John (Yianni) Themelis
John (19), whose roots come from the Dodekanese island of Patmos, Arcadia and Armenia, has been an active member of GAFS since 1995 as a lead dancer as well as dedicated musician. He has devoted much of his time to the research and learning of traditional Greek Folk instruments. He has as a repertoire of songs ranging from the mountains of Macedonia to the Island of Crete, through Asia Minor and the Black Sea region of Pontos.
From the age of 12, John has been exposed to the instruments used in Greece and the Middle East. These instruments include: Laouto, Oud (Outi), Cretan lyra, Pontic lyra (Kemence), Dumbek (Toumbeleki), Defi (Daire), Daouli (Davul/Tupan), Zourna, Tsambouna, and Clarinet (C Albert System). Of these instruments he is most fond of the Laouto and its many playing styles.
He has had the opportunity to play with talented folk musicians such as Nicholas Sofos (violin), GAFS member Jim Tashie (laouto, oud, gaida, zourna, etc), Leftheris Bournias (clarinet), Beth Cohen (violin, Macedonian/Thracian Lyra), Chris Tiktapanidis (Pontic Lyra), and others. He is currently part of an ensemble comprised of younger generation musicians- Vassilis Patrikis (violin), GAFS member Phaedon Sinis (santouri, kanonaki), "Mr. Louie" (guitar), and Johns brother, also a GAFS member, Gregory Themelis (Doumbek).
John has performed at different venues besides GAFS performances such as dances, music and dance festivals, and concerts. He has made an appearance on NGTV (Kastanas), and live performances on AKTINA FM, and COSMOS FM (91.5 fm).
In addition to being a full time student at Hofstra University, John teaches traditional Greek dance at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Hempstead, NY.
"NO BOUZOUKIA ALLOWED. TAKE ME TO THE VIOLIA."