Spyros Giasafakis and Evi Stergiou. | Daemonia Nymphe | Photo: Jean Wong
Home Features Return to Ancient Greece with the ecstatic hymns of Daemonia Nymphe

Return to Ancient Greece with the ecstatic hymns of Daemonia Nymphe

by Thiago Marques
Published: Updated:

Daemonia Nymphe (Divine Nymph, in Greek) was founded in Athens in 1994 by Spyros Giasafakis and his brother, Pantelis.

The duo’s initial idea was to make music out of texts from Greek mythology, specially Orphic hymns, as well as Homeric and Sapphic poems dedicated to Zeus and Hecate. Nowadays, Daemonia Nymphe also have their own lyrics for their compositions.

Their first album was released in 1998, entitled The Bacchic Dance of the Nymphs. The band faced several obstacles while trying to find labels interested in launching the album, as they had great difficulty in framing Daemonia Nymphe in a musical genre. In the end, the release saw the light of the day under the German label Solistitium Records.

Giasafakis began his artistic career as a visual artist, studying sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Thessaloniki and, later, at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Wimbledon College of Art in London, which contributed to a deeper dive into his Greek cultural heritage. Even today, he still uses the acquired talents to further characterize the group’s live performances.


See also: Daemonia Nymphe reissues ‘Psychostasia’ with new songs

After Evi Stergiou joined and Pantelis left in 2000 to form his solo project Arkane, the band finally started to perform live. Inspired by the artistic aspects of the Ancient and Classic periods of Ancient Greece, Daemonia Nymphe was the first band in the world to make use of Greek historical instruments in compositions and live performances, marked by their theatricality and characterization, wearing masks and veils. Their presentations convey a hypnotic and ecstatic atmosphere. Not for nothing, they have been invited a couple times to compose songs and performances in theaters and historical revival festivals, in addition to having already lent their compositions to film and documentary soundtracks.

Return to Ancient Greece with the ecstatic hymns of Daemonia Nymphe

Spyros Giasafakis and Evi Stergiou. | Daemonia Nymphe | Photo: Jean Wong

It was during this same period that Giasafakis came into contact with Nikolaos Brass, a maker of reproductions of musical instruments from Ancient Greece. Upon hearing some of the band’s compositions, Nikolaos immediately decided to donate to them some of the instruments in his collection. This fact allowed Daemonia Nymphe to reach uncharted territories for their music.

According to Giasafakis, it was quite challenging to face instruments that they saw only painted in vases, in drawings, paintings, museums or described in books. They had to research a lot about them and find their own means to play the Cretan lyre, the zither, the barbitos, among many other instruments rescued from Antiquity by Nikolaos Brass.

International projection

2002 was the year that the duo signed a contract with the French label Prikosnovénie to release the eponymous album, Daemonia Nymphe, which projected the band to the rest of Europe and the world. The label is responsible for releases by artists from around the globe, however, Daemonia Nymphe was the first musical group from Greece to have any materials released by them.

Over the years, the duo Spyros Giasafakis and Evi Stergiou was joined by several musicians, dancers and even puppet masters from different countries. Thus, it was possible for them to perform ritualistic performances that transport the listeners to Hellas’ lost past. The session musicians who usually join the duo are: Victoria Couper, Vaggelis Paschalides, Christopher Brice and Stephen Street.

See also: Daemonia Nymphe | Watch ‘Nemesis Rhamnousia’ live video

Psychostasia, the band’s sixth album, was the first to be fully conceived and presented as a play. According to Giasafakis,

“we’ve always wanted to get involved in theater, because, in Antiquity, there were no musical performances without theater, nor theater without music.”

Spyros Giasafakis

The band’s most recent album, released in 2016, is Macbeth, the soundtrack of the theatrical production of the same name, directed by Anastasia Revi and based, naturally, on the work of William Shakespeare. The work was commissioned by the National Theater of Northern Greece. Recently, the band entered into negotiations to compose music for the game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but the partnership ended up not working, unfortunately.

Macbeth (2016) | Daemonia Nymphe | Equilibrium Music

Macbeth (2016) | Equilibrium Music

Daemonia Nymphe  – Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn |
Instagram | Tumblr | YouTube | Vimeo |
| BandcampSoundcloud | Spotify |

Daemonia Nymphe  – Playlists

| Daemonia Nymphe Selected |

Leave a comment

Related posts