For you history buffs, The name Porphyra “Πορφύρα” means the Purple or Porphyry Chamber; a pavilion of the Great Palace of Constantinople where no child born anywhere else could legitimately be called Porphyrogénnētos (born in the purple)-the birthright of all Emperors and Empresses of Constantinople. THIS WAS THE MOST “METAL” PLACE IN THE KINGDOM!
A long, long time ago in the year 1998AD, Billy Chrissochos co-founded the Hard Rock/Power Metal group Phoenix Reign (previously Phoenix). By 2007, Phoenix Reign, after recording numerous demos will spawn a cult classic album called “Destination Unknown” which will feature the epic track “Constantinople 1453- On the Eve of the Fall.” Greece’s “War and History” (Polemos & Historia) magazine will declare the band “the group that merged Rock with the Fall of Constantinople.” A short film/ music video of this epic track will go to the finals for Best Independent Music video in IndiMusic TV’s awards show. Here is the full video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB1vkdxRlRo. And here is the IndiMusic cut and commentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b7IAxK8qSc.
In 2013, Phoenix Reign with Billy Chrissochos and Mike “Risko” Savvas and a new team is re-branded as Porphyra and introduces to the world a soon to be new classic album “Faith, Struggle, Victory” that would spawn a Rock Opera and a trilogy. This inspirational new album is at times labeled “Melodic Metal for the Soul” and “Byzantine Rock” by the press.
New York City finally gets the eclectic, modern Rock band it deserves, incorporating Hard Rock and Symphonic Metal with Greek folk, punk, progressive and classical textures. The group plays with NY fave metal ravers The Pui Tribe, and 80’s classic Hard Rock and Metal legends, Anvil and the Bulletboys. Three music videos are filmed- Porphyra, Shine and No Fear. No Fear will get Billy some new directorial cred and the video an Official Selection in the Williamsburg Film Festival in September 2015. The MMA and Pankration inspired video features fellow band-mate Mike “Risko” Savvas competing and a slew of international competitive fighters! See all videos in our video section.
On May 3, 2015 Porphyra the band does the impossible. A dream becomes a reality and years of hard work come to fruition. “Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera,” debuts and electrifies Zankel Hall at the prestigious Carnegie Hall. The music based on the album with additional compositions, dances and so much more thrills the finicky NY crowd. This is the first Greek Inspired Rock Opera of its kind and the first to debut at Carnegie Hall’s renowned Zankel Theater. This is a first step towards taking our opera to the Broadway stage.
Set in the year 988AD, the Heroic Age of Basil II Emperor of Byzantium, the story chronicles Princess Anna Porphyrogenita and her marriage to Grand Prince Vladimir of the Kievan Rus. An incredible story of Love, War and Peace brought to life through Hard Rock and Greek Folk music, belly dancing, actors, and a twelve piece rock orchestra. Read all about it in our Rock Opera section http://porphyraband.com/rock-opera.
On May 13th, May 14th, and May 15th, 2016 “Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera,” made its triumphant Off Broadway debut for a three day limited run at the famed West Village Players Theatre. With more songs and characters the shows electrified the weekend’s audiences. The group and show was awarded and is now officially under the auspices of UNESCO Club for Piraeus & Islands. Another surprise is that the album “Faith, Struggle, Victory” wins BEST ROCK ALBUM in the Akademia Music Awards in 2016.
Guitarist/composer Billy Chrissochos with guitarist/Tzoura player Mike “Risko” Savvas, bassist Grzegorz Swirszcz and drummer Tracey “Tre” Beavers along with powerhouse vocalists George Tsalikis (Zandelle, Circle of 4) and Elaine Tuttle (Girls, Girls, Girls, Frontiers) armed with a killer array of songs are gearing up to bring their brand of unique metal to the masses.
