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Everything posted by Geske

  1. Soc, thank you for explaining about the meaningS of "laiko" It has had me confused for a long time! In English there are the two words: folk music (meaning music of the people) and pop music (meaning popular music). They might have been the same, but are not! If I get you right, laika means both pop and folk, as long as it is Greek enough (no definition of "Greek enough" please, or we'll have fighting ).
  2. "What Dalaras does today, the rest of Greece will be doing tomorrow" I'm probably misquoting but it's Melina Mercouri who said it and seemingly Soc and Dalarikos agree. It seems to me the mark of a living musical tradition that it rub takes into itself all sorts of influences. When it can no longer do that, it is dead! Well, Greek music is alive and kicking hard. And if the Irish can adopt the bouzouki into their folk tradition, the Greek can be allowed some Spanish guitar... especially when the guitarist is...
  3. Christo, you've made my morning!! I only have 15 :-(( of Dalaras' records, 7 of them on nearly dead tapes, but HALF your selection is among them (1,2,3, 6,7,12). Funny thing is that your 1 & 2 are rather near the bottom of my list. On the other hand 'Ta tragoudia mou' and 'Live at Attikon' take turns in my walkman when I bicycle to my office (very, very fast :-) ) I've stuck "Metismena tragoudia" on the shopping list (for next time if I run out of money now). I'm itching to add "Trelli kai angeli" too. I'm going to have to rob a bank or something...
  4. OK everyone, the betting is now open: will Geeske like "Apona matia" more, less, or as well as "H asfaltos pou trechi" ? :-)) (Have to get hold of it first though. Major quest on the agenda!)
  5. Look here, everybody, we don't really believe, do we, that Dalaras sing Latin, Italian, etc., to expand *our* musical horizons? A musician of his stature cannot live on bread alone (meaning the laika) and needs some vitamins and chocolate and fruit to keep life interesting - though he may draw the line at hamburgers :-)). (I cast the laika as bread on purpose, being the stuff of life to his music). Now instead of more opinions, may I contribute some experiences? I have never liked latino music particularly, but the fact that Dalaras obviously enjoyed it (irrespective of the quality of his versions) made me pay closer attention to it. I think highly of his taste music, so if he enjoys it, this suggests to me I might enjoy it too. Btw, Andreas, please, what would you recommend for a beginner interested in Swedish folk music? I would prefer to start with something reasonnably authentic :-) and would appreciate some advice. Another experience: the Misa Criolla was already familiar to me in several versions; than a friend heard me play the Jose Carreras version and said "I've got a better one, listen!" and there was the one and only Dalaras. In my opinion the best voice for the job. Does it matter that he is Greek, if his voice suits the music so well? And the bonus for me was that, knowing the music already, I could listen entirely to the voice. Finally, another part of the answer to Soc's question, 'why did Dalaras not disappear like these others ' is, I think: because he is a better artist and a greater musician. No shame for anyone in being second to Dalaras :-)
  6. Andreas, sorry for talking too much. It's just that I get enthusiastic and carried away. Also I know it is worthwhile to try and get people to listen with an open mind to music they do not, a priori, think they like. I really know this for sure: if one person had not opened my ears, I would never have * heard* Dalaras!
  7. Oops - such a long post and still not enough... I just wanted to tally the language question: Dalaras has, then, beside Greek, sung in Spanish, Italian, Latin, Hebrew, English... and? Any more? Isn't there a verse in a Gypsy language in Duo-Duo? I also wanted to express agreement with Anna on two points: singing Theodorakis in English is hopeless, and I don't particularly want to hear Dalaras learn more German than "Guten Abend". Well, "Gute Nacht" perhaps. But after that, Schluss bitte! This sounds opionated so let me explain... I have a professional interest in languages (I make a living as a translator). I know from experience how beastly difficult it is to translate the words of a song so that they make the same sense, to the same melody, in another language. I have found that this is hardest when the tune belongs to a strong indigenous tradition, such as Irish folk or French chanson or American Blues or Rock. Then it becomes next to impossible. There is a reason for this: each language has its own sound and rythm, and the shapes of its words and sentences influence the musical idiom. A telling example: English is closely related to Dutch and German; translating a book is relatively easy. But giving a rock song Dutch or German lyrics is maddening, because in English you have all the useful one-syllable verbs like "have", "give", "love", which have at least two in the translation, messing up the rythm completely. Real Rock-and-roll with Dutch lyrics is extremely hard to achieve. French is even worse, even opera in French is squaring the circle, because in French, there is this strong accent on the end syllable of each word, and this interferes with the freedom of movement of the melody. So French chanson is a world of its own (very nice world too). Now Greek... I'm going to be really presumptuous here, I've started it from scratch three months ago, but anyway... I've already noticed four things that make Greek magnificent, delightful, enchanting and ideally suited for singing. 1. Word order is very free, because the case of the noun indicates function, so position is not so fixed. 2. The accent is to be found all over the words - well not quite I know, but compared to English... So that very complex musical rythms can be matched by the words. 3. The vocabulary is vast, I mean vaaaaaaaaaast. 4. The sound is so liquid and soft and fluid, and at the same time so characteristic, it's a caress to the ear. And it matches the same qualities in Dalaras' voice. So how on earth do you want to translate a Greek song into English, so that it can be sung? My answer is "don't". A translation should be no more than a crib, a short-cut for those who are not (yet) able to understand the Greek. And though I appreciate Dalaras singing English - it's a courteous thing to do, learning the Other's language, and he is a courteous man - still I think it not the right sound for his voice. Or German either, or, God forbid!! Dutch. Russian, on the other hand, has a liquidity of its own... that might be good... I'm not at all sure about Arabic!! I can imagine Dalaras finding the music irrestible, but the language is... well... unpronouceable, to put it mildly. Anyway, he will do as he pleases, and quite right too!!!
