Left: Making the bouzouki sing
I spent a few hours at the annual Greek-American Festival at downtown Toledo's Holy Trinity Church. One of the musical acts this evening featured a band with a pair of bouzouki players, and I found their stage performance and musical skills to be surprisingly strong.
It turns out that the group headlining this evening was The Levendes, a Detroit-based group with a long history of blending traditional Greek music with contemporary styles. The band also played a few rock tunes featuring dueling lead bouzouki players Pete Alexander and Johnny Pappas. Their cover of "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones suggested to me that this was a rather inventive festival band, while the blistering bouzouki leads on the Dire Straits song "Sultans of Swing" was mesmerizing.
Be sure to check out The Levendes if you see that the band is playing at a Greek festival or a Greek wedding within a few hundred miles of Detroit. The group makes traditional Greek music that is accessible to the uninitiated, and they know how to rock as hard as any beer-soaked bar band.