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‘Greek God’ of Guitar Returns to Cascade

The Cascade Theater rocked with guitar virtuoso Pavlo on Thursday night. The audience was instantly drawn into the music and performance the moment Pavlo and his band took the stage. 

To say that Pavlo is a guitar master is too tame a description. His fingers flew across the acoustic guitar at lightning speed, producing music ranging from Latin to Greek to classic guitar, with a short riff from the Beatles’ Day Tripper and some bluegrass thrown in.

Band member George Vasillakos matched Pavlo’s amazing skill, playing the bouzouki – a Greek Instrument related to the mandolin. The two often played off each other, dazzling the audience with their speed and excitement.

Another band member, Gino Mirizio, treated the audience with his percussion playing, especially on an unusual boxy instrument called the cajon. Bass player Randy Rodriguez also delighted the audience with his solo playing.

Prior to the performance, KIXE, Redding’s PBS affiliate TV station, hosted a pre-concert reception and wine-tasting. Attendees included KIXE patrons, donors and supporters, including Dr. Frances (Cricket) Kidwell, a new KIXE Board member and Ken White, the Director of Development for One Safe Place Many of the attendees said they were there to show support for KIXE and its efforts.

Pavlo performs 150 concerts around the world each year. The artist describes his work as a “Mediterranean sound mixing the folkloric styles of Greek and Latin music with pop sensibilities.” He’s earned two gold records, been named a World Artist of the Year and has produced 9 albums, 1 DVD – a PBS performance – and 1 collaboration.

Asked about future plans, Pavlo said he will be launching his 10th album worldwide this Fall. And he’s working on what he hopes will be a new PBS special from his upcoming concerts in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the band will perform with an 80 piece orchestra. 

Pavlo says he writes all his original music.

“I’m first a writer, then a performer, then a producer,” he said.

And he does all of them meticulously and with style. The concert had something for everyone, including audience participation. Pavlo encouraged people to come onstage and dance, and a few people did. He also encouraged anyone who wanted to take pictures and post them to Facebook, a real about-face for any performer.

Music aside, he further endeared himself to the audience by praising a cup of local espresso at Brew in downtown Redding, followed by saying he stopped by the YMCA to work out, and made “about 17 new friends”. His praise of Redding seemed genuine, as well as his expressed wish to one day return for a third visit.

It was a night of wonderful passionate music and rocking good fun. As this was Pavlo’s second visit to the Cascade, we can hope that he’ll be back again next year.

An environmental journalist and blogger, Debra Atlas is reachable through www.Envirothink.wordpress.com or debraatlas@gmail.com