  8. Well, you've busy this weekend!! Instead of working this monday morning, I would like to contribute something too :-) First, Sarantis, you gave me great pleasure by telling about Dalaras being such a complete musician, knowing and caring about the history of music.And defending Greek music everywhere and always. I thought he must be, but did not *know*. In this context, a question: I think he has done some Byzantine-related things, I have one hymn somewhere which turns my heart inside out every time - what is the record to buy please? I have an old interest in Ancient music, hence the question. On the other hand, Sarantis, please don't call Micheal narrow-minded - I don't think he is. His taste is different from yours, and his background too. Let me quote a great author speaking of the fandom of his field, science-fiction: "Inside every fan, there is a critic struggling to get out, and inside every critic, there is a fan struggling to get out". Perhaps Michael's critic is struggling a bit harder :-) Another thing that occured to me is this - but please don't be mad at me if I got it wrong - no offense intended... I think Sarantis and Chris are both Greek, or at least their parents or grand-parents - while, Michael is really Austrian, just as I'm Dutch? We have sort of "adopted" Greek music, and it will always have the fascination of the Other, the alien, the foreign, the exotic. Even after knowing and loving it for years, there will be this "gap" in which anything can happen - best of all, Love. Now it often happens that people who have 'adopted' a culture feel more defensive about its authenticity than people who have been born in it. And often with good reason, because they see it more from outside and can trace evolution, change, decay... more clearly. If I'm not mistaken, we're all agreed that Greek music in general IS under fire from The International Market (what we used to call the Capitalist Conspiracy in the bad old days). Still, if there is one musician we can trust, it is Dalaras!!!! (Three loud cheers) About Dalaras' passionate approach to the Latin material, and the other experiments, I can think of two very good reasons. And they relate to Soc's query: "Why did not George Dalaras disapear like some others?" (Soc, you do have a way of asking the right questions!) One is what I said above about the fascination of the Other. After all, if a Dutch barbarian like me is allowed to sing "Kali tychi" at the top of her lungs while doing the washing up, why should the Greek singer not have the desire to sing those lovely latin songs? The Other, the new, the alien, has a fascination that is unlike anything else. The other reason is this: "Love endures as long as it runs. If it lacks impetus, if it stays still for a moment, it will fall off the saddle. I have learned to have you, lose you, find you and live with the risk of your love" (Track 7 of "... me duo papoutsia panina"). There are few musical idioms so rich as to satisfy a great musician's appetite for a lifetime. Bach, perhaps, or classical opera - but even there, the great performers need change now and then. To take an example that hurts me particularly: Springsteen. The New Jersey one, not the Greek one. His first album is from the same year as Dalaras' first. I can sing it to you by heart from the first line to the last and have been a Springsteen fan for half my life. But that man is finished: for one thing, he has used up his voice till there is none left. And his songs are sounding all the same. He has the tradition, but only that. And traditions are living beings, they need food to stay alive. I am ready to bet that of Dalaras' and Springsteen's latest albums with new work, Dalaras' will be better selling. That is the reward of experimenting - if you are a genius, which he is. By the way, if Dalaras decided he wanted to do some covers of Springsteen songs, I'd be first in line to hear them. He can do a #### good rock song when he has a mind to, and I love a good rock song. On the other hand, there are lots of people who can do good rock songs, and NO one can do the rembetika and the laica the way Dalaras can! So I hope the new composers Chris mentionned will stop being stupid and let Dalaras have their songs. And perhaps we (or at least you guys, who meet him for real) could let Dalaras know we very much want him to sing those. I do NOT think musicians should let the demands of fans control their repertoire, on the other hand, there is nothing wrong with showing we care about, and appreciate, certain types of music. By the way, have you ever thought of the enormous losses to 20th century music because of the pop music superstition that people ought to perform their own compositions? You get good bands playing stupid songs, and good songs badly played... and what do you expect? A good composer is not necessarily a good performer, or vice-versa! That is one point where mainstream pop really ought to take a lesson from Greece: there, at least, being a composer is still a proper job. I'm glad Kougioumtsis is still around, even though I can't possibly afford the new record.
