Saturday, December 24, 2011

Xmas Story

The Boy and the Tree (Ένα Δέντρο μια Φορά) is a Greek animated movie based on a story by Eugene Trivizas, professor of Criminology and children book author. The movie was directed by Panagiotis Rappas and the music was written by Dimitris Papadimitriou.
The movie got the Best Animation prize in 5th AnimFest of Athens and was voted 2nd Best Production of Kids and Junior programs in Europe for the year 2009.

Youtube search: The Boy and the Tree – Ένα Δέντρο μια Φορά
More info

Sunday, December 18, 2011

On the Jazz Side

Yannis Spanos is a very special case of a composer.
He lived in Paris during the 60s and 70s where he served “la Nouvelle Vague” as a pianist and a composer. He collaborated with Brigitte Bardot, Juliette Gréco, Marcel Rothel, Michael Legrand among others.
During the 70s he returned to Greece where he initiated the Greek version of Nouvelle Vague (Neo Kyma).

Here’s La Panthere from Juliette Gréco album Complainte Amoureuse (1969)

Yiannis Spanos is also the composer of many soundtracks including Anazitisis (1972), This Summer (1971), Symposium (1972), Pavlos Melas (1974).

Listen to the funky Psychedelic Shake from the acclaimed Symposium soundtrack, produced by Michel Legrand, for Dimitris Kollatos film.

And here’s a fine blues/jazz tune from the movie Ransom Baby of 1972.
The soundtrack remains unreleased and what you find here is the pieces of the song I gathered from 3 different parts of the movie and joined them to come up with the full song.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Psych-Folk Gems

Sometimes traditional music merges so well with contemporary music that one cannot distinguish between old and new – and actually there is no point in doing so as the outcome is so unique and timeless that can form a new genre of its own, or can stay uncategorized but still precious.
This is the case with the following albums which in any case are considered among the best in their creators’ long and successful careers.  

Stavros Xarhakos – Dionyse Kalokairi mas (1972)

This is an album with original compositions orchestrated with electric and traditional instruments.

The album can be categorized under psych-folk but in any case this is restrictive and limited as a tag.

Here’s the song Girnan Amilita Paidia with the voice of the great Cretan singer Nikos Xylouris.

Mariza Koh – Arabas (1971)

This is her first album, featuring original compositions and covers of traditional songs.

Mariza Koh has a long presence since then with more than 20 albums while in 1990 she was awarded by Cornell university of New York for her contribution to music.

The song Skepsis is one of her own compositions in Arabas album.

Christodoulos Halaris – Tropikos tis Parthenou (1973)

Halaris is a composer/musicologist who focuses in ancient Greek music and Byzantine music.

He has created his own label to release his interpretation and reconstruction of ancient Greek music and Byzantine secular music.

He has released several albums with original compositions that combine elements of byzantine, traditional, folk music.

Here’s Anathema p’ Agapisa to Homa sou sung again by Nikos Xylouris.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Topologist

What is particularly interesting about Tom Kazas is the diversity of his art.

From the psychedelic Moffs to the ethnic groove of Xitzaz, from his ambient works to his film-making, Tom seems to enjoy interpreting things from all possible angles, then letting his ideas “breath” before come into shape.

Tom Kazas, born 1965, is a Greek /Australian composer, producer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and recently a film maker.

The Moffs - Another Day in the Sun (from The Moffs, 1986)

As well as being the creative force behind the Moffs, the Australian psychedelic pop/rock group of the 80s, Tom has a rich discography as a solo artist, but also as a producer and arranger.

His collaborations range from psychedelic pop (Taj Orange EP, 1991), to the ethnic (with Richard Lawson of Lime Spiders on the 1994 Fig Tree Renaissance album, and with the Ducers, Shift the Teli album of 1996). From Greek jazz (with Xitzaz band and the album Turbulence of 1999) to Xmas songs (in Tiny Tim’s Christmas Album of 1996).

Taj Orange - Premonition (from In A Sea With..., 1991)

Unfortunately most of his records are really hard to find. Tom did surprise me and send me a couple of his rare and out of print recordings.

The album Turbulence by Xitzaz is a very special case. Kazas is a member, arranger and producer for Xitzaz, which is a band playing Greek jazz, as they claim on Tom’s web site.

