Led by lyra (fiddle) virtuoso Stelios Petrakis, the quartet performs the spirited and often hypnotic dance music and epic songs and laments of Crete. Played on traditional fiddles, lutes, and bagpipes, their repertoire includes arrangements of traditional pieces and new compositions by Petrakis that reflect a range of Mediterranean and Eastern influences. Petrakis (lyra, laoto – lute) is joined by Thanassis Makrokostas (askomandura (bagpipes), cello-lyra, dance), Andonis Stavrakakis (mandolin, laouto, vocals), and Giorgos Manolakis (laoto, vocals).
About the Artist
Stelios Petrakis was born in 1975 and grew up in Sitia, Crete. In 1983 he joined the Sitia School of Music, learning to play the lyra under teachers Giannis Dandolos (1983), Ross Daly (1984) and Eleni Drettaki (1985-1993), under the directorship of Kostas Moundakis. He completed his “official” lyra studies in 1993. From 1993 onwards, based in Athens under the guidance of Ross Daly, he continued to study the lyra and also became interested in related musical traditions (Anatolian folk music, classical secular and religious music of Istanbul, traditional Greek music) and instruments (saz, Politiko and Cretan laouto, bulgari, Politiki lyra).
From summer 2000 onwards, he attended, also at the Labyrinth a series of seminars on musical instruments and traditions of the East by top teachers (Talip Ozkan, Necati Çelik, Georgi Petrov, Kala Ramnath, etc.) In 2009 he attended a seminar in Paris with the world-class Indian violinist Dr L. Subramaniam.
Stelios Petrakis has worked on concerts and recordings with major musicians in the areas of “World Music” (Ross Daly, L’Ham de Foc, Bijan and Keyvan Chemirani, Sylvain Barou, Ojos de Brujo, Patrick Vaillant, Kristi Stassinopoulou, Oneira); Traditional Music (Giorgis Xylouris, Vassilis Stavrakakis, Zacharias Spyridakis, Michalis and Mitsos Stavrakakis, Giorgos Makris, Domna Samiou, Christos Tsamoulis); Greek musicians and composers (Christos Leondis, Stamatis Spanoudakis, Achilleas Persidis); and with the great Spanish singer Manolo García.
For the past five years, Stelios Petrakis has founded the Cretan Quartet, a group that travels cretan music and dance at the most important festivals Worldwide (India, Malaysia, US, Marocco, Switzerland, France, Belgium). He has also an instrumental trio with the Valencian Multiinstrumentalist Efren Lopez and the Franco-Iranian percussionist Bijan Chemirani. He has also participated in recordings by other musicians and groups including Ross Daly, Stamatis Spanoudakis, Bijan and Keyvan Chemirani, Christos Leontis, Manolo García, Kristi Stassinopoulou, Palyrria, Sylvain Barou and Oneira.
Stelios Petrakis has a luthierie workshop in Heraklion, where he makes musical instruments including various types of lyra, laouto, saz, etc. He has a degree in Law from the Faculty of Law, School of Law, Athens University. He speaks English and (to a lesser degree) French and Turkish.