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Greek diva Anna Vissi to tour Australia and USA November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Greek music diva Anna Vissi of Cypriot origin Anna’s concerts to start in January 2007

Greece’s 2006 Eurovision Song Contest singer, Anna Vissi, will be touring Australia in January 2007.

According to the Greek music television channel MAD TV, she will take an entourage of 20 people, and will be accompanied by Constantinos Christoforou (Eurovison Song Contest entrant for Cyprus in 1996, 2002 and 2005).

Anna Vissi is set to tour in the United States and Australia in January 2007. Her first show in Australia will be in Melbourne at the Metro Nightclub on January 25th and 26th. She will then be appearing in Sydney on 27th January.

Anna Vissi participated at the Eurovision Song Contest three times. In 1980 she represented Greece with the song “Autostop” and finished in 13th place. Two years later, she represented her native Cyprus with the song “Mono i agapi” (Only love) which ended in 5th place. 

Being one of the most popular singers in Greece, Anna represented the country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest which took place in Athens last May. Although the fans’ favourite in Greece, Anna finished 9th with the ballad “Everything”, securing a place in next year’s final for Greece.

Here are the dates of her Australian tour >
25/1 at Metro > Melbourne
26/1 at Metro > Melbourne
27/1 at Entertainment Centre > Sydney

The dates for her US tour will be announced soon.

Greeks Vicky Leandros (music) and Panagiotis Fasoulas (basketball) into politics November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball, Music Life Greek, Politics.
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Greek singer Vicky Leandros  Vicky Leandros following Melina Mercouri’s steps

Vicky Leandros has become the latest former Eurovision Song Contest performer to jump from music to politics.

After Dana of Ireland stood as a candidate for the Irish presidency and Ruslana getting a seat in the Ukrainian parliament, she becomes the next former Eurovision Song Contest winner to mark history with getting involved into politics: Greek Vicky Leandros (Luxembourg 67, Luxembourg 72, German National Final 2006) is currently a part of the newly elected team in Piraeus’ Municipality.

Panagiotis Fasoulas, the Greek ex-basketball star, became the new Mayor of Piraeus under the banner of the socialist PASOK political party, after winning the municipal elections a couple of weeks ago over M. Agrapidis, the previous Mayor, from the Nea Demokratia (New Democracy) party.

Among Fasoulas’s electoral team one person that Eurovision fans will recognize is Vasiliki Von Ruffin, born Vasiliki Papathanasiou, better known as Vicky Leandros.

Some months ago, Vicky was being blamed by some fans for not showing up at the Eurovision Song Contest anniversary show “Congratulations” in October 2005, deeming she was just ‘snobbing’ events. Yet she proved her wrong when she announced in the beginning of 2006 she would go for another try to the competition, for Germany this time, her ‘adoptive’ country.

Her ballad “Don’t break my heart” didn’t manage to capture the German audience enough for her to compete in her birth country, Greece, hosting the Eurovision Song Contest last May. Nevertheless, her two previous attemps, “L’amour est bleu” (“Love is blue” representing Luxembourg 1967, voted 4th) and of course “Après toi” (“After you” representing Luxembourg 1972, winner) still remain two of the most delighful Eurovision classics.

Greek festival pays homage to Brazilian cinema November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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The 47th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, to be held in Greece’s second largest city from November 17-26, will screen 18 Brazilian films in a comprehensive homage to Brazilian cinema.

The international hit “City of God” is one of the films that will represent Brazil’s emerging film industry at the festival. Director Fernando Meirelles was nominated to an Academy Award in 2004 for the movie, which launched his international career.

Among others, Walter Salle’s “Central Station” another former Oscar nominee, and Hector Babenco’s classic “Carandiru” will also be screened. Other contemporary made-in-Brazil films, including Walter Lima Junior’s “The Oyster and the Wind” are also part of the festival.

The movie, “Aspirin and Vultures” Brazil’s current candidate for an Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category for 2007, will have its Greek premiere at the festival, with director Marcelo Gomes, producer Sara Silveira and Peter Ketnath, a German actor who plays the leading role in the film, expected to attend.

“Suely in the Sky” directed by Karim Ainouz, will take part in the international competition section. The movie won prizes for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress at the Rio International Film Festival in October 2006.

Greek Olive and Onion Bread November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Many Greek breads are associated with specific religious holidays: the most famous of these are Tsoureki, a golden braid enclosing colorful dyed hard-boiled eggs, at Easter; and citrus and spice Christopsomo, at Christmas. Elioti, an olive-studded loaf, was originally a Lenten bread, but is now commonly available year-round. The following is our take on that classic.

This savory bread is softer than a typical hearth loaf, though it’s quite chewy. We like to serve it plain; toasted and drizzled with olive oil; or sliced for sandwiches (turkey, lettuce and tomato is a favorite).

Sponge
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 cup (4 3/8 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough
All of the sponge
1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
2 1/4 cups (9 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup olives (Greek Kalamata, pitted and halved)*
1 small red onion, peeled, finely minced, and lightly sauteed (3 1/4 ounces after mincing, about 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon)

*One 4-ounce jar of pitted olives, drained, will yield 1 cup of olives.

Sponge: Combine the water, flours and yeast in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir till fairly smooth, cover, and let the mixture rest at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours (overnight is just about right, as long as you don’t go to bed too late or get up too early; this sponge needs a minimum of 12 hours resting time).

Dough: Add the water, flour and salt to the sponge, and stir to combine. Knead the dough, by hand, mixer, food processor or bread machine, till it’s smooth and supple. It’ll be a bit dry and stiff at this point, but once you add the onion and olives, and they release their juices, it’ll become soft. Allow the dough to rest, covered, for about 15 minutes.

