Gig review: Alkinoos Ioannidis, Glasgow Oran Mor

THE Cypriot-born Greek singer-songwriter Alkinoos Ioannidis’s popularity at home was immediately apparent from a near-sellout Monday night crowd, overwhelmingly comprised of his compatriots, for his debut Scottish show.

After building this domestic/expat fan-base with 11 previous albums since 1993, he’s touring to promote his first international release, the best-of compilation Local Stranger.

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While his work as a whole apparently ranges across genres from rock to contemporary classical, Ioannidis was in folk balladeer mode here, self-accompanied on guitar – deftly and delicately displaying the fruits of a conservatoire training – and his native bouzouki, while also flanked by regular sideman Yiorgos Kaloudis, who alternated between cello and its miniature Mediterranean version, the Cretan lyra. This blend provided an attractive, multi-textured complement to Ioannidis’s beguiling vocals – whose compass extended from sombrely resonant depths to a liquid, warmly imploring upper register – and potently melodic material, most of it sweetly mournful, with the occasional livelier track based on traditional dance rhythms, and a couple of moody acoustic rap numbers. Frustratingly for non-Greeks, introductions to the songs in English were thin on the ground – apart from a few early on which proved him a proficient speaker. For most in attendance, much of the material was familiar enough for word-perfect singalongs, but for the rest of us, the shortage of clues as to subject or theme proved a distinct bar to engaging with the performance.

Rating: ***