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One-off gig from an indie-rock great March 27, 2008

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Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses performs solitary European concert date in Athens tomorrow

‘My lyrics aren’t about my expression so much as they’re about the expression of something universal, through images and moments I may have experienced, but which are not me or mine,’ says indie-rock pioneer Hersh. She follows up spoken word-music shows in London and Glasgow with a gig in Athens.

Kristin Hersh emerged in the mid-80s as a co-founder and band leader of Throwing Muses, an innovative rock act that quickly proved to be pivotal, internationally, in independent music.

Throwing Muses became the first of a number of US acts to be signed by the emblematic British label 4AD, home over the years to a rich guild of artful acts, both atmospheric and abrasive, and usually dark-sounding. The label’s roster of past and present acts reads like an accumulation of standout cases in contemporary music. Some of the now-defunct acts were widely unknown during their time. But highlighting this label’s ability and instinct for spotting genuine talent, many of its acts went on to consolidate their reputations, to varying degrees, once they had called it a day.

The label’s signings have included the Pixies, Cocteau Twins, Birthday Party, Breeders, Dead Can Dance and Bauhaus, as well as worthy lesser-knowns such as Lisa Germano and Kendra Smith.

As for Throwing Muses, it is said that the act decided to split because of financial woes despite the good word that was being spread around about them in independent music circles. Hersh, a songwriter of eerie and intense work, both acoustic and harder-hitting, has continued as a solo performer. Her debut solo album, 1994’s “Hips and Makers”, a project loaded with troubling acoustic beauty, proved a commercial success. Several worthy solo albums have since followed. Currently in Europe for two shows featuring spoken word, music and projections in London and Glasgow, the California-based musician will also perform a solo concert date in Athens tomorrow night.

Kristin Hersh (solo set), tomorrow, Kyttaro Club, 48 Ipeirou Street, Athens, tel 210 8224134. Doors open 9.30p.m. Nearest metro station “Victoria”.


Jane Birkin to evoke memories in Athens March 19, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Singer-actress, best known for her ties with the legendary French songwriter, performs tomorrow

18-03-08_jane_birkin1.jpg  Jane Birkin’s more recent music has branched out beyond the material of former husband and cultural icon Serge Gainsbourg. She will perform old and newer material tomorrow at the Athens Concert Hall.

Her own musical career has been largely based on the songs written for her or about her by the late French pop icon Serge Gainsbourg, as Jane Birkin highlighted during her first performance in Greece several years ago.

Performing on a hot summer evening at the open-air Lycabettus Theater in Athens, the barefooted, scantily dressed, still slim, and still sexy Birkin recalled memories of Gainsbourg, her former partner of 12 years, time and time again between songs. The show’s entire set featured Gainsbourg numbers rearranged and delivered in a sensual and mystical “Arabesque” style, “which he would have liked”, Birkin told her Athenian audience. The show was based on “Arabesque”, an album of Gainsbourg songs she had just released.

The London-born singer and actress who went on to develop closer ties – both personal and artistic – in France than in her homeland, returns to the Greek capital for a second performance, tomorrow night at the Athens Concert Hall.

As expected, the late Gainsbourg – who passed away in 1991 as a heavy-drinking cultural icon in France and a revered cult figure in various other parts of the world at the age of 62 – will figure again in Birkin’s set. But this time, his former spouse will present a repertory that includes work penned by other contemporary artists of various periods such as Bryan Ferry, Manu Chao, Neil Young, Tom Waits, The Smiths, Franz Ferdinand and Goran Bregovic.

Tonight’s set list will be largely based on material from two recent and well-received albums by Birkin, 2004’s “Rendez-Vous” and 2006’s “Fictions”. “Rendez-Vous” had featured a collection of duets with a variety of guests, including Beth Gibbons, the singer of the groundbreaking 90s Bristol act Portishead, and the stylish crooner Bryan Ferry. “Fictions”, which continued in this vein, includes contributions from assorted acts such as Gibbons, Neil Hannon of Divine Comedy, Kate Bush and a selection of new French chanson songwriters, including Dominique A.

“Fictions” also features a few well-chosen covers, including songs by Tom Waits and Neil Young. Johnny Marr, guitarist and songwriter of the iconic pop-rock act The Smiths, played guitar and harmonica on several of the album’s tracks.

All this artistic diversity in Birkin’s more recent ventures may help carry both her own mind, and the minds of fans, away from her pivotal association with Gainsbourg. But as she would be the first to admit, Gainsbourg remains at the core, as indicated by Birkin’s collaborations with younger acts such as Dominique A, whom the late figure probably influenced.

Birkin and Gainsbourg, 18 years her senior, met when she took a role in the 1969 film “Slogan” at a time when both were on their way out of relationships – Birkin with John Barry, composer of the James Bond series scores, and Gainsbourg with Brigitte Bardot.

“Everybody told me he was a mad, bad Russian, but after a dinner together I discovered he was very charming. He was still in love with Brigitte Bardot and I was still in love with John, but little by little we healed each other’s wounds” Birkin told British music magazine Uncut in a recent interview, recalling her late partner who hailed from a Russian-Jewish family that relocated to France.

The newly linked pair quickly struck notoriety and success with the infamous Gainsbourg-penned duet “Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus”, a major hit in 1969 that launched a long-lasting collaboration between the two. Concertgoers can expect to hear more about it from Birkin tonight.

Marianne Faithfull > Weathered, once torn, now back March 14, 2008

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Enjoying a career revival, veteran act Marianne Faithfull performs two shows in Greece this week

‘I never give advice because people will always go their own way. I don’t judge people, and I don’t offer advice. People have to work it out for themselves, really,’ the 61-year-old English singer, songwriter and actress, whose early pop stardom in the 60s was overshadowed by drug abuse throughout most of the following decade, told a news conference in Athens yesterday.