Knead in the olives and the onion, place the dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl, and set the dough aside to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide it in half and form each half into a ball or an oval. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking pan or sheet, or one that’s been dusted with cornmeal. Cover the loaves with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for 1 hour, or until they’re nearly doubled in size. Note: For extra flavor, the dough may be refrigerated for 4 to 18 hours before baking. This will give the loaves their best flavor, and will contribute to a nice, open texture.

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Just before placing the loaves in the oven, make several slashes across the top of each, and spritz them lightly with water. Bake the bread for 20 to 22 minutes, until it’s golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 200°F. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack. Yield: 2 loaves, 8 slices each.

Nutrition information per serving (1 slice, 63g): 131 cal, 2g fat, 4g protein, 25g complex carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 331mg sodium, 76mg potassium, 6RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 13mg calcium, 54mg phosphorus.  

Opa! Get a taste of Greek culture November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. A mouthwatering bounty of food, spirited dancing and a first-hand look at a rich cultural heritage are among the main draws of the 47th annual Greek Fest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church at 1720 W. Garden St.

Volunteers have been working for months to prepare a full menu of Greek delicacies, including spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese wrapped in fillo), dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice and herbs), souvlakia (seasoned grilled pork  topped with onion, tomato and tzatziki sauce), plus a delicious array of deserts featuring baklava, kourambiedes (rich butter cookies topped with powdered sugar), and kok (a honey-flavored sponge cake filled with custard). Wash it all down with Greek wines, premium beers, bottled water and soft drinks.

Work off all those calories by dancing to authentic Greek music from The Islanders, and enjoy an array of traditional Greek folk dancing. The church is open throughout the festival, so visitors can enjoy the beautiful iconography. The church also will offer presentations on the its iconography and architechture.

Admission to the festival is free, and all proceeds from the food and beverages will benefit local charities and the church’s crisis fund.

Details: 433-2662, or visit www.annunciationgoc.org.

Moe Holmes and his Brothers here for one week of funky gigs November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Moe Holmes starts his week at the Half Note tonight

Veteran act Moe Holmes, an active figure on the soul and funk scenes of the 1960s and 70s, returns to Greece following a guest appearance at the Lycabettus Theater last summer during a show by Milo Z, a contemporary old-school funk act, for a one-week series at the Half Note Jazz Club, beginning tonight.

Best known for his role as a member of the family group the Holmes Brothers, who became well-known for their sweetly sung R&B backing-vocal deliveries for major acts such as Wilson Pickett, Roberta Flack, and Ike and Tina Turner, Holmes will return to Athens as the frontman of his own act, the Pioneers.

Like many of his contemporaries, Holmes began singing in church as a child before gaining further experience during his youth as an associate of the Voices of East Harlem, a vocal ensemble formed in the early 70s whose lineup often included as many as 20 members.

Holmes and his band will perform R&B and soul classics for their Athens performances. The veteran, whose past includes performances at the Isle of Wight Festival with Bob Dylan and Richie Havens, has, in more recent times, provided contributions to songs by Milo Z, one of the Half Note Jazz Club’s main attractions in recent years.

Half Note Jazz Club, 17 Trivonianou Street, Mets, Athens, tel 210 9213310.

National Conservatory celebrates 80 years of artistic contributions November 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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Music institution toasts its past and looks to the future

Music history. The National Conservatory, also known as the Ethnikon Odeio, is situated at 8 Maizonos, in a building erected during the interwar period. The conservatory is marking its 80th anniversary with a focus on celebrated Greek works. Maria Callas, who attended classes here, made her debut performance on its stage, back on April 2, 1939.

Now backed by 80 years of uninterrupted activity, the National Conservatory, or Ethnikon Odeio, which was founded by the significant Greek composer Manolis Kalomiris, is looking to the future full of plans and aspirations. To mark its 80th anniversary, the historic music school has planned a concert at the National Opera on November 27 with a focus on celebrated Greek works.

The concert will be the first in a series of events to be staged by the National Conservatory, said its general director Hara Kalomiri, who is also president of the school’s board, at a recent press conference.

“They will cover a wide range of sophisticated and contemporary styles, concerts for children, even musicals, and a tribute to modern songs,” Kalomiri explained.

The National Conservatory’s artistic director, Periklis Koukos, described the initiative as a fresh approach by an historic non-profit organization “during an era when the efforts of talented young artists in the domain of serious music are treated with disdain and major plans such as the upgrading of musical education and satisfactory career prospects for graduates remain unsolved.”

As part of its 80th anniversary events, the National Conservatory has put out a special edition of its annual publication and launched a new website (www.ethniko-odeio.edu.gr).

The music school’s forthcoming concert will feature prominent alumni, including Elena Mouzala, who is president of the National Conservatory’s alumni society and vice president of the institution’s board. Other participants include the pianists Jenia Manousaki, Aris Garoufalis, Nikos Vasiliou, Aphroditi Stylianou, vocalists Lydia Angelopoulou, Stamatis Beris, Maria Vlachopoulou, Irini Karagianni, guitarists Evangelos Asimakopoulos, Liza Zoe, Vangelis Boudounis, Maro Razi, and the cellist Effi Christodoulou.

The following event, a concert for children embellished with a theatrical dimension, is scheduled for early in the new year, on January 13, at the new wing of the Benaki Museum on Pireos street.

The National Conservatory is linked with numerous celebrated Greek musical figures. Kalomiris, who founded the institution in 1926, received crucial support during its early days from prominent figures such as Marika Kotopouli, Dionyssis Lavragas, Sofia Spanoudi, and Hariklia Kalomiri.

Also part of the institution’s history is famed early 20th century Greek composer, pianist and conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos, who taught at the school. Maria Callas, who attended classes at the conservatory, made her debut performance on its stage, back on April 2, 1939.