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Carol Freeman is well-known as a performer, researcher, and teacher of a variety of Greek, Balkan and Judaic vocal traditions. She has performed extensively at festivals, museums, universities, concert halls, and music clubs throughout the United States and Canada since 1970 as vocalist for a number of acclaimed musical groups, including The Smyrneiki Kompania, and The Sevda Balkan Music Ensemble, and as a solo interpreter of traditional song. Her extensive and unusual repertoire has been learned from comprehensive fieldwork done with traditional singers both here and abroad, and from studying vintage recordings. An expert teacher, Carol has conducted ongoing singing classes in New York for close to thirty years, given specialized vocal workshops and lectures at numerous folklore and music camps, conferences, and universities, and has worked with scores of Greek and Balkan music and dance performance groups, choirs, and theater ensembles throughout North America. She has also taught classes in Greek singing, vocal technique, and other types of Balkan singing at the prestigious EEFC Balkan Music and Dance Workshops since their inception in 1977.


Classes in Greek singing are designed to accomplish primary goals. The first is to teach students how to listen to. hear, learn, and reproduce traditional Greek demotika (folk) and/or Rebetika/Smyrneika/Politika (urban) songs. The second is to help students learn to sing these songs with increased comfort, clarity, and control, in a manner that is absolutely authentic both to the original style of the song and the spirit of the individual singer.

Beginning students learn how to find, control, and manipulate their natural voices for the challenging vocal music of the Greek country side or urban centers. They learn how to sing without dependence on air support, so that they need not ever worry about breath control again. Singers learn how to remediate some of the difficulties with sound quality, stamina, breathing, comfort, fluidity, intonation, or embellishment that may have crept into their singing over the years. They are taught simple tricks for articulating perfect ornaments, for hitting high or low notes without having to push or without falling short of the note, and for shaping a song by understanding where to and where not to place emphasis. Singers learn how to find the clearest and strongest tone with the least amount of effort, which allows them to sing for hours on end without tiring.

Advanced instruction is offered to more experienced singers who are already comfortable in their vocal placement but who are interested in fine-tuning their vocal technique, increasing their ability to perform challenging repertoire with complex ornamentation and mictotonal scales, and learning how to effectively communicate a song with superb artistry and depth of expression.
Although all areas of traditional folk and urban Greek singing are addressed, particular areas of expertise include:

SMYRNEIKA, POLITIKA, and REBETIKA of the 1920ís and Ď30ís
Songs and Vocal Styles of the Asia Minor Greek Refugees


SONGS andVOCAL STYLES of NORTHERN GREECE (Macedonia, Thrace, and Ipiros)

(includes two and three voiced songs with drone and other folk


Carol Freeman
53 Downing Street #2R
New York, NY 10014
telephone: 212-255-7890


Carol Freeman

Well known for thirty years as a performer, researcher, and teacher of a variety of Balkan and Judaic vocal traditions, Carol Freeman began her love affair with Smyrneika in the late 1970ís. Having been introduced to the singing of such greats as Roza Eskenazi, Rita Abatzi, and Andonis Diamandidis (Dalgas) through cassette recordings given to her by friends, she was immediately captured by the haunting melodies and vocal inflections of these artists, and began to seek out recordings by these and other singers on trips to Greece in 1980 and 1981. At home in New York, Carol expanded her knowledge of old Smyrneika recordings through the generosity of American collectors such as Joe Kaloyanides Graziosi, Martin Schwartz, and Dino Pappas. She studied the Greek language and spent countless hours listening to these precious vintage recordings, until the melodies, with their complex scales and elaborate embellishments, and the passionate stories of longing and pain, and indeed, even the singers themselves, lived within her body. She also made trips to nursing homes, where a few of the last great singers of the Smyrna style were still living, and had the opportunity to listen to and even sing with these individuals.

In 1986 Carol met other musicians with a similar interest in this music, and founded The Smyrneiki Kompania, an ensemble dedicated to the preservation and promotion of this music as it was performed in the 1920ís and í30ís. Appearing at music festivals, arts centers, and concert halls, as well as local Greek cafes and nightspots, The Smyrneiki Kompania has brought the exquisite music of the Kafe Aman to an expanded audience of both Greek and non-Greek Americans, creating a devoted following of enthusiastic listeners wherever they have appeared.



With hauntingly beautiful melodies, intricate ornamentation, and soulful improvisation, the Smyrneïki Kompania artfully recreates the exquisite music of the 1930ís urban Greek Cafe Aman.

During the early 1920ís well over a million Greek refugees from Asia Minor flooded the urban centers of Greece bringing with them a highly sophisticated and expressive form of vocal and instrumental music. This musical genre, which in time incorporated elements of music of mainland Greece as well, became known as Smyrneïka (music of Smyrna) and Politika (music of Constantinopolis.) The Asia Minor musicians soon dominated the musical nightlife of Athens and other towns, and virtuoso singers such as Andonios Dhiamandidhis (Dalgas), Roza Eskenazi, and Rita Abatzi, along with many fine instrumentalists, were appearing nightly in taverna-like clubs called Cafe Amans.

The Smyrneïki Kompania recaptures the essence of the Cafe Aman in performances that sparkle with their unique blend of authenticity, warmth, musical virtuosity. Their songs, telling passionate tales of love and despair, range from the delicate and sensual dance tunes of Asia Minor to the powerful and poignant zeibekika of the Rebetik underworld, from the intricately embellished, melismatic vocal improvisation, the amane, to the well-known folk melodies of the Greek countryside.