Porphyra and founder Billy Chrissochos has been featured on NY1 News: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2016/03/11/queens-music-studio-becoming-a-hit-with-bands-in-the-city.html and in the Queens Gazette: http://www.qgazette.com/news/2016-03-02/Features/Billy_Chrissochos.html
You can also help the band while getting yourselves acquainted with our music by ordering the album “Faith, Struggle, Victory” and 11×17 Collectors Poster cover art for the limited time combo deal of just $20 (plus shipping and handling). We also have a last batch of Phoenix Reign cd’s too at http://porphyraband.com/shop/.
We are also looking for investors and sponsors. There is a promotional video and an illustrated digital flip book to browse as well as links to download it, a press release and so much more.
GET THE MERCH! The physical album features amazing cover and lyric art from Billy Chrissochos himself as well. But if a digital download is what you prefer then we have worldwide digital distribution through Cd Baby, Amazon, ITunes, Spotify, Shazam, Soundcloud and Reverbnation for streaming and so forth. We prefer you use our Digital Distributors at Cd Baby for both cds’ here (and they have some physical ones too) http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Porphyra.
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Get a copy of our album “Faith, Struggle, Victory” on our website or get your digital downloads at CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/
Stream at Reverbnation: https://
FOR COMPLETE ROCK OPERA CAST BIOS VISIT OUR ROCK OPERA PAGE HERE: http://porphyraband.com/rock-opera/
Billy Chrissochos – Guitar
I was born in Astoria, New York but grew up at an early age in Athens, Greece. There I fell in love with my ancestral culture and Heavy Metal. First competing and performing in symphony band with the alto saxophone I eventually fell under the spell of the electric guitar. In 1998 I founded the New York based group Phoenix Reign and recorded “Destination Unknown”, featuring double guitars, Greek melodies and historical themes. This band played all the famous NYC hot spots and opened up for such acts as Lynch Mob, Riot, Winger, Turisas and Epica, performed with the Astoria Symphony on multiple occasions, and also rocked the NYC Parks Festivals at Astoria and Athens Square Park. In 2013 the band was re-branded as Porphyra and re-established themselves performing with the PUI Tribe, the Bulletboys and Anvil.
With the new Porphyra album “Faith, Struggle, Victory” my ambitions got even more epic and I set out to create the first ever Greek inspired Rock Opera based on themes from the Macedonian dynasties of ancient and medieval Greece. The musical’s main premise is the pivotal year of 988AD which united Orthodox Christian Russia with Greece’s Byzantine Empire.
As an active member of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York’s Cultural Committee, I have organized various events ranging from Hard Rock/ Metal Festivals, Musical Theater and Operas. My other endeavors include creating the Greek Artists Guild and the Hellenic American Center of the Arts. I am the primary composer, lyricist and producer of Porphyra as well as an artist, graphic designer, photographer, video editor and historical consultant. I have striven to merge Rock and Heavy Metal with Greek music all my life.
George Tsalikis – Vocalist
George began his music career back in the early 90’s as the original lead singer of Gothic Knights. After his split from that band, he started up a new project Zandelle, in early 1996. After releasing two independent albums, Zandelle signed with LMP Records in 2000 and went on to release “Twilight on Humanity” and “Vengeance Rising”. They soon after parted ways with LMP and signed on with Pure Steel Records where they went on to release “Flames of Rage” and “Shadows of the Past” and completed their first ever European tour.
In addition to his music career, George started pursuing acting in 2004 and has since been involved in over two dozen theatrical productions, 18 films and about a dozen musical revues. George’s theater credits include the title roles in Jekyll & Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar and Dracula as well as Javert in Les Miserables and Curly McClain in Oklahoma. George is currently working on his first solo album as well as eagerly awaiting the release of Zandelle’s 5th studio album.
Elaine Tuttle – Vocalist
Elaine Tuttle is a professional singer, vocal coach, and full-time musician working as a session vocalist, and performing in 8 different musical ensembles on a weekly basis. An extremely versatile vocalist, Elaine performs a wide range of musical styles including classical, ethnic music, metal, blues, soul, jazz, rock, pop, R&B, and more.
