Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest: Ecstatic Music

Dromeno, the Govetas family band

Sometimes music just grabs you. You hear something and immediately connect. It’s like a language you didn’t even know you spoke. There’s a kind of resonance, a direct line between the ear and the soul. That’s what happened to self-described “whitebread American” Seattle resident, Ruth Hunter. When she was 16, she heard a Bulgarian bagpipe, and it changed her life. Forever.

Listen now:

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You might not know it, but music like this is happening all the time — in churches, in living rooms, and on back porches, all over Seattle. Maybe even right around the corner from you. In fact, Ruth and Christos recently invited me over for a Greek Easter celebration. I couldn’t quite remember which house was theirs, but, as it turns out, I didn’t need an address. As soon as I got out of my car, all I had to do was follow the live sounds of a tuba, an accordion, and a wailing clarinet. The music led me right into their backyard.

Nowadays, you can find Ruth and Christos and their two kids playing Greek and Balkan music in Seattle and all over the country in their family band, Dromeno. Or, you can find them at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle’s Montlake District.

This is the song that hijacked Ruth Hunter’s life:

And this is an example of a different kind of ecstatic response to music. Please, don’t try this at home:

What kind of music hijacked your life? KEXP wants to know! Please tell us about it in the comments section below.

Produced by Julie Caine, 2011 AIR Live Interactive Resident. Editorial oversight by Kevin Cole. Engineering assistance by Matt Ogaz. Additional editorial assistance by John Abramson. Live Interactive is a collaboration of KEXP and AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio with financial support from AIR members worldwide, Recovery.gov, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

This entry was posted in AIR Residency Series, Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest, KEXP. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Seattlefan
    Posted May 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful subject and feature!

  2. Leslie Kossoff
    Posted May 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic! This story allows you to enter a world of musicians who live their music. How wonderful. A great peek behind the curtain.

  3. marié
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    beautiful and powerful sounds and passionate storytelling – great piece!

  4. Honna
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for another great story, Julie! I love the idea that a song can hijack a life, and the idea to dig deeper and see what that means. The music is captivating…

  5. darren johnston
    Posted September 11, 2011 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    awesome. pretty much breaks down how I got hooked on this music!

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