I would describe this as a jazz/funk/traditional fusion featuring inspired covers of traditional and popular Greek songs but also original compositions from Kazas and the band.
Check their magnificent cover of master of rembetico Markos Vamvakaris' Frangosiriani.

Frangosiriani - Xitzaz (from Turbulence, 1999)

Tom’s latest album, Verdigris, was released earlier this year.
It is a full length piano album of four pieces.
A minimal work with an emphasis on the rhythmic, repetitive patterns which progress slowly in moving cycles.

Emerge - Tom Kazas (from Verdigris, 2011)

Cinema is another extension of Tom’s artistic endeavor. He has made several short films with The Topologist being the latest one. It’s a 16 minute “cinema poem on the examination of self”, as he explains.

The Topologist trailer

A discussion with Tom Kazas

G: Tom what is your Greek heritage?

My father was born in a village near Nafplion and came to Australia in 1959. My mother was born in Sydney, whose father came to Australia in 1933 from Castellorizo.

G: You have worked with many Greeks (writing music for their films, producing albums, composing etc). Is there an artistic Greek community in Australia?

I'm certain there is a community. I don't interact with it much now, so I don’t know what shape it takes. When I work with Greeks, I tend to see them as 'individuals with extras'. I have always enjoyed the freedom to be able to engage with Greeks, and then the freedom to ignore that identity. I think it's that circularity that helps to keep Hellenism alive for me, here in an anglophone country.
When I was younger I was much more involved with the Greek community in Sydney. I was the composer for a many Greek Theatre productions, and later with the Greek jazz band 'Xitzaz'. There was certainly a strong sense of community around those activities.

I suspect that as the Greek-Australian community matures and hybridizes, it becomes more about 'choosing' to be Greek. There is so much to choose from and be stunned by. I have always understood that it is at my core, personally and as a westerner, and know that it will continue to give me energy for the rest of my life.

G: You recently played a few gigs with the Moffs. How was it? Any plans for new music?

The recent Moffs gigs were a great experience for me, and I think for many people. Because we played a 1985 setlist with the original members, it was a rare opportunity to get into that distant headspace. Remember, I was twenty years old in 1985, so it was a way to experience part of that naiveté and joy again. After the gigs I was told there were a few tears in a few eyes. I was also told that 'Another Day in the Sun' had been played at weddings! Mostly, it was great to play that style of rock guitar and sing a few old songs. There are no plans for any further new music by the Moffs.

From the 2011 Moffs gigs. Photos by Kyleigh Pitcher

Surprised - The Moffs (from Labyrinth, 1988)

G: I think the uniqueness of the Moffs sound is somehow connected with your Greek heritage. In many cases you are following "eastern" routes when singing or playing the guitar. Same thing with your solo albums. For example in Garden of Fascination from Saint or Fool.

You are not only perceptive but essentially right in your listening. In fact, there has never been an album that I have released, Moffs or other, that has not had some rather strong Greek elements in it. I could easily make a list of songs for you like 'Garden of Fascination', that have a Greek heart; from the earliest Moffs to Verdigris, and in the Topologist.

Garden of Fascination - Tom Kazas (from Saint or Fool, 1997)

G: Another observation has to do with what we have already discussed as diversity in your music. I think these elements, that might be not so obvious or fully developed in the Moffs, were taken a step further on your solo albums. If the early years are about the big picture, then the mature years are about exploring the detail. For example, the Dolphin and I, Tapestry or the first half of Stealing Cake. I have the feeling that you took some not-fully-developed ideas and perfected them in your Telemetry or Fleeting Eternities albums. And then you took elements from Telemetry and Fleeting Eternities to stretch, improvise and further explore into Verdigris.

And again, you are right. The Moffs contained that combination of 'the song' and 'the instrumental' that I have mostly separated out, and continued to explore in my 'mature years'! It is mostly a conscious decision, for it has allowed me to bounce between the two poles, to use one to react against the other, a kind of escape valve.

It is true that on Verdigris I took a small group of seeds and sought to create whole worlds from them. Maybe it reflects my aging process, of seeking to distill and simplify, to explore what is easily missed, to try and have some power over time. Verdigris is this attempt at playing with time.

However, making the Topologist was such an important break in that musical bouncing process. It allowed me the freedom to really change the focus, and find a new way to question my place.

G: Is there a “wild” dream sitting in the back of your mind? Something that when it's done, it might surprise even its creator?

