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Nana Mouskouri’s last concert in Athens March 9, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Athens Festival, Music Life, Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Nana Mouskouri is currently in Barcelona, where she will appear live on 14 March, during her farewell tour.

09-03-08_nana_mouskouri.jpg  Music fans will be able to enjoy Nana Mouskouri’s last concert in Athens, Greece. Eternally popular vocalist Nana Mouskouri will round off her career on July 23 at the Herod Atticus Theater, in Athens, Greece.

For detailed info please visit > http://www.greekfestival.gr

Nana’s Official Website > http://www.nanamouskouri.net/

Greek Kalomoira heads for Eurovision in Belgrade March 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life, Music Life Greek.
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01-03-08_kalomoira.jpg  Kalomoira’s upbeat song ‘My Secret Combination’ came first in the competition for the Greek song to represent Greece.

The title of the invitation that attracted a huge crowd of people who believe in the Eurovision Song Contest and are involved in the institution to the Athinon Arena club on Pireos Avenue, was «A song to vote for.» The 53rd in the series, this year’s contest will take place in Belgrade in May.

State radio and TV company ERT organized a huge music party to choose the song that is to represent Greece. The three frontrunners were presented by singers Chryspa, Kalomoira and Costas Martakis. All three songs are dance numbers on the subject of love. Chryspa sang «A Chance to Love» accompanied by male dancers; Kalomoira sang «My Secret Combination» while male dancers took off their T-shirts and waved them around, and Martakis, all in white, sang «Always and Forever» with female dancers doing a number that ended with the singer on a throne like a Greek god.

The public vote, by text message and phone calls, accounted for 60 percent of the result, with the remaining 40 percent decided by the jury, comprising ERT executives headed by composer Mimis Plessas. All three songs appealed, but the young fans of coquettish Kalomoira secured her the first place and a ticket to Belgrade. It was a stunning spectacle, the presenters Betty and Matilda Maggira were excellent, and the organization was impeccable. The host, ERT President Christos Panagopoulos, was present. To be continued in Belgrade.

Glass and Cohen team up in Athens February 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Music Life Greek.
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29-02-08_philipglass.jpg  Image of Philip Glass by Leonard Cohen

What is the relationship between composer Philip Glass and multifaceted artist Leonard Cohen? Both enjoy great popularity in Greece, Glass has performed here numerous times, while Cohen purchased a home on the island of Hydra quite some time ago.

Now the two are teaming up for a new project, a combination of theater, poetry and visual arts. The “Book of Longing” a performance based on poems, paintings and sketches by Cohen, will be staged at the Badminton Theater in Goudi from July 8 to 12. Self-portraits, landscapes and portraits of loved ones, mostly women, will be projected onto the background while Glass’s compositions fill the arena. The pensive and erotic “Book of Longing” brings to life 167 poems and 40 sketches that Cohen created over the past 20 years.

Glass selected 22 of these poems and produced a performance that blends instrumental compositions, solo interpretations, recitation and painting. Cohen’s recorded voice is heard reciting poems, telling his story and meditating, while Glass participates as a keyboardist, alongside a group of skilled musicians.

Badminton Theater, Goudi Military Park, Athens, tel 211 1086024. For tickets and information call 210 8840600 or visit >  www.ticketnet.gr

Related Links > http://www.badmintontheater.gr

Film score wizard works his magic in Athens February 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Michael Nyman, noted composer for memorable movies, to perform with his ensemble in Athens > For composer Michael Nyman, his orchestra is his ‘real voice.’ 

«My orchestra is the place where I keep the most personal elements of my work,» said famed English composer Michael Nyman of his Michael Nyman Band in an press interview ahead of a career-spanning performance in Athens next week.

Nyman initially established a reputation through early scores for the filmmaker Peter Greenaway, such as «Drowning By Numbers» and «The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.» Repetitive themes played by exquisite wind instruments and violins created a totally unique atmosphere, which prompted many critics and listeners to herald Nyman as an important musical talent.

His course to date has not betrayed them. The multifaceted, tireless Nyman has continued producing scores and operas; diversified for unanticipated projects with artists such as Damon Albarn of the British pop-rock group Blur; performed shows throughout the world; written commissioned work for the Venice Biennale; and exhibited photography – his other major passion.

In 1993, Nyman became something of a pop star with the extraordinary popularity of his music to Jane Campion’s film «The Piano.» The soundtrack sold over 4 million copies worldwide, an enormous figure for film music standards.

Nyman, on the piano, will be accompanied by a strings quartet, a brass trio, and bass for his upcoming Athens show. The composer first performed with his Michael Nyman Band back in 1976.

