Celebrating the world music — Guest artist Magda Giannikou describes UI’s music students as excellent collaborators


The fifth annual World Music Celebration opened successfully at the University of Idaho University Auditorium on Friday night.

Three guest musicians Magda Giannikou, Navin Chettri and Habib Iddrisu joined in this two-day celebration.

In this opening gala, Magda Giannikou, a Greek singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, and dancer, and Navin Chettri, a vocalist, composer, percussionist, and educator from Nepal, performed with the students from the Lionel Hampton School of Music.

Giannikou spoke highly of the UI performers saying they had strong curiosities, eagerness of learning and wisdom of open-mindedness, Giannikou said.

“An artist is a traveler. It’s all about giving and receiving,” Giannikou said.

Nicole Etchemendy | Argonaut
Headlining artist Magda Giannikou performs on her accordion as part of the World Music Celebration in the Adminstration Building Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

She said that both herself and the UI students learned from each other through this celebration.

Giannikou said whenever she teaches she relearns, rethinks, and rehearses at the same time.

“The best teachers make their students teach the younger students,” Giannikou said.

Having older students teach the younger ones forces them to process what is in their minds and communicate it in a manner another student can pick up Giannikou said.

“We went through a lot of South American rhythms,” Giannikou said. “And how to internalize rhythms. We also talked about how the sounds of a particular language are just like an instrument.”

During the concert, Giannikou taught the audience how to use the word, “fisherman,” in Spanish to sing as an instrument. She explained the rhythms, tones and stresses along with “fisherman” in details.

After several rehearsals with the audience, Giannikou directed them to sing with her and the UI Jazz Choir together. The audience burst into a prolonged and enthusiastic applause after their combined performance.

Giannikou introduced a Greek folk song, “Yerakina,” in this concert. Yerakina is a kind of bird. In this song, a Yerakina falls in the water, and her beautiful voice compels people around to save her.

Giannikou demonstrated the voice of Yerakina while she was telling the story, which was very lucid and entertaining.

She included not only different cultures but also an interactive way to perform and engage the audience this night.

Giannikou said that the closing gala of the World Music Celebration Saturday, was a variation of the opening performance, which the three visiting musicians cooperated with the UI Jazz Band.

Giannikou also will give a speech at the World Music Celebration workshop on the same day in the afternoon. She will focus on several rhythms briefly, some musical cultures from South America and most importantly, the plans after school.

Magda will provide some suggestions on playing in a band, touring and practical issues which are related to afterschool post graduation careers for the music students.

This event is supported by the UI College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, Student Arts Fee Grants and International Programs.

Jinrong Lei can be reached at  arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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