I don't really have an answer to that question, or, my answer doesn't seem to be that wild. Apart from:
-wanting to connect with an audience of millions,
-being heralded as a genius
-being talked about, and
-performing at Lycabettos...

If I have an answer, it is this:
To stay connected with art. As I age, the form this connection takes is less important to me. What is important is the making, the praxis, the necessity of it.
I hope to never lose my hunger for the thoughts and feelings of people, and the products of those thoughts and feelings. I would hate to lose that awareness, and then be content to live without it. That would be poverty. But I hear Kazantzakis' words resounding, for he told us how to attain freedom: by not fearing, not hoping.  Being an artist is one of the few activities that allows you to act in freedom, expensive though this sometimes is.

G: What’s next?

I am putting the finishing touches to my new four song ep, ‘Melbn Pyxis’ that I will release in 2012. It is refreshing for me because the lyrics have never been this direct, or personal. It felt like I needed to be more courageous, and the lyrical honesty on the ep was a way of achieving that. I hope to also be performing these songs with a new band.
Later next year I hope to release the dvd, 'the Topologist and other Cinema Poems'. This release will mean that the Topologist will finally be available. It is also a nice way to issue some of my video work, of which a few are on youtube .

Several years ago, film and video became an all-encompassing activity for me. At a time in my life when I needed to ‘see’ things differently, film making became obvious and necessary. I think the activity of being a film maker was always latent in me. An added inspiration is the work of Theo Angelopoulos.
Creating the Greek version of 'the Topologist’ was a wonderful exercise in exploring the poetry of the Greek language, and also the difficulties of translation. My dear friend Nonda Antonopoulos, from Xitzaz and the Ducers, did most of the translation work. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. It was also an honour to have Kristi Stassinpoulou perform the voice over.

In his own words:

My first record:
I really can't remember. I had my sister's and uncle's records, and I was borrowing from the library and from friends. But at 10 years old I was given 'High Tide Green Grass' by the Rolling Stones.

I was also hearing the Greek music my father was playing in the house, Theodorakis and Xarhakos. He made little edited Super8 films of family things and would then project it with a variety of music from his reel to reel tape machine. These were early multi-media experiences for me.

My first concert:
There was a festival day with local bands like the Angels, Split Enz, Jimmy and the Boys.
But the first 'concert' for me was the Cure in 1981, I was 16.

The song I wish I had written:
At the moment, it's 'Atom and Cell' by Nine Horses (David Sylvian).

The artist I’d like to collaborate with:

My favorite Greek album:
That's hard. 'Mou Thimizeis ti Mana mou' by Christos Kyriazis, or 'Odes' by Vangelis.

Mou Thimizeis ti Mana mou (You remind me of my mother) - Christos Kyriazis

Dance of Fire - Vangelis

My favorite movie:
Something by Tarkovsky, maybe 'Stalker'.
However, I recently saw 'Turin Horse' by Bela Tarr, that was quite astounding.

What still surprises me:
 1. The sheer beauty and wonder of existence. The depth of sorrow it also contains.
 2. The scale of legal corruption.
 3. What my children say and do.

My moto:
Oh, I have several. Here are but a few, in no particular order:
'To be courageous, one must perform acts of courage'.
'Be attentive to the few moments that give meaning'.
'You only know yourself in the presence of others'.
'Creative work is serious play'.

Letter to the Dead - Tom Kazas (from The Wound, 1999)

End as Beginning - Tom Kazas (from Telemetry, 2003)

Discography and info about Tom Kazas on his site:
Hint: Tom has a few copies of the out-of-print Xitzaz album. You can contact him here!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Latin Mood

One of the greatest Greek female singers and later Manos Hatzidakis muse.
Fleury Dandonaki born in Crete, 1937, has moved in US to study philosophy and theatre.
In 1965 she released her first album, Fleury – The Isles of Greece, in the States for the folk label Vanguard.
In this album she performs folk and popular songs from various countries.
The band features Gus Vali among others.

Here’s her great cover of Luiz Bonfá and Antonio Maria, Manhã de Carnaval.

Dimitra Galani started her career in the 60s. She has collaborated with most of the great Greek composers (Hatzidakis, Tsitsanis, Moutsis, Kraounakis etc).  
Spyros Sakkas, born 1938, is a renowned baritone who has performed original compositions of the most famous composers (Cage, Xenakis, Christou, Crumb etc).
The two of them have proposed to National Greek Radio a series of songs from all over the world which was first broadcasted in 1983.

