Upper Darby, PA – It was a shot in the dark that the Philly Greek community needed. Bouzouki Night hosted by the Pan-Macedonian Society of Philadelphia was that much-needed injection to step into the fall season with a great start. Some 400 guests packed St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and danced the night away to the sounds of Yiannis Papastefanou & Orchestra.
Carnations covered the floors and meze filled the tables throughout the evening that saw people thoroughly enjoying this long awaited idea. As for the chairs and those bare spots on the tables, no problem. Greeks stepped up, swayed their arms and sang away the classics. “It’s been a long time since we hosted an affair like this,” said organizer Kiki Karamitopoulos-Felfelis. “We wanted people to come, reunite and enjoy our culture,” added Felfelis.
Traditionally, Greek dances featuring folk music and performances sponsored by regional club houses take place throughout the year. But this occasion followed another custom that rarely takes place in Philly. Bouzoukia nightclubs can be found in a few North American cities like New York, Chicago, and Montreal. “The time was right, and we wanted to have a good time. As you can see the crowd loves it”, said George Maniatis of the Pan-Macedonian Society of Philadelphia.
St. Demetrios filled the bill on this evening following the format of a Bouzoukia nightclub. Nightclubs that feature popular music in Greece are popularly called bouzoukia (deriving from the main Greek instrument bouzouki). They typically have a raised stage (“pista”) where singers, dancers, and musicians perform, and a series of closely spaced long tables at right angles to the stage so that every guest can see the show. As there is little space between the tables, customers and waiters have trouble moving around.