article: Haris Vekris
photography: Nikos Ragousis

Syros has now its own jazz festival. This is no surprise announcement nor is it a secret that the SYROS JAZZ FESTIVAL, after seven years of taking place, has become a firmly established institution. During a three-day weekend early every October, the opulent red velvet furnishings and the stage of the Apollon Theater, Modern Greece’s oldest theater (est. 1864), welcome the blue notes and the improvisations of jazz virtuosos from all over the world, giving jazz aficionados from Syros and the nearby islands a rare opportunity to enjoy their favorite music. The Syros Jazz Festival is a well-planned and low-key event whose popularity grows with every year that goes by. Case in point is the capacity of the historical Apollon Theater which, this year, proved too small for the large turnout of jazz lovers wishing to attend.

However, there is no doubt that a shot of ouzo during the interludes does play its refreshing part in the festival’s success. It has been three years, during the 4th Syros Jazz Festival, since we dared to match ouzo to jazz. Going against the conventional wisdom that wants our national drink intertwined only with the notes of bouzouki, we experimented with wedding ouzo to the saxophone and discovered that the match was an unqualified success! But it wasn’t just us who thought so. By now, the audience has learned to associate the interlude between the two concerts given each night with a shot of ouzo. Each year, the ouzo we select comes from a different distillery. The first time, during the 4th Syros Jazz Festival, we introduced SANS RIVAL. The following year we went with OUZO 7. Last year we delighted in OUZO VETO, and this year, we showcased the brand new, Syros-made OUZO MAKRYONITIS. Each and every brand of ouzo was superb!

Let us drink to our health! See you next year!

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