Here’s Vinicius de Moraes’ and Buden Powell's Samba em Prelúdio.

Zanet Kapuya is not Greek. Or better, she was not born Greek. She was born in Uruguay and moved in Buenos Aires at the age of 13.
From a very early age she studied singing, dancing, guitar and theatre.
By the end of the 70s Kapuya comes to Greece and stays.
In 1979 she releases her first album in Greece, named Songs (Tragoudia) where she performs songs from Spain, Italy, Argentina, Cuba, Peru and Greece.
The Greek songs belong to composer Akis Panou.

Here's El Humahuaqueño from Argentina

and Your World (O Kosmos o Dikos sou) which is an original composition by Akis Panou written for his new born daughter.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

El Griego Rumbero

When I first contacted Demetrios Kastaris, beginning of November, I did it to ask if he was going to release any of the material produced by his new project, Conjunto Katharí. Until then I had only read on the web about the new group and their mix of salsa and gospel, but I didn’t have an idea of their sound. Nothing existed on the web. Demetrios not only responded but also sent me the 3 songs they had recorded at the time! The timing was great as he informed me they were about to release the songs. So this is probably the first article written where you can also listen to a sample of Conjunto Katharí music. The 3 songs were made available online last week.

Conjunto Katharí was founded in June of 2010 by trombonist Demetrios Kastaris and his wife, Arts Administrator Hilda Kastaris. Conjunto (pronounced cone-hoón-toe) means musical ensemble in Spanish, and Katharí means pure and clean in Greek.
Demetrios Kastaris explains that the purpose of the group is to perform Afro-Caribbean music with Gospel lyrics.
The instrumentation consists of 4 trombones in 4 parts harmony (big influence was the 4 trombones arrangements of Willie Colon), 3 percussionists, 3 singers in harmony, piano, bass, plus invited guest soloists.

Demetrios with Salsa Legend Willie Colon

The orchestra’s debut concert took place December, 2010 at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, New York with master Jazz virtuoso trombone and conch shell player Steve Turre as a guest.

Conjunto Katharí have just released their first recordings.

Here's a preview of the 3 songs
1. Si Tuvieras Fé Como Un Grano De Mostaza (If You Had the Faith of a Mustard Seed)
2. Vamos Escalando Peldaños (Let’s Go Climbing Up Stairs)
3. Wade in the Water

You can listen/buy the songs here or go to and type Conjunto Katharí


Q: Demetrios you've been called “El Griego Rumbero”. The Latin-Jazz Coalition has gained a good reputation and released an acclaimed album and you introduced Conjunto Kathari, your salsa-gospel project. What is your musical vision?

With the Latin Jazz Coalition I wish to continue doing concerts with well-known artists as well as continue growing as a trombone player, composer, arranger, band leader, and Jazz improviser. Just because I founded a new group called Conjunto Kathari does not mean that I am going to stop doing concerts with the Latin Jazz Coalition.

Oh by the way, I am called El Griego Rumbero because I was born in Greece and I maintain my Greek identity while performing Afro Cuban and Puerto Rican music with a great band and with well-known musicians. Historians and scholars of Latin music have brought it to my attention that I am the first Greek-American in recorded history to lead an authentic sounding Latin band of Afro Caribbean music and Jazz.

In terms of Conjunto Kathari which is only a year and a half old I have a very different vision. There is a message of God`s love in Conjunto Kathari. I want to give hope and love to people that feel hopeless and helpless, regardless of what culture they come from or what their religion is. God has put that love in my heart for all people. I desire to play in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and on the streets in tough neighborhoods where there is gang violence, drugs, and prostitution. All these people need to feel love. I get this desire to do humanistic things from my relationship to Jesus Christ. I have been given so many blessings it`s time for me to give back.

For those who don`t know Greek and Spanish Conjunto Kathari means pure and clean musical ensemble. That`s quite a reputation to live up to. I feel that Conjunto Kathari has to play in an exceptionally excellent way because many people don`t accept our message as far as Jesus is concerned. If our music is great many people will eventually accept our message.

