“Alexander the Great” conquered the Performing Arts Building with the sound of a 3000-year-old instrument, the oud.
“Planetary Kisses,” “Magnon” and “Alexander the Great” were the musical pieces played by the Mahlis–Panos Project during the ASO-sponsored free music concert on March 9.
The band is comprised of three musicians.
Dimitris Mahlis is the composer, guitarist and oudist. In musical circles, he is known as an eclectic interpreter of many musical traditions. He is knowledgeable in both eastern and western musical theory.
Mahlis also developed a playing style on several instruments and he has written the soundtrack for many movies.
“Anytime you see a desert scene in a film, it’s probably one of his sounds,” said James Bergman, the host of the event and a Pierce College music instructor.
Anastasios “Toss” Panos is the drummer in the ensemble, known for his unique sound. Panos described the band as his family.
“The band’s name is a mix of our names. Dimitris and I have known each other for over twenty years. We are both Greek, and Jerry Watts Jr. is like a family member to me. He is my kid’s godfather,” Panos said.
Jerry Watts Jr. is chair of the bass department at the LAMA College for Music Professionals and played the bass during the performance.
According to Mahlis, the oud is one of the oldest stringed instruments in the world. The oud has been played in different countries such as: Iran, Turkey, Arabic areas, Central Asian and Younan (Greece).
“Most modern western instruments, including guitar, are descendants of the Oud,” Bergman said.
As part of an education plan, Bergman will continue inviting musicians.
“These guys have been here a few times and they are fantastic musicians,” Bergman said. “Their concerts are loud each time with a lot energy flowing around. They start at one place, and who knows where they go?”
Music major Athena Naghi said she learned a lot by attending this event.
“As an Iranian, I could identify myself with the music, specifically ‘Magnon,’” Naghi said.