  9. Chris, did we really seem overcritical? Sorry!! I think it is mostly that because we love Dalaras so much, we are afraid for him - afraid to see him "go wrong" somewhere. Musically. But that is of course sheer presumption, because he is too great a musician to do anything of the kind. Also, when you wrote "Let's just be thankful that we got a new CD and a double one to boot" I suddenly remembered the moment when I unpacked it, and I looked and counted them and thought "what?? 28 tracks?? he must be the most generous singer alive!!!" And indeed he strikes me as very generous sort of artist... a very generous sort of person too, perhaps, you guys would know about that? Michael, you have every right to defend the traditionnal approach to music, in fact, I'll man the barricades with you! I would be most unhappy if Dalaras gave that up. But I would be just as unhappy if he stopped startling me with songs like "H asphaltos pou trechei" and the Bregovic things. I like to be startled :-) And I will stand for Dalaras' right to sing anything he #### well wants to! Chris, you asked: "When have you EVER bought a CD and "instantly" loved every song on it?" Here's my answer: on 26 March this year, when I got myself "Ta tragoudia mou" for my birthday. By the way, I have found that my 'instant favourites' on a Dalaras CD are often not the favourites in the long run. Have you? Oh and Michael, don't be such a confirmed pessimist. When you write "People who are accustomed to and who are a part of the (western) "mainstream" (like Sting and the listeners to his type of music) will not be interested and willing to approach substantially the greek music", are you sure that's quite fair? I think Sting is one of the more honest musicians, and has a genuine interest in different musical cultures. Of course he will use them in his own way, but it is an adaption to his own voice and musicality, not to the commercial taste of his listeners - or so I hope!! And the same goes for Dalaras, only more so. These are artists that I trust. The tragedy is, indeed, as you wrote: "Nana Mouschouri or Vicky Leandros or Demis Roussos became international stars by singing always something completely untypical for Greek music and I think that there is not one person of their audience who started to listen to authentic Greek music as consequence of hearing these singers." It is, ALAS, much worse: these are the singers who have spoilt my friends' ears so that they are now deaf to Dalaras! And I will NOT play "Apona matia" to them (when I get it) ! But I will still stand up for Dalaras' right to sing whatever he wants to. About "Enas kompos...": I definetely do NOT prefer the Pyx Lax version, or the Frangoulis one either. I like the one on the 'live and unplugged" album, but my favourite is on "To Elliniko prosopo.."(live at the Sirius, 1988), which is the one CD I managed to grab ten years ago before losing sight of Dalaras. Michael might disapprove because there are no bouzoukis on it, and Sarantis because Dalaras does not play the guitar himself :-)) but I love it. And finally, about 'Apona matia' - I will definitely get it as soon as I can lay my hands on it. Meantime I know I have a Vamvakaris song somewhere, so I'll go and try to find it :-)
  10. The difference in language/culture is a two edged knife: it makes the song harder to understand, to 'get into', but it also makes it proportionaly more interesting. It's a sign of our times (our crazy, mixed-up times) that on the one hand, we get flooded with utterly fake mass-produced records made only to make money, while on the other hand the concept 'world music' is taking hold everywhere - so that the Fins and the Bulgarians and the Cubans and the Greek are all playing each others music. Sometimes the results can be pretty awful, as in any experiment, but that's a risk one has to take (Agapi sou to risko :-) ). Of course there are always people who only want to listen to what is safe and known. But for the others, the people with ears and a heart of their own, I think they will appreciate Dalaras as he is - especially with the help of wonderful sites like Nikolas', where they can get some help with background information, lyrics, even translations. Nikolas, I venture to disagree with you about the necessity of siging in English. I may be useful, but it is not necessary, I don't think so. I don't want to think so. By the way, I've heard Dalaras sing Spanish, Latin and Italian - and I've probably missed others... That is pretty cosmopolitan! Especially the Spanish. Andreas, Sweden has folk music of its own (and very good too), so perhaps they have less "room in their ears" for Greek? Here in Holland, Dalaras concerts attract amazing numbers of Dutch. Of course we have NO indigenous folk music worth the name, and a tradition of adopting anything foreign that pleases us, wether language, food, music or what not. So his wonderful voice would be falling on starved ears :-)) Just this morning, I've discovered the existence of a band composed of Dutch musicians, who play Greek music - aiming at 'authentic zeimbekiko' - haven't heard what they sound like yet, though ;-)
  11. You bunch of lucky bastards. Actually having met him... I haven't even dreamed of that!!! Anyway if I did I would probably drop dead before I having said a word. Yes I know, you're going to tell me he's awfully nice - but I'm awfully shy... By the way, why do you insist he is the greatest musician of Greece? I should think you might say "of Europe", at least since 1968 (meaning his first record).