Also in Conjunto Kathari I get to play in a trombone section with a total of 4 great trombone players in 4 part harmony. I also get to play Salsa with Gospel lyrics as well as Contemporary and traditional Gospel music. I have wanted to do all of this for years.

Q: What is your Greek heritage?

I was born in Theassaloniki in 1959. In 1961 we moved to the United States. My dad was a Greek Orthodox priest for his entire life. My mom was a home maker from Athens. My dad was also 100% Greek and grew up in Athens but he was born in Alexandria Egypt. I consider myself 100% Greek (Greek American). I also can claim a small tie to African rhythm from my father`s side. I grew up in an extremely Greek environment and culture. We spoke Greek only at home and English only at school. I went to Greek school at 3:30 after American school for many years so that I would learn Greek. I have visited Greece in the summer ten times and I love my Greek culture.

We love to eat spanakopita and baklava. We also really love to listen to Kalamatiano and Zembekiko. Even though I am immersed in Afro Cuban music today I really love to listen to recordings of Haris Alexiou. I go crazy when I listen to that music.

By the way, my wife is from Colombia, South America so I am fully fluent in three languages, English, Greek, and Spanish.

Q: Your favorite music?

I love Latin music, Latin Jazz, Greek music, Jazz, Classical, almost everything except for music that talks about violence

Q: Any plans of live performances in Greece/Europe in the future?

It has been my desire for years to travel to Greece and do concerts. We have to stay at it and see what doors open up.

Q: What's next?

Well, I have been working very hard with my wife building the infrastructure and administrative strength of both bands. This part of being an artist is tedious and time consuming but as in the past it has opened many marvelous doors for performing and recording. We want to record more with both orchestras.

Latin Jazz Coalition older GREEKAZOID post here
Latin Jazz Coalition web site:
Demetrios Kastaris e-mail:
youtube: type: latinjazzcoalition

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brothers and Sisters


Anna and Maria Kalouta (1920 – 1918) were raised to be stars.
They first appeared on stage in 1925.
The duo performed all over the world since 1950, recorded and appeared in movies.
It is said they also collaborated with Yma Sumac and Maurice Chevalier among others.

A Beating Heart


Errica and Margarita Broyer first appeared as a duo in 1961.
They singed and danced to modern rhythms of the era and soon became one of the most famous acts of 60s night life.
They also appeared in numerous movies.


Little Kiss


Born in the 40s, John and George Katsamba, became famous as the Katsamba Brothers duo.
Although most of their albums are in Greek, they became very popular for their latin performances.
They also scored some international hits as Los Hermanos Cachamba.
Their first self titled album was released in 1968.
Next year they released the album Melodies of Latin America which includes this version of Manolo Escobar, El Porompompero.

El Porompompero


Martha and Tena Elefteriadu, born 1946/1948, to Greek political refugees, grew up in Brno in former Czechoslovakia. They began their musical journey in the 60s with beat group Vulkán. They had a successful career during the 60s and 70s. Martha had an interesting solo career in the 70s in a more funky mood.

Srdce na dlani (1970)

Horizont (Martha solo, 1980)

Monday, November 7, 2011

BBC Stories

An ex-soldier who fought during World War 2 alongside the local resistance returns to Crete where he comes across the ghosts of the past questioning and threatening his present…
That’s the story of TV Series Who Pays the Ferryman, filmed in Crete and produced by BBC in 1977.
Yannis Markopoulos has written the music score which became a hit in UK.

Who Pays the Ferryman? - Yannis Markopoulos

The Honeymoon Song was written by Mikis Theodorakis in 1958 for the Honeymoon movie by Michael Powell.
The song performed by Marino Marini appealed to The Beatles who recorded this for their BBC sessions in 1963.
This version was finally released in 1994 (The Beatles: Live at the BBC).
In 1969 Paul McCartney produced The Honeymoon Song for Mary Hopkin’s debut album.
The song has been covered multiple times since and in many languages.

The Honeymoon Song - The Beatles

The Hoenymoon Song - Mary Hopkin

An Thimitheis to Oneiro mou (If you remember my dream is the Greek title. Lyrics by poet Nikos Gatsos) - Giovana

Friday, November 4, 2011

No Comments

Melina Merkouri - Cafe Greece (To Kafeneion i Ellas) (1984)

Jimmy Makulis - Gitarren klingen leise durch die nacht (1959)

Brigitte Bardot - Les amis de la musique (1963) (a Yiannis Spanos composition)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Athens Calling

It's a chaotic, schizophrenic and frustrating situation.
For so many years corrupted governments, hungry allies and filthy syndicates rule.
No words to describe insanity.
Just 3 songs as a soundtrack to this madness.

