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Have you got an eye for lyrics? March 12, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life, Music Life Greek.
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A Cypriot musician who has reached the finals of the biggest songwriting competitions in the world has called on the island’s music industry to show more interest in the urban scene.

Lyrical Eye, whose real name is Stefan Eliades, started performing at venues around Cyprus at the age of 16. With live performances on national television and radio play on major stations in the UK and Cyprus, he has tirelessly continued his work. The 24-year-old has given performances at the biggest venues around Cyprus, from urban hip-hop clubs to Universities to New Year’s Eve national celebrations in the heart of the capital in front of thousands.

He entered the 2006-2007 Great American Song Contest with a song called ‘Bounce’, featuring Kyri, which he wrote and described as, “a club and R&B track”. ‘Bounce’ came first out of a total of 7,000 entries in the hip-hop/R&B category for this contest.

“In the song, I introduced myself and what I’m all about to a wider audience,” Lyrical Eye explained. “I was surprised but very proud and excited to have won.”

His success continued soon afterwards at the International Songwriting Competition, which is considered the biggest competition of its kind in the world, featuring judges including the presidents of most major labels such as Sony, EMI, Violator, Universal and guest judges such as Run DMC, Sean Paul and Macy Gray.

This time, ‘Bounce’ made it to the final 15 out of an original entry of 15,000 songs, with the judges saying they liked the song’s attitude and the way that it was easy to dance to. In the latest edition of the competition this year, Lyrical Eye was at it again with a new song called ‘Want It’, which has also made it to the final 15.

After many years of hard work trying to get his name out, the artist got his first big opportunity to represent at the biggest hip-hop festival in Europe during the summer of 2006 called the Hip Hop Kemp, attended by over 20,000 people. He also performed a 45-minute showcase of his work last year at the world-renowned Popkomm Festival in Berlin.

“You can see the difference when you perform abroad,” he joked. “You can feel much more of a vibe from the crowd, which is very passionate and knowledgeable” he said. “Unfortunately, the media here on the island aren’t really aware of these events so I haven’t received the recognition that I wanted,” he said. “It’s a big achievement for a songwriter from Cyprus to have done so well, but for whatever reason, there haven’t been any headlines about it.”

Over the past three years, Lyrical Eye has been working on his first solo album, which should be released this summer, along with a video of his new single called ‘Star Struck’. He also took the opportunity to thank Cypriot rapper John Wu for his support. “We are planning to release a Greek single and video, featuring Mario Mental from Larnaca called ‘Oloi Ta Xeria Psila,’ in the next couple of months.”

So where did his great love of music come from? “As a child growing up, I would constantly try to perform in front of family and friends and for me, music is a great way to express myself,” he said. “The positive feedback that I would get gave me the inspiration to take it to the next level.”

According to Lyrical Eye, a lot of practice is required in order to write good lyrics. “You need to play around a lot with words. For example, I have 200 potential songs just lying around as I’m not satisfied with the lyrics and, or, the beat. My advice is never rush to release anything if it’s not ready and it’s also very important to get feedback from knowledgeable people in order to improve.”

When asked what it is about urban music that attracts him, Lyrical Eye said he “likes lyrics that make you think and which describe a story that somebody has lived which is a reality. Nevertheless, I don’t only like urban music but will also listen to jazz, soul and anything that stands out, regardless of the genre.”

Eliades was also asked about the origins of his stage name. “When I was young, I used to read a lot of conspiracy and spirituality books and one of the topics which stuck in my mind was about a so-called third eye, which acts like a person’s sixth sense. From that concept, Lyrical Eye was born.”

In the future, he said he hopes that Cypriot promoters, clubs and radio stations, “will show more interest in the whole urban music scene and take us more seriously. I’m currently talking with a lot of international record labels and A&R departments which will hopefully give me a chance to promote my work on more of a global scale.”

Related Links > www.myspace.com/lyrikaleye

Clean Monday’s returning Athenians March 12, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture, Greek Culture Heritage, Special Features.
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Traffic clogs major highways as thousands return after holiday

Traffic police yesterday afternoon set up diversions at various junctions on the national road network in a bid to alleviate heavy congestion caused by hundreds of thousands of citizens returning to their hometowns after the long weekend. 

11-03-08_clean_monday.jpg  Clean Monday celebrations > People dressed up in colorful costumes across Greece over the weekend as Carnival season celebrations wound up yesterday on Clean Monday or Kathara Deftera in Greek, the first day of Lent. The Athens City Council held different festivities in central parts of the capital as the sunny weather helped guarantee a good turnout. Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis celebrated on Philoppapou Hill, close to the Acropolis, where thousands of Athenians attended.

11-03-08_kite_acropolis.jpg  Typical on Clean Monday is the kite flying.

Flour warriors rise to the occasion > A flour war in which participants throw bags of the foodstuff at each other has taken place in Galaxidi, Greece.

The event in the coastal town of Galaxidi, 200 kilometres west of Athens, is one of the most popular traditions in the country. The first day of Orthodox Lent is called Clean Monday, and in Galaxidi they celebrate its end with a street battle where flour tinted with food colouring is used as ammunition.

12-03-08_galaxidi.jpg  Participants come from across Greece, some donning goggles and plastic suits in an attempt to avoid getting covered in the sticky mess. The neoclassical houses are protected with plastic sheeting, and locals spend days afterwards trying to clean the streets.

According to legend the ritual began in 1801 when the townspeople painted their faces with ash and danced through the streets, celebrating the carnival in defiance of their Ottoman rulers.

IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia March 12, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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Greece’s Piyi Devetzi competing at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia on the weekend, where she settled for the silver medal in the women’s triple jump after leading the final most of the way.

11-03-08_devetzi.jpg  Devetzi’s 15-meter leap, a National record, was surpassed by Cuba’s Yargelis Savigne on her final attempt, a 15.05 m performance. ‘I risked everything on the last jump,’ said Savigne. ‘I feel so good, I can’t explain it.’

11-03-08_ioannou.jpg  Cyprus’ Kyriacos Ioannou, with the bronze medal he won at the World Cup in Valencia.  With 2.30 in his third attempt, Kyriacos won the bronze medal. After two unsuccessful attempts at 2.30 and knowing that if it goes through the bar would conquer the bronze medal, has placed flight and sent heaven all Cypriots friends of the track. Kyriacos Ioannou had the same performance in the same efforts with American Manson and thus shared the bronze medal. The first two positions were won by Russia’s Giaroslav Rimpakof and Sweden’s Stefan Holm.

Related Link > http://www.rfea.es/competi/2008valencia/eng/eng_index.htm