The Musical “Knot” of “Argalios”

Written by Sotiris Bekas

The initial “threads” were Alexis Iosifidis (piano, orchestration), Zoe Mantzou (vocals), and Eleftheria Matsentidou (daouli, vocals). Their common threads brought Alexis Iosifidis back to Veria from London, since he is of British descent, while Zoe Mantzou was welcomed by the capital of Imathia when she returned from Turin. The two of them had been collaborating for several years already. The first timid musical “ventures” in their birthplace took place under the Balsam Blue band, which had a jazz direction, but when local authorities issued a call in the summer of 2020 for small bands to submit proposals for performances at various locations in Veria, the direction took a different path. Eleftheria Matsentidou was added to the equation, and the catalyst for the first appearance of “Argalios” was folk music. The most immediate and common code of expression. Before this, none of the three musicians had dared, perhaps hadn’t even thought of it. But now it seemed obvious, as in their rehearsals the desire to perform folk songs emerged effortlessly. The formation officially took shape and name, finally, in February 2021, and in June of the same year they “ascended” on bandcamp as an EP, with “Alatsatiani“, “Amygdalaki“, “T’ Ai Giorgiou“, and “Mana mou ta Louloudia sou“. This was followed in a similar form, by a live recording with some “Moments” from the “Euychi Poli” Festival of Veria. Everything was on track.

However, along the way, for personal reasons, Eleftheria Matsentidou left and was replaced by Olga Alexiou (daouli, vocals), who also hails from Veria.

This journey, which resembles pieces of a puzzle, coming together in a common meeting place, has many musical paths, revealed in the listening of their material. Because, “Argalios” is a group that immediately captivates interest, with the blend of old and new elements on traditional music. Each one brings different influences, the balance is the melodic line of this music and the respect towards it, combined with a strong inclination to explore it. The criterion is emotion, that is, a song to “touch” the internal string melodically, lyrically, or ideally in both ways. The piano, the minimal but well-connected orchestration, and the decisive presence of the vocals, peak in an aesthetic standard, very satisfying, which already holds promises for what may follow.

For now, Alexis Iosifidis (piano, orchestration), Zoe Mantzou (vocals), and Olga Alexiou (daouli, vocals) are testing and expanding their musical boundaries, searching for their musical “voice” beyond the level of a simple introduction. They also welcome and seek fruitful collaborations with musicians they admire. Each such encounter is an opportunity for leverage and musical study. Every time, it’s a step further.

All this is happening, just before they reach the inevitable step of creating their first complete album. They haven’t yet decided exactly what the ingredients will be, but the direction is clearly evident from all the above. “Argalios” are weaving. Their “knot” is very interesting!


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