1. Get Off My World - The Last Drive (from Heavy Liquid, 2009)

  2. Frank & Stein - Modrec (from Mascaraddiction, 2010)

3. Leftovers - Planet of Zeus (from Macho Libre, 2011)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Safari Boy

Following the Tokoloshe Men post here’s another Greek from South Africa. Tolis Fasois, born in South Africa and formed his first group there influenced by the UK punk scene.
The family moved to Greece and Tolis searched for a new band. So in 1979 when Madness were releasing their first album, a new band was coming to shape in Greece: Sharp Ties.

The band was meant to be one of the first and by far the most successful Greek band to jump on the post-punk/new wave/ska train at the time it was created.
In 1981, at the time the Smiths were releasing their first album, Sharp Ties released theirs. The title: Get that Beat and the title song still remains a party classic.

Get That Beat - Sharp Ties (from Get That Beat, 1981)

Platinum disc, tours all over Greece and sold-outs. At a time when most groups where singing in Greek, this English singing group made record companies re-think their local strategies.
Their second album, Safari Boys, follows in 1982. These two first albums remain among the most successful and best new wave Greek albums. Two more albums follow, Sharp Ties 3 in 1986 and Positive in 1989.
The sound becomes more pop (just like their UK influences).

Safari Boys - Sharp Ties (from Safari Boys, 1982)

By the By - Sharp Ties (from Sharp Ties 3, 1986)

Then the group disbands and it would take more than 20 years for Tolis to release another album, solo this time.
Just before that he writes the English lyrics for the songs of Pyx Lax that were sung by Eric Burdon, Marc Almond, Steve Wynn and Gordon Gano (the songs included in Pyx Lax, Happy in the City of Fools album of 2003).
Finally in 2009, Tolis Fasois releases his first solo album Just for a Day. To the old influences (David Byrne, Bryan Ferry) some new are added (Jarvis Cocker).
The sound is fresh, pop with very good songs and production.

A very nice (and unexpected) comeback.

Crumbling Down - Tolis Fasois (from Just for a Day, 2009)

Come On - Tolis Fasois (from Just for a Day, 2009)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tokoloshe Men

John Kongos, born 1945 in Johannesburg, at Greek parents, is best known for his 1971 hit He’s Gonna Step on You Again. The song was a top 10 hit in UK and is cited in the Guinness book as the first song to ever use a sample (Wikipedia). In another interview (in Greek) Kongos claims that the use of tape loops was something usual at the time.
He’s Gonna Step on You Again was covered by several artists, most successful being the Happy Mondays cover under the title Step On.
The song was co-written by Chris Demetriou, another one with Greek origin (born in Cyprus and moved to South Africa).

He's Gonna Step on You Again (1971) - John Kongos

Tokoloshe Man (1971) - John Kongos

Both of them became known during the 60s, Kongos with his band Johnny Kongos and the G-Men and Demetriou with John E Sharpe & the Squires. The two form Floribunda Rose and in 1967 move to UK. After one year of touring and some singles Floribunda Rose change lineup and name. The new band created by Kongos and Demetriou, Scrugg, was another short lived project. After 3 singles and some heavy touring they split.The psychedelic pop music of Floribunda Rose and Scrugg plus the first solo album by John Kongos, Confusions About a Goldfish, are gathered in the Lavender Popcorn (1966 - 1969) compilation.

One Way Street (1967) - Floribunda Rose

Lavender Popcorn (1968) - Scrugg

Kongos followed a solo career with success in several countries during the 70s. Demetriou changed direction in 1972 and as a producer he produced many albums and singles with Buddha and the Chocolate Box by Cat Stevens (also from Cyprus) being one of them. Demetriou (according to Wikipedia) today is CEO and owner of a media company, a senior pastor (!) and a writer.
Kongos during the late 70s and 80s has written several film and TV scores including The Greek Tycoon, (story by Nico Mastorakis), Blind Date (b-movie by Nico Mastorakis), Cats Eyes etc. Today he lives in Arizona with his family (his children have formed their own band named Kongos).