  12. You bunch of lucky bastards. Actually having met him... I haven't even dreamed of that!!! Anyway if I did I would probably drop dead before I having said a word. Yes I know, you're going to tell me he's awfully nice - but I'm awfully shy... By the way, why do you insist he is the greatest musician of Greece? I should think you might say "of Europe", at least since 1968 (meaning his first record).
  13. Boohoohoo, I'm jealous!!!!!!!!!! The Montreal Symphony, for crying out loud, you don't get them any better!!!! OK guys, enjoy it for me too, will you?
  14. p.s. Michael, thank you very much for the recommendations about records. I'm going shopping one of these days, which one should I buy first? Anyone else wanting to advise me - please do!
  15. This is getting more and more interesting, guys - at least for me! You see, unlike you, I am unable to like or dislike any 'authenticity' in a Greek song, because I simply have not a clue as to what is authentic and what is not. A friend of mine introduced me to Dalaras' music about ten years ago, I loved it, then all too soon lost the friend - and Dalaras... and found him again by accident last december... But he is my sole 'gateway' to all of Greek music. This state of thing, obviously will not last (not with you around), but for the moment it has advandages: for one, all the Dalaras records I still have to hear for the first time - oh, joy! and for another, a total lack of preconception about 'ought' and 'ought not' in his songs (Greek or other) and then the luxury of being completely irrational about the whole thing :-) 'Trelos yia sena' I find extremely useful for startling my friends with. Nobody here can bear to listen to Dalaras - they say! so I trick them with this. I already liked it in Sting's versions (I'm a bit of a fan of his), and I certainly don't think Dalaras' is less good. "Akraia symptomata" and "I alli mou zoi" both took me a little while to get used to. But yes, they are beautiful. Very. Hasta Siempre, on the other hand, I positively disliked at first. Then Dalaras sang it at the concert in Den Haag and it was im-pos-si-ble not to join in the chorus. So now I like that song too. But it is true that the biggest 'make me go cold all over' experience of the concert came from older songs, like 'ta vengalika sou matia'. Anyway, Christo, I think you wrote a key phrase: "it will take some getting used to"... Indeed. Dalaras is such a great musician, he's always way ahead of everyone else. He WILL startle us. When I bought "...Me Dio Papoutsia Panina", I was startled out of my wits! (Iit is one of my favourite records. I don't mean 'Dalaras best', just that I've got to refrain from playing it more than once a day). There is much to be said for Sarantis' attitude: take it on trust, "Georgo will not steer us wrong", as he says. Or if he does, he'll find out and do something else next time. A question for the experts: Christo wrote " I loved the older Greek songs by Dalaras and I don't think will find them again since the new composers are refraining from that style" - could that be a good thing? A wise choice? After all, they have to be themselves, don't they? They can't *be* the great ones who died, only their descendants. For me, listening to 'H asphaltos pou trechei' with my background of "mainstream music", it sounds like a highly original and extremely personal synthesis of a Greek identity with 21st century music. But then, as I said, I have the luxury of being irrational about this :-)
  16. There is an address in Amsterdam which you might try. I have absolilalutely no idea how the prices will compare, but I can guarantee that the staff are awfully nice and more than helpful. It is in fact almost a one-woman operation, she does if for love more than for money and she seems to know everything. Service very professional though. The place is called Het Griekse Eiland (meaning 'the Greek Island). It is not an internet shop, but if you email them, they'll tell you soon enough if they have what you want, and what it costs. They have asite at: but it is not all that interesting, so you might as well send them an email directly. The address is and they can handle Greek and English as well as Dutch, and most likely German as well. And no, I have no connexion with them except that I spend my savings there once or twice a year :-)
  17. Yeah, this site is really something. I think Nikolas must be a bit of a magician. Dalarikos, nice to meet you - look, I'm not sure I qualify as a real fanatic - the love is there but the knowledge is not! Still, decifering song lyrics and forum posts is a surprisingly good way of learning Greek. I'll improve, see if I don't.
  18. Yeah, this site is really something. I think Nikolas must be a bit of a magician. Dalarikos, nice to meet you - look, I'm not sure I qualify as a real fanatic - the love is there but the knowledge is not! Still, decifering song lyrics and forum posts is a surprisingly good way of learning Greek. I'll improve, see if I don't.