«My orchestra is my real voice in the sense that it perfectly represents my musical world to listeners,» said Nyman. «The interesting thing about what we’ve created with the orchestra is that we have a repertory that’s self-sufficient, independent. Being a composer, you have a sense of individuality, but you often want to collaborate with other people. You may have your own universe, but to deliver your work best, you need to climb out of your shell and work with others. As I mature, I realize that I need to place myself in a process of exchange. And I’m glad that I have this band. It offers life, passion and energy to my music. As for the repertory at the Athens show, it will consist mainly of soundtrack work. We’re trying to find a balance between audience preferences and the way the composer wants to present his work.»

Nyman is widely regarded as a «minimalist composer.» Strangely enough, it is a label he coined back in 1968, prior to his days as a composer, while working as a music critic on an article about the British composer Cornelius Cardew.

Nyman, responding to a question on whether he felt that he still belonged to the minimalist field, noted: «The easy way out would be to answer ‘yes’ and move on to the next question. It depends on how one defines minimalism. The interesting thing is that when I described certain composers as minimalists, while working as a music critic, I felt unhappy – probably because artists feel this way when you put tags on them and put them into a box. There is no doubt that those people I described composed in such a way in order to look at music from a new perspective. This was music of a certain direction. My compositions, too, emerged from this perspective. Of course, one changes as one goes along by adding material to his or her music and vocabulary. Even as a minimalist, you can have a more complex musical experience by combining things headed in a certain direction. What once could be described as minimal has outgrown the definition. When, for example, you compose a two-hour opera, can you call it ‘minimal’?»

Not long ago, Nyman established his own music label, MNRecords, an initiative which he says helps feed his creativity, because he is free to work on his own terms. «If I were at a major label, I’d be releasing one or two projects a year. I’d put out 10 projects in a decade, but I am now able to put out 10 in a year, if I wish to. The most significant thing I get from MNRecords is that I compose, record and present my work immediately. Nothing gets left in drawers – it doesn’t age,» noted Nyman. «I’m currently preparing two operas and four soundtracks. And my next release will be a birthday present that is two years late for Mozart’s 250th birthday anniversary. It’s a concept album, a post-modern minimalist approach to his work, titled ‘Mozart 252.’ It would have been difficult to do this project had I belonged to a major label’s roster. Also, just a few days ago, I met with a Russian geneticist and an English filmmaker and we discussed a project that combines the results of recent genetic research with the decline of Minoan civilization. We may have something ready within the next 18 months.»

Amid all this activity, Nyman performed his first political, anti-war project last year, a commissioned work for the BBC orchestra and choir. It is based on a poem by Jamal Juma, an exiled Iraqi living in Denmark, in which the poet expresses concern about his younger brother who is held hostage by US forces in Iraq and is considered missing.

Is this his way of contributing to the protests against the Iraq war? «In recent times, we’ve had pop musicians talk about politics. There’s Bono at the one end, and Live Aid at the other. But all that’s just the icing on the cake. There needs to be a deep connection between artistic work and political issues. Think of the political cabaret of Berlin in the 20s. .. In our times artists are not positioned with a political conscience. The political protest song of the 60s and 70s does not exist, and I don’t see a ‘Guernica’ anywhere. My [anti-war] project, too, was not made so I could change something. It was heard by the audience and a few thousand listeners on the radio. I don’t know what kind of an impact this could have had. The project’s objective was probably nothing more than a way to help me express myself and take a stance on all the horrible things happening around us.»

Michael Nyman Band, March 4, Athens, Badminton Theater, http://www.badmintontheater.gr

Eurovision Song Contest > Greek entry February 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Greek-American going to finals

Kalomoira Sarantis, a Greek-American pop singer, will represent Greece at the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade with her song “Secret Combination” after being chosen in a public and jury vote late on Wednesday.

The song contest will be held between May 20 and 24. Sarantis first became known in Greece when she won the “Fame Story” talent show in 2004.

Eurovision Song Contest conference to be held in Greece February 26, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life, Music Life Greek, Shows & Conferences.
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The University of Thessaly, in Volos, Greece, is organizing a pan European conference on the Eurovision Song Contest this coming weekend.

The conference is expected to attract a large number of fans from all over the country and the University is going to provide international fans with the opportunity to watch the conference online.

The conference, Singing Europe: Spectacle and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest, is organized by the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly in Volos, Greece, in association with the The Society of Ethnomusicology, Special Interest Group for European Music, under the auspices of the Benaki Museum of Athens, Greece. It will take place in Volos, Greece, from 29 February to 2 March 2008.