Just a Dance With Me (1978) - Petula Clark (John Kongos from Greek Tycoon OST)

Cats Eyes theme (1985) - John Kongos (from Cats Eyes TV series)

I Need Your Love (1984) - John Kongos (from Blind Date OST)

Additional information about both Kongos and Demetriou plus interviews you can find in the nice Garagehangover blog (here and here) which I also used as a source of information.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unreleased Soundtracks

Back to the 70s soundtracks with some unreleased ones. As in other posts with unreleased soundtracks, I have done some editing in order to improve sound. Some noises still exist but in any case I did my best.

So the first one comes from a 1975 movie, The Navel (Synomosia sti Mesogeio was the Greek title).
It’s a spy movie shot in various places with some great funk/jazz music from the great George Hatzinasios. Hatzinasios is a composer who not only has a jazz feeling but also knows how to conduct a small orchestra. Although he has released a number of quite significant soundtracks (The Hook, Soul and Flesh etc), a great portion of his work with movies remains unpublished.

The Navel (1975)

Mikaela is a sexploitation movie released in 1975.
Credits for the original music belong to George Paris and from a quick search I didn’t find any other soundtrack he has composed (although he was credited as Music Supervisor in at least 9 more Greek movies of the 70s). The score is a typical, funky exploitation one.

Mikaela, Sweet Temptation (1975)

The Last Flight is a drama from 1978.
The movie has some really great music from the soundtrack master Kostas Kapnisis and it is really a pity that the soundtrack is not released.

About Kapnisis we have said a few things in older posts and hopefully we’ll present more of his work in the future.

Here’s a small sample, a bossa nova from Last Flight.

Last Flight (1978)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ki Sano Terra

Pantelis Pantelopoulos is a contemporary artist inspired by the city (landscape, people and sounds). The industrial element (forms, shapes, noises etc), omnipresent in his art, de-humanizes the person and at the same time emphasizes one’s cry for humanity.

Pantelis, influenced by surrealism, comics and pop art but also from industrial design, has mastered his art and created a distinct, unique personal style that is expressed in several (often unconventional) ways including installations with visual action, projections, screen printing and painting.

"Stress", 1981
By Pandelis (Pandelopoulos) (1957)
Pencil on paper, 17Χ25 cm.
Inv. No.: P-41

During this period he participates in modern art Biennale 3 in Thessaloniki with his video “Ki Sano Terra”.

"Ki Sano Terra", 2008

Other information and videos you can find here.

PS. He has also designed the cd pack from Alexia’s triple album presented a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mano's Jazz

Dimitris Kalantzis eventually found the best host for his creation.
So the jazz tribute to Manos Hatzidakis’ music is released by Verve and is simply a jazz masterpiece.
Hatzidakis was not a jazz composer. Jazz was there of course, either in pure form like in The Last Lie from 1957 Kakogianis’ movie soundtrack, or as an influence with some jazz elements and “touches” in works like Joconda’s Smile.
What Dimitris Kalantzis did is transformed some of the finest classical music into a pure jazz delight interpreted by a jazz quintet and a classical orchestra.
The outcome would make Hatzidakis proud.

Here's a sample from May I Be Your World (Dedication) - Dimitris Kalantzis Quintet (from Mano's album, 2011)

It certainly gives another perspective to Hatzidakis music that was hard to imagine. Kalantzis and his Quintet having mastered their art, they considered this as a natural next step: to take the great composer’s music they grew up listening and make it theirs.

Street Song - Dimitris Kalantzis Quintet (from Mano's album, 2011)

Athens Kamerata does a great job supporting the Quintet by filling or leaving space to the great musicians. Kamerata’s conductor is Miltos Logiadis and the string arrangements belong to Jiannis Antonopoulos.

Dimitris Kalantzis Quintet are:

Dimitris Kalantzis: piano, arrangements
Takis Paterelis: alto saxophone
Andreas Polyzogopoulos: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Alexandros-Drakos Ktistakis: drums
George Georgiadis: double bass

You can also listen to Away On the Misty River here

Friday, September 9, 2011


Definition (Wikipedia): El duende is the spirit of evocation. It comes from inside as a physical/emotional response to music. It is what gives you chills, makes you smile or cry as a bodily reaction to an artistic performance that is particularly expressive.

