"CD review by the Swedish "Lira Musikmagasin", for "Crisis"
"What happens to the culture and music of a country - a world - in a financial crisis? The so-called world music is global and can handle tours, but is the music poorer in some way, if it's harder to feed on it? Hardly, at least not for outside music listeners. The Greek band Kompanía depicts in the title track of his third album Krísis the economic crisis and how "taxes and political parties have created this crisis, making everyday life unbearable", from a song written in 1933 by the singer and composer Kostas Roukounas.
The band has been in different crews since 2011 and has been touring all the time. Several of the original members are left - Sotíris Papatragiánnis (song and baglama), Nikos Protópapas (guitar, song) and Dimitri Gkínis (accordion). Last year, musicians came from a younger generation: Ioulía Karapatáki (singing, percussion) and Theoderís Petrópoulos (Bouzouki, Oud, Guitar and Song).
The album is filled with classic rebetical songs from 1929 to 1958, dreamy, caring, longing and with a strong expression - here's the love longing for the "wrong" person, nightlife with ouzo and drugs and love that did not get lost. Especially expressive is Agapó miá pantreméni (I love a married woman), much because of guest play of Mános Ahalinotópoulos on clarinet. The song Krísis returns in Latin version last on the album together with the band Faela! (With musicians from Argentina, Chile, England and Sweden) - an unusually good mix and powerful ending of a strong album."
"CD review by fRoots and Elisavet Sotiriadou, for "Round Trip"
Kompanía are back less than a year since their previous release, Kompanía Live and they take us on a Round Trip journey of rebetika and smyrneika songs. Four of the album’s thirteen tracks are traditional and the other nine are by composers like Tsitsanis, Toundas and Eskenazi.
The album starts with a gentle tsifteteli Arapína Mou Skertsóza sung by Katerina Tsiridou. Erináki is a slow song about unrequited love with heartbreaking lead vocal by Sotiris Papatragiannis, beautifully accompanied by Giannis Kalafatelis on accordeon, Loek Schrievers on slide guitar and then the resonator guitar and guitar of Dimitris Kranidas and Nikos Protopapas picking up the rhythm to turn it into a hasaposerviko, lightening the atmosphere, though the love remains unrequited. O Pinóklis is one of my favourites with faster rhythm and tragicomic lyrics. The slide guitar intro is reminiscent of Nashville, but we’re actually en route from the port of Pireus to New York. I have never heard the name Tsoklis (it comes from Themistokles), but this song is the anthem of a true mangas, the strong cool guy who’s sadly taken the wrong path in life and lost his money at cards. Papatragiannis’ singing and the brilliant and witty lyrics make this a true diamond. Chanoumáki is a karsilamas dance with an upbeat rhythm that should get you dancing, although the album is otherwise fairly laid-back.
Two more favourites are Pame Sta Bouzoukia and the more serious Ksipnó Ke Vlépo Sídera (Ta Mandala). Don’t be afraid of the long titles, the accompanying booklet has short descriptions of each song with titles in roman characters and English translations. Matia Mou (San Pas Sta Kséna) was sung in the past by Domna Samiou, Glykeria and Chronis Aidonidis, and now Kranidas gives his extraordinary interpretation. The final track Thalassáki Mou is one of the most beautiful ballads on this album, with Tsiridou again showing her vocal range and powers. Round Trip is by musicians that live and breathe rebetika and who have chosen less well-known songs. Beautifully arranged, with the voices of Tsiridou, Papatragiannis and Kranidas yet again capturing that authentic sound of rebetika and Greek blues to the soul and bone. Wonderful percussions by Ulas Aksunger too.
By Elisavet Sotiriadou, April 2014