A multitude of speakers from all over Europe and the USA will discuss the various aspects of the Eurovision Song Contest. The conference will be streamed live through the University’s website so that fans from around the country and the world have the opportunity to follow the presentations.

More details on the conference as well as the full schedule can be found at > http://extras.ha.uth.gr/eurovision/en/index.asp

The conference will be streamed live at >  http://extras.ha.uth.gr/eurovision/en/live.asp

Concert dates trickling through February 26, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Prospective shows in coming weeks and months are breaking the silence of a subdued winter > Pivotal indie-rock act Kristin Hersh plays Athens’s Kyttaro on March 27. Sister act CocoRosie, an innovative and popular act on the indie-folk circuit, is expected at the Gagarin Club in Athens on May 16, less than a year after last summer’s well-received show. Mark Knopfler, the former frontman of chart-toppers Dire Straits, has been booked for the Lycabettus Theater on June 15.

It has been one of the most subdued winter seasons in terms of imported concert activity, a stark contrast to last summer’s loaded agenda of shows – perhaps too many, considering the domestic market’s size and spending potential. A considerable number of those summer events did not fare well financially, which has probably proven detrimental to the wintertime business aspirations of local concert organizers. Some announcements, however, have trickled through for the coming weeks and months. But, come summertime, it remains to be seen whether the concert agenda will be anywhere near as densely packed as it was last year.

Imminent events include performances by indie-rock icon Kristin Hersh, formerly of the Throwing Muses, Michael Nyman, best known for his emblematic soundtrack work, and the veteran act Marianne Faithfull.

Bookings for spring and beyond – concertgoers should remain apprehensive of date changes or even cancellations here – include the whimsical indie-folk duo CocoRosie, preparing for a quick return to Athens after a strong show last summer, the long-running indie-rock act Dinosaur Jr, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, as well as Mark Knopfler, the former frontman of Dire Straits, who has put out a number of worthy solo albums since the demise of his chart-topping rock group of the late 70s and 80s.

Promoters have also announced dates for three giants of the hard-rock field, the domestic market’s most reliable and consistent crowd-puller for entrepreneurs seeking a safer investment. The hard-rock parade is scheduled to begin on May 18 when Kiss, a sensation of the 70s that is still going, has been booked to perform at Terra Vibe on the outskirts of northern Athens. Then, moving well into the summer, the Karaiskaki soccer stadium in Neo Faliron, southern Athens, which is also developing into an arena-rock venue, will host a double-header with Def Leppard and Whitesnake on July 1. Iron Maiden have been booked for a show at Terra Vibe about a month later, on August 2.

Hersh, who fronted the Throwing Muses, a pivotal American indie-rock act of the 80s and early 90s and has since put out a number of interesting solo albums, performs at the Kyttaro club in Athens on March 27. It rates as a definite highlight, irrespective of the sluggish concert activity here this winter. Though her former band’s work did draw a considerable following, Hersh’s debut solo effort, 1994’s “Hips and Makers”, an eerie all-acoustic effort, sold more copies than any other Throwing Muses releases, mostly because of major airplay for the song “Your Ghost” a duet featuring Hersh and REM’s Michael Stipe.

Nyman, who has provided the soundtracks to films by Peter Greenaway, including 1988’s “Drowning By Numbers”, 1989’s “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover”, and 1991’s “Prospero’s Books” as well as Jane Campion’s “The Piano” a year later, performs at the Athens’ Badminton Theater on March 4.

Faithfull returns to Athens after a number of shows over the past decade for a night at the Pallas Theater on March 13.

CocoRosie, a prime act on the booming indie-folk circuit, have been slated for the Gagarin club on May 16.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, regular visitors here for over two decades, are expected in Athens at the open-air Lycabettus Theater on June 7, for the final night of a European tour that begins in Lisbon this April. The act, which is now set to release a new album, “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” also plays Thessaloniki’s Lazariston Monastery venue a night earlier.

Cave’s show in Athens will coincide with a gig at the Fuzz Club in Athens by Dinosaur Jr, a band that helped bring back the sound of raw-sounding rock guitar when it appeared to be fading – at least in mainstream music – in the 80s.

Knopfler, the former Dire Straits frontman, has been booked for a night at the Lycabettus Theater on June 15. Last time he performed here was in the mid-80s, with Dire Straits when they had become international chart-toppers with the hit-laden “Brothers In Arms” album. These days, Knopfler has settled for less polish to his sound, with country-blues material dominating his song book. Knopfler recently released a new solo album, “Kill to Get Crimson” following 2006’s “All the Road Running” a collaboration with Emmylou Harris.