Stelios Petrakis came of age surrounded by the lively traditional ballads that characterized the local music scene of his homeland, the Greek island of Crete. Taking to the island’s emblematic instrument, the Cretan lyra, at a young age, Petrakis honed his craft under the instruction of internationally-renowned musician Ross Daly in Athens, who he would go on to collaborate with, among many others, as he gradually earned a reputation throughout the music community as not only a compelling musician, but an innovative composer as well.
As his body of work expanded, so too did his ambitions as a participant in the global folk scene, branching out both professionally and artistically, opening his own luthierie business (the craft of designing traditional instruments) for other musicians and merging his knowledge of Cretan folk music with a myriad of other styles from across the globe, ranging from Spanish Flamenco to traditional Middle Eastern music. Stelios is joined by fellow Cretan musicians Andonis and Giorgos Stavrakakis on mandolin and laouto (an eight-stringed, long-necked Grecian guitar) and dancer Thanassis Mavrokostas to make tangible the quartet’s physically demanding music.
Listed as one of NPR’s top discoveries at the 2016 globalFEST, Petrakis’s dynamic compositions have been described by one Huffington Post writer as running the gamut “from the somber to the intoxicating, and as far as I am concerned it is all simply grand.” Uniquely synthesized songs performed on one-of-a-kind instruments evoking a musical lineage unknown to our own culture, Stelios Petrakis promises to be a singular musical experience.