CD Evolution


evjeannieniokos“Evolution” is an award-winning body of work based on traditional Greek folk rhythms, with classical, jazz, and urban influences. Described by some as a musical marriage between the piano and the bouzouki, Niokos’ unique orchestration results in a Greek - Contemporary sound.

CD Evolution

Enjoy samples of my work by click below

Track Notes

evjeannieniokos1. Evolution: (4:30)

My inspiration for Evolution comes from the first dance I ever learned in Greek school. This dance is named after an area in Greece known for the olives, silk handkerchiefs and more recently, the famous composer Yanni. The Kalamatiano danced at weddings, folk festivals, and religious celebrations.  Some have described it as Greece’s national dance.

For music students or music enthusiasts, Evolution uses the hybrid time signature of 7/8. It is subdivided into 3 + 2 + 2 . I say that it is ‘based’ and not ‘in’ 7/8 time because, throughout my composition, I have enjoyed adding unpredictable time signature changes that jump from 7/8 to 8/8, 3/8, and 2/8. It drive my husband (who is from Kalamata’s regions) nuts but at least, I keep my drummer concentrating. If you every see us live, you’ll also notice that our live speed is substantially faster than my recording. It make for a fantastic finally to our shows.

A Little on Kalamata

Kalamata is the capital and chief port of Messinia. It is roughly 238 km from Athens and is said to be near the ancient city of Farai. It is home to a 13th-century castle and was also where my dear old dad grew up. Did I ever understand him better once I had the opportunity to walk through those streets.

2. Sea breeze (3:26)
It was a gorgeous afternoon in late July ‘98. I was sailing near the Sporades Islands, the sun felt warm and soothing, the Islands were visually stunning, and the seagulls followed closely behind. Enjoying my moment in total bliss, I noted a slight breeze caressing my face. "Sea Breeze" was suddenly born. Based on they hybrid time signature of 5/8, (broken down to a 3+2) it goes well with grilled calamari, a glass of white wine and a very special friend.

A little on the Sporades Greek Islands

The Sporades Islands group lies off the eastern shore of mainland Greece and consists of 11 islands of which only four are inhabited: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos and Skyros. These islands are characterised by dense vegetation and mountainous terrain and are world known as some of the bluest and cleanest seas one will ever come across and experience. Each of these has its own beauty and charm and has something unique to offer the visitor.

3. first dance (4:13)
Some people take honeymoons when they marry, I compose. Written within a two-week time span after our wedding (May 16, 1999), I dedicate First Dance to the source of inspiration behind it, my husband Nick. Giving, me the courage to propel forward as this journey has not been easy. I hope that it remains the impetus for many more dances to follow.

First Dance, was the musical inspiration behind the award-winning dance "Olympic Flame". Choreographed by Nancy Athan Milonas in celebration of the 2004 Olympics in Athens Greece, and performed by the Greek Dance Group Nefeli at the Toronto Centre for Performing Arts, "Children of the Flame" production. Later it was awarded in Crete, Greece for best music at the 2003 International Theatre Celebrations.

For you music students out there, it’s in 9/8 time, subdivided into 2 + 2 + 2 + 3. This Hybrid Rhythm is found in the Greek Folk dance called Karsilamas or Macedonikos Andikristos (the Turkish and Macedonian words meaning face-to-face). Similarly to Evolution above, I explore sudden time signature changes ranging from 5/8, 7/8, 6/8, 9/8 and more throughout. Can you find my changes?

4. secret garden (3:15)
Made internationally famous in the Easter scene of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this song is predominately a Zembekiko, dance that is interrupted with a lovely pianistic interlude. Listening back know, I feel a total depiction of Nick and myself. Secret Garden blends the beauty and elegance of the piano with the passion and flair of the bouzouki and this strange mix of musical styles inspired the title, Secret Garden.

To music students. This time signature is in 9/8. This is the longest bar you’ll ever play....It’s made up of 3 groups of the syncopated pattern "16th 8th 16th" followed by three 8th notes "7 8 9" . The count is, "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and, 7 8 9"

5. let's belly dance (2:59)
A beautiful and sensual dance, originating from the Middle East but perfected in Greece.....just kidding. A dancer’s movement can be interpreted as expressions of female sensuality, creativity and mystery. It’s a lot of fun and well worth trying. (Tie a sash with a bit of weight around your waist, it will help accentuate the hip movement).

6. for the children (4:03)
Inspired by Catherine Vaccaro, for all of her work with children who have survived violence within the home or at large. Thank you Catherine for your inspiration. As long as we commit to using our V.O.I.C.E. together, there is a chance that violence within the home will diminish and perhaps one day be eliminated. I dedicate this song to all of the children who have survived violence within and outside the home. Let’s keep talking.

7. dear god (5:57)
I thank God for the gift of music he has bestowed upon me. My source of strength when I am weak, my source of peace when I get frazzled, my source of light when I see dark....My source.

8. a little sabah (4:33)
Based on the traditional Greek dance Karsilama (a dance performed in couples), it’s hybrid time signature is a fast 9/8. It’s breakdown is 2+2+2+3. It also explores the usage of a wonderfully unique sounding Byzantine scale called Sambah. Listen closely it just flies by.

9. eros beach (3:52)
I dedicate this song to a beach just a hop-skip-and jump away from my fathers house in Petalidi, Greece. Eros Beach translates to Love Beach. It’s often full of tourists in the summer months however, in September you can enjoy the beach with a very skimpy swimsuit or nothing at all. (Just don’t tell my dad)

10. remember when (3:09)
This song wrote itself as I found myself remembering a very special person in my life. One who saw my potential far before I could begin to understand it. Dedicated to those who have touched our lives forever. I challenge you to pick up the phone and call ..... if you still can.

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