Federico García Lorca writes in his Duende speech: "Duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, 'Duende is not in the throat; duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.' Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation"

Alexia - Remember Boston (from Re-Be 2010)

"Duende's arrival always means a radical change in forms. It brings to old planes unknown feelings of freshness, with the quality of something newly created, like a miracle, and it produces an almost religious enthusiasm."
"All arts are capable of duende, but where it finds greatest range, naturally, is in music, dance, and spoken poetry…"

Alexia - My Tango (from Re-Be 2010)

Well…I certainly was not expecting such an amazing album from Alexia. Not because she’s not capable of delivering one (she just did actually) but because I was not prepared for this. It’s too much for me to handle. And I’m not talking about the album’s length (3 discs, 50 songs, 200-page booklet with bi-lingual lyrics), I’m talking about DUENDE. It’s personal and universal, it’s passionate, emotional and yet down to earth, it’s educating and entertaining, it’s pop and jazz and blues and spoken poetry, it’s inspired and natural.

Alexia - Electricity/Family (Re-Be 2010)

and here's the above song with different orchestration and lyrics (practically a new song and equally beautiful):
Alexia - Time/Love me (Re-Be 2010)

It took her 10 years to prepare. She wrote all the music, lyrics and performed. Every single detail is great, from the package to the web site:

It’s Re-Be and it’s amazing!

Alexia - The Street I Live (live on Greek TV)

More info about Alexia here

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Way (Part 2)

Giannis Palamidas started his career in the 70s. His first recording is the Apocalypsis first album of 1979. His voice and eccentric live shows gain him a reputation as a performer and in 1981 he participates in composer’s Lena Platonos debut album Sabotage. The album is considered one of the masterpieces of Greek (let’s say electronic-pop) music and marks the beginning of a lasting collaboration between Lena Platonos, Giannis Palamidas and Savina Giannatou (another great artist, female singer).

Ptisi 201 (Flight 201) from Sabotage

In 1986 Palamidas releases his first solo album with his own songs. Cineromantza (Cine romances) is an electronic-pop album which remains underestimated and unknown. The lyrics are in Greek as in all his recordings to date with the exception of the first Apocalypsis album which has English lyrics.

Otan I Gi tha Ekragei (By the Time the Earth will Explode) from Cineromantza
In 1989 he continues his successful collaboration with Lena Platonos in her album To Spasimo ton Pagon (The Breaking of Ice). The album, although of very high standards (one of my personal favorites), remains among the least known albums of the composer and singer.

Pote de se Eida (I Never Saw You) from To Spasimo ton Pagon

Giannis Palamidas continues his musical journey contributing to composer’s Dimitris Marangopoulos album Maria Dolores Parelthon (Parelthon = Past) where he shares the tracks with Savina Giannatou one more time. This is another very good album with great orchestration and lyrics. Both this record and the previous one were released in Manos Hatzidakis’ label, Sirius.

Paul Gauguin from Maria Dolores Parelthon

In 1992 he contributes to Panagiotis Margaris album Stis Nyhtas to Fos (In the Light of the Night) where he shares the tracks with Athina Karataraki. This one is perhaps the most unknown album among his discography. Margaris is a classic guitar virtuoso (I think this is his first recording but I’m not sure). Palamidas also contributes with some lyrics.

Kanenas (Nobody) from Stis Nyhtas to Fos

By the end of the 90s and after participating (he sings one track) in Dionysis Tsaknis album To Fantasma apo to Parelthon (Ghost form the Past), he forms a short lived group named NE and releases their only album in 1998 called To Paihnidi tis Siopis (The Game of Silence). With this project he returns to electronic forms. The song with the same name receives some airplay but it is with his next work that Palamidas has a hit. It is his contribution to Konstantinos B album Angel Baby (2001) where he sings Tyhero Asteri (Lucky Star).This love song has been covered by various artists since then.

Tyhero Asteri from Angel Baby

Seven years later he contributes to Lena Platonos new album Imerologia (Diaries), singing one track and in the same year he releases his second solo album after Cineromantza. Doritis Somatos (Body Donor) is a collection of new songs together with some new versions of songs from Cineromantza and To Paihnidi tis Siopis (NE).
In 2010 he participates in 2 albums by Lena Platonos: the live recording Live in Palas and the new Lena Platonos album Kavafis where he interprets 13 poems of the famous poet.

I Lathos Agapi (Wrong Love) live with Lena Platonos

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