The Smyrneïki Kompania features vocalist Carol Freeman accompanied by Ismail Butera - accordion, Haig Manoukian - outi, Michael Hess - kanonaki and violin, Seido Salifoski - toumbeleki, and other fine instrumentalists.

Captivating listeners wherever they appear, the Smyrneïki Kompania enchantingly brings to life this special moment in Greek musical history for the audiences of today.

SEVDA Balkan Music Ensemble

The Sevda Balkan Music Ensemble presents the extraordinary folk and urban music of the Balkans. Drawing from decades of research, from the spirited songs of the Thracian plain to the to the meditative tones of a smoky Greek cafe, from the fervent strains of the Macedonian Gypsy to the lyrical air of the Sephardic Jew, from the ancient sounds of a Bulgarian mountain village and from the pulsating dances of Albanian heroes to the melismatic love refrains of the Bosnian town, the music of the Balkans is known for its special beauty and emotional depth. Acclaimed vocalist Carol Freeman, together with a remarkable assembly of virtuoso musicians from all of the Balkan lands, present all this and more.


This ensemble presents the songs of Greek Thrace in full array, performing exuberant dance songs of the Western Thrace accompanied by traditional instruments such as gaida, floyhera, or laouto and modern instruments such as accordion, klarino, and tumbeleki, melismatic laments of the East accompanied by violi, kanonaki, and outi, and the intricately ornamented epic ballads of the Greek table.



Using archival recordings, photos, excepts from family interviews, and live performance, this unique program presented by vocalist Carol Freeman examines the life and music of several of the great Jewish female singers of Rebetika and SmyrneÔka of the past, including Roza Eskenazi, Stella Haskil, and Amalia Vaka.


Greek Scarves
beautiful selection and extremely reasonable prices - choose from current stock or special order to suit your needs


1973 - present
Have taught ongoing weekly classes, lessons, and workshops in New York City, as well as one to two semester classes in Princeton New Jersey, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Plainfield, Vermont, and Burlington. Vermont,

Have taught specialized classes, workshops, and lectures at:

Music and Folklore Camps and Seminars such as:

The Balkan Music and Dance Workshops (1977- 2004)
Camp Ramblewood, MD,
Mendocino Woodlands, CA,
Buffalo Gap Camp, WV,
Ashokan Field Campus, NY
World Music and Dance Camp Cape Cod, MA,
Balkan Music and Dance Weekend
Camp Starlight, PA
Buffalo Gap Camp, WV
New York Pinewoods Folk Music Club Fall Folk Weekend Camp Freedman, CT

Universities. Schools, and Museums, including:

The City College of New York, NYC
Hunter College, NYC,
New York University, NYC
The New York Open Center, NYC
The Lucy Moses School for the Arts, NYC
The Ethnic Folk Arts Center, NYC
The Staten Island Childrenís Museum, NYC
The University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Douglass College New Brunswick, NJ
Dawson College Montreal, Canada

Have conducted specialized workshops and classes with scores of Greek and Balkan Folk Dance Ensembles, Choruses, and Theater Ensembles in the United States and Canada.


The American Museum of Natural History Leonhardt Peopleís Center
The Museum of the City of New York
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts
The Childrenís Museum of Manhattan New York City
The Brooklyn Childrenís Museum New York City
The Staten Island Childrenís Museum New York City
The Childrenís Museum of the Arts New York City
Thiasos New York City
Cafe Valentino Astoria, NY
Microcosmos Cafe-Boite Astoria, NY
Acroama Astoria, NY
The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
Hunter College New York City
Lehman College New York City
Brooklyn College New York City
The City College of New York
The University of Oregon at Eugene
Columbia University New York City
The New York Open Center New York City
The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies Rhinebeck, NY
The Javitts Convention Center New York City
International Music Concert Series, CityCorp Building New York City
The Winter Revels New York City
Ethnic Folk Arts Center Spring Concert Series New York City
The Alternative Museum New York City
East European Folklife Center Concerts
San Francisco CA, Silver Springs MD, New York City
Mayorís First Fridays Festival Harrisburg, PA
Bethlehem Muzikfest Bethlehem, PA
The Vancouver Folk Festival British Columbia
SMU Eisteddfod Festival North Dartmouth, MA
Connecticut Family Festival Hartford, CT
The Philadelphia Folk Festival Schwenksville, PA
International Fete de la Musique New York City
Cypreco Greek Folklore Festival Astoria, NY
Greek American Folklore Society Folk Festival Astoria, NY
New York Pinewoods Wave Hill Folk Festival New York City
Ethnic Folk Arts Center Winter and Spring Folk Festivals New York City
The Fox Hollow Festival of Traditional Music Petersberg, NY
Philadelphia Folklore Festival Philadelphia, PA
International House Folklore Festival Philadelphia, PA
Buffalo Folk Festival Buffalo, NY
Spring Folklore Festival Eugene, Oregon
Golden Festival New York City
Long Island Jewish Arts Festival Commack, NY
International Music Festival, Met-Life Building New York City
The Boston Folk Song Society
The Philadelphia Folk Song Society
The Folk Song Society of Washington D.C.
The New York Pinewoods Folk Song Society
The Balkan Music and Dance Seminars
Mendocino CA, Ashokan NY, Capon Bridge,WV, Ramblewood MD
Balkan Music and Dance Weekends
Capon Bridge, WV, Starlight,PA
The New York Pinewoods Fall Folk Weekend Camp Friedman, Sharon, Ct.

Plus hundreds of Music Coffehouses and Performing Arts Centers, Libraries, Schools, Houses of Worship, Community Centers, and Street Fairs and Festivals, as well as performances on radio and television.