TEXAS JACK, COODER GRAW, MIKE MANCY BAND, UNDER THE INFLUENCE, JOHNNY COOPER & SWAMP DONKEE. Thanks again to all involved here! Peace.
The band leves today for concerts in Prague, Czech Republic and Belgrade, Serbia. After the concerts Ruth and I will sepnd the rest of October working with our dear friends and collaborators in Belgrade DAH TEATAR. Please check out the Cafe Antarsia Ensemble site my friend David Little Smith just put up for us. Peace and Love,
History of the Texas-born songwriter's travels and projects
List of recordings available for purchase, including the new CD Greek/Texan
Get on the mailing list and contact via email
Press quotes on Nikos the songwriter and as composer
More coming soon...
Judge 19: Black Lung Exhaling video short
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