Elaine began studying classical piano at age 11 and was musically educated at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ (classical, choral music, opera, voice performance) which afforded her the opportunity to perform at such prestigious, legendary venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Philadelphia Academy of Music under world-famous conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Robert Shaw, Kurt Masur, Esa Pekka Salonen, and Ricardo Muti.
Elaine has released a critically acclaimed album of original music titled Spark it Up with her band Infernophonic, and with them has opened for such rock/metal legends as UFO, Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple, Rainbow), Dale Bozzio & Missing Persons, Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, and W.A.S.P. Elaine has been performing and recording professionally for 20 years. Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera will be Elaine’s 9th performance at Carnegie Hall.
Mike “Risko” Savvas – Guitar
Mike Savvas was born in Athens, Greece in 1983 but grew up in the small port town called Rafina. From the age of 8 he was schooled in classical guitar and keyboards. At about the same time he found his other passion when he started his training in Martial Arts. Soon, he dropped his classic guitar for an electric one willing to imitate his idols, Metallica, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and AC/DC.
Mike started to write music from early on. He joined a couple of bands in high school but he mostly focused in composing. At the age of 18, he moved to Paris, France, to study Greek Archaeology, his third passion. After acquiring his Masters Degree he decided to make a radical change, leave his job and move to NYC, to pursue to the fullest at least one of his three passions. Eventually, he met Billy Chrissochos, founder of epic metal band Phoenix Reign and joined his new project which was named Porphyra.
The band combined all three of Mike’s interests; Heavy Metal, Greek History and the Combative Spirit, which are all part of our Greek nature.
Grzegorz (Greg) Swirszcz was born in Warsaw, Poland and has lived in 5 countries and on 4 continents. He holds a Ph.D in theoretical math and has a degree in music from Krzysztofa Komeda Institute of Pop and Jazz of I i II degree http://asmr.pl/. Grzegorz (Greg) is a multi-talented guitar and bass player. He is also a composer, writer and music producer. He started playing at the age of 14 after he heard Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed be Thy Name.” The bands he has worked with in Poland include Kot Hupple’a (band leader), Zero, and Altamont (band leader). In the US he has worked with Karascene, Lost Legacy, Demon Boy, and Porphyra. He has recorded with the artists Wojciech Pilichowski, Michal Dabrowka, and Cayra.
His favorite genres are rock, metal, funk and fusion. Influences include Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, Judas Priest, Accept, Fair to Midland, Nothing More, Randy Rhoads, Paul Gilbert, Steve Harris, Ian Hill, Gary Moore, Dave Ellefson, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, Guthrei Govan, Dimebag Darrell, George Lynch, and Kirk Hammett.
Greg is a believer in ‘there ain’t such thing as too many guitars”, and is an owner of 42 of them.
Tracey “Tre Boogie” Beavers – Drums
Born and raised in New Rochelle NY, Tracey comes from a long line of musical talent. His grandfather who was a professional jazz drummer started him off at the young age of 4. Not following up with the drums, Tracey did not take up any type of drumming and or playing until the age of 21. With a couple of friends he formed his first group Rhythm and Noize. From there his second group Kronically Inkorect was a huge tri-state and local hit. Being scouted upon by Road Runner records after a gig … the band had dispersed due to conflict of interest and never got signed. From there Tracey had performed for other bands and has recorded their albums when in need of a drummer and has opened up for numerous headlining acts.
When asked to help out and lay tracks down for the next Porphyra record, it was a challenge and Tracey accepted. Having learned the material in such short notice, he pulled through and enjoyed not just the music of Porphyra but the energy and emotions that are highly involved. Adding his own influences of everything from heavy metal to Motown and funk, this is some of his best work yet, and he is proud to be a part of the Porphyra band. Facebook page www.facebook.com/Treboogie666