She took questions and offered answers with apparent pleasure and ease, regardless of the subject, be it her music, acting, or notorious personal life. But when asked for a bit of general advice, ahead of two shows in Greece this week as part of her aptly titled “Songs of Innocence and Experience” tour, the weathered, once-torn and now revived artist Marianne Faithfull courteously refused.

“I never give advice because people will always go their own way. I don’t judge people, and I don’t offer advice. People have to work it out for themselves, really,” responded the 61-year-old English singer, songwriter and actress, whose early pop stardom in the 60s was overshadowed by drug abuse for most of the following decade before she started rebuilding both her life and career, now widely regarded as successful.

The comeback was interrupted late in 2006 when Faithfull was diagnosed as being in the early stages of breast cancer. But she courageously returned to performing six months later, in March of last year.

A consistent series of critically acclaimed albums over the past decade or so – including 2002’s “Kissin’ Time”, which included songs written by contemporary greats such as Beck and Billy Corgan, and “Before the Poison”, an album released three years later with the bulk of its material penned by PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, helped reinstate Faithfull as a relevant and creative force in music today. In short, the past decade has proven to be a major departure from Faithfull’s erratic post-60s past, which produced few examples of notable work, the highlights being 1979’s “Broken English” and 1987’s “Strange Weather.”

Asked to comment on which stage of her life she considered the most interesting, Faithfull opted for the present without hesitation.

“I’d say now, I kind of miss being young. But the stage I’m now experiencing is the most productive and creative I’ve had. I’ve become very good at what I do. I shouldn’t be saying that myself, but I have,” declared Faithfull. “When I was young, I was like a pretty doll, and I just got thrown away. If I had to lose my youth and beauty to get to this stage of artistic integrity, then it’s been worth it,” she continued.

For the umpteenth time in her career, Faithfull, at yesterday’s news conference, had to face the seemingly inevitable question regarding her past association with the Rolling Stones, particularly the supergroup’s frontman Mick Jagger, an ex-boyfriend throughout the late 60s.

“Come on, I’ve had to talk about this for the last 46 years,” responded Faithfull, with politeness still intact. “I like Jagger and respect him a lot but that was a long, long time ago. I learnt a lot from Mick, Keith Richards and even Charlie Watts. He got me interested in jazz. I mostly get to see Keith these days. We’re all working artists.”

Faithfull is currently finishing off a new album, “Easy Come, Easy Go”. Produced by Hal Willner, who produced her “Strange Weather” album, the latest release, recorded in New York City, is expected this May.

“It’s been quite an adventure, what you call a real studio album. It’s turned out well. This is an album of other people’s songs, jazz, folk, blues. It’s very eclectic,” said Faithfull. “I’m not really promoting anything new on this tour, so I’m really enjoying performing, not that I mind promoting new albums.”

Backed by a trio for this tour, Faithfull said its repertory was career-spanning. Faithfull spoke enthusiastically about her respected parallel activity as a film actress, which began in the mid-60s for a decade before re-emerging in the early 90s. Most recently she starred in last year’s “Irina Palm” where she played the role of Maggie, a 60-year-old widow who becomes a sex worker to pay for the medical treatment of her ill grandson. The performance earned Faithfull a Best Actress nomination from the European Film Academy.

“To mix acting and what I call my real job, which is music, is complicated. But I love acting, if I have in front of me a good script, a good cast and crew. But I can’t go from film to film. It’s too late. If I hadn’t been discovered [in music], my life would have been very different,” said Faithfull. “My God, actors work so hard. They really have to go all over the world to promote these films; they get well paid, of course… But it’s all so celebrity-centered. I’m not movie-star material.”

Marianne Faithfull > Thursday, Pallas Theater, Athens. Friday, Vellideio Congress Centre, Thessaloniki.

Pink Floyd to play the Nicosia wall? March 10, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life, Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Please read the just updated post regarding the Pink Floyd’s forthcoming live concert in Nicosia, Cyprus >


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/

Kylie Minogue live in Athens! March 9, 2008

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For the first time in Greece, Kylie, the Queen of pop music, will appear live on May 22 at the Terra Vibe Venue in Malakasa, on the outskirts of Athens!

09-03-08_kylie.jpg  Her “Κylie X 2008” tour, starts in Paris, France on May 6 and with stops over Athens, Prague, Munich, Berlin, Vienna, London, a show “new, enjoyable and innovative” according to her website.

Tickets for the Athens concert are priced at 50 to 100 euro. For further details call Athens 210 3608366 or visit www.ticketpro.gr

Related Links > http://www.terravibe.gr/eng/

Kylie’s Official Website > http://www.kylie.com/home

READ MORE ABOUT KYLIE’S ATHENS CONCERT > http://homeboy.gr [in English] and http://magazine.homeboy.gr [in Greek]

Upcoming live gigs in Greece March 2, 2008

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The Godfathers > 15 March > Gagarin 205 > Athens

Jane Birkin > 19 March > Athens Concert Hall > Remember her hit “Je t’aime…moi non plus” with late Serge Gainsbourg?

The Kiss > 18 May > Terra Vibe > Athens

Blue Oyster Cult > 5 June > Vrachon “Melina Merkouri” Theater > Vyronas, Athens

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds > 7 June > Lycabettus Theater > Athens

Mark Knopfler > 15 June > Lycabettus Theater > Athens

Def Leppard and Whitesnake > 1 July > Karaiskaki Stadium > P. Faliro, Athens

Lenny Kravitz > 1 August > Lycabettus Theater > Athens

Iron Maiden > 2 August > Terra Vibe > Athens

+ more to come a.s.a.p. ! be here in beautiful Greece!