Sephardic music of Thessaloniki


Musical ensemble «Muhabet» - Sephardic


Sunday 12 May
18:00 - 19:00


Chrimatistirio Square

Sephardic music of Thessaloniki

Musical ensemble «Muhabet» – Sephardic



  1. Canary (Greek, Turkish, Sephardic).
  2. Where will I find a woman like you (Greek, Sephardic)
  3. Los bilbilicos (Sephardic, Turkish).
  4. Elenitsa(Greek, Sephardic)
  5. YediKule (Sephardic)
  6. The vest (Greek, Sephardic)
  7. El cantede la viktoria (Sephardic)
  8. Beyatisazsemaisiisak (Instrumental)


Musical routes in Fragkomahalas

Thessaloniki, as a multicultural city, housed a plethora of ethnicities. Despite the beauty it nurtured, a huge part of its musical culture, the different sounds and tunes that surrounded the city and offered its visitors a rich mixture of tones, has been erased from the collective memory with the passage of time.

The State Conservatory of Thessaloniki recaptures through its cultural routes the musical feeling of 20th century Thessaloniki. Greek, Jewish and Ottoman music, as well as West-European,  co-existed, in the early 1900s, in the city’s heart using a process that can only be described as “to give and to take”. As a result, an intercultural musical mosaic was created, where Sephardic songs, traditional Greek, Ottoman secular, and Western classical music were combined.

In this spirit, the musical ensemble “Muhabet” (translated as “friendly conversation”) presents songs and sounds that connect and unite the three ethnicities that lived in Thessaloniki at the beginning of the 20th  century.



«Muhabbet» is a group that was formed from the mind of Dimitris Giannopoulos, who wanted to share an important part of the musical history of Thessaloniki, and in particular Frangomahalas’ neighborhood (Frangon Street), with the modern residents – citizens of the world. Firstly, it started from the conservatory and it only became reality when four very different musicians connected all with one thing in common; their love for tradition. Rich ranges of sounds and ornaments of various genres in their musical history, with common paths on independent musical trips, they all met to create a union that everyone can relate to.

The names of the two projects they created for the second SKG Bridges Festival are called “Muhabbet– Turkish” and “Muhabbet– Sephardic” with music and songs from Turkey and Spain, respectively.

The musical ensemble“Muhabbet” consists of:

  • Gӧerkem Saoulis: psaltery, singing
  • Giannis Poulios: violin
  • ChrysostomosVletsis: oud, singing
  • Maria Karamouza: percussion, singing


Gӧerkem Saoulis

She was born in Ankara in 1977. She studied Turkish music and the psaltery at the Conservatory of Istanbul (ITU). She participates as a soloist with her psaltery in two major theatrical productions (Abdulcanbaz and Bir DemetYasemen). In 1998 she collaborated with the founder of contemporary Turkish music, MelihKibar, in concerts, recordings and television shows. Görkem worked at the “Golden Horn” University of Istanbul until 2003. In 2017 her presented her first personal album entitled “Görkem”. From 2018 she has been the chief conductor of the ensemble “Romanos, Melodos”.

Giannis Poulios

Born in Bruschal in Germany, he grew up in Katerini. He studied at Katerini’s, Music School and then attended the Department of Folk and Traditional Music in Arta and the Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul. Today he has an active participation in the Greek music scene, as well as abroad, with collaborations on stage and on a record level with various musical formats.

Chrysostos Veltsis

He was born in 1991 in Thessaloniki. From the age of 8, he was taught music near the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Master of psalms Panagiotis Neochoritis and the oud by Kyriakos Tapakis. Today, as Lampadarius, he commands the passage of the Holy Patriarchal and Stavropygian Monastery of Vlatades. Finally, he is avital executive in musical formations and orchestras such as “Romanos, Melodos” and “The Leaves of Levante”.

Maria Karamouza

The soprano was born in Thessaloniki. After studying at the Forestry and Natural Environment Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, she began her studies in classical singing at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki. She knows traditional percussion, exploring the intensity and pulse of the traditional sounds in which she grew up. She has participated in festivals and concerts in many European countries as a choir, singer and artist. Her last participation as a performer was in the Munich Musical Theater Biennale in June 2018