My Love For Greek Music – New & Old

I adore Greek music of all kinds.  I love the old sounds of the wooden strings and pipes.  New Greek tunes are dear to my heart because the Greek pop singer, Despina Vandi, is my favorite vocalist ever.

There’s something about ancient Greek music that is so real, it’s almost eerie to me.  It’s kind of like I was there in Greece long ago, in another life time.  There really aren’t that many pieces that are available in written form on record which is such a loss for mankind.

The ancient music was mostly done as an accompaniment to poetry which was huge in those days.  The lyre, a harp-like instrument, was often used.  While there is nothing fancy at all about ancient Greek music, it just takes me to a place I really like.  I picture myself there in the days of old with the legends of the Greek Gods.

Then there’s the Greek music that’s just old but not ancient, like the opera music. I’m not a huge fan of opera but I do like Nikolaos Mantzaros’ opera pieces and Mikis Theodorakis who is my favorite because of the behind the scene story.  Mikis music was popular in the 60’s and 70’s but was actually banned because of his rebellion and opposition to military rule.  1967-1974 was when the Juanta ruled so you can just imagine the emotions behind his music.

Greek music today cannot be beat.  It’s so lively and heartfelt, it makes me want to dance the minute I tune in…and I am not a dancer.  But then again, neither am I Greek.  “Zorba the Greek” is a classic that even those who could care less about Greek music generally know and like.  The song is in the movie of the same name which is a wonderful film.  If you haven’t seen it…you should!  Although the song has no words, you cannot help but get carried away with the instrumentals.

As I mentioned before, Despina Vandi is at the top of my list.  Her voice is angelic to me and has such a presence about it that just captivates me.

I also like Helena Paparizou who won Eurovision a few years back. She sang “My Number One” which is a great song but personally, I like “Survivor” better which is a more current hit.

Laïkó music is intriguing to me.  It’s what is played in many of the Greek night clubs.  The Laïkó sounds of today are a bit like the folksongs of the 30’s but much more developed.  If I know anything about Greek musicians it’s that they are hell-bent on improving and perfecting at all times.

If you go to a nightclub in Greece, you will surely hear Laïkó music.  It gravitates even those of us who don’t usually dance to the dance floor.  It just makes you want to move.

It was Despina Vandi who attracted me to Greek music initially.  I began to take an interest in hopes of finding more singers who sounded similar to her.  What I found, however, was that there are many great Greek musicians but they all have their unique sounds.  No two sound the same to me.  The more I listened, the more I liked it and have found a place in my heart for all Greek music, old and new.

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My Custom Despina T-Shirt

If I wear a special top with Despina Vandi’s image on the front, will I start to look like her by osmosis? I would love it. In any case, I plan to make one to wear to an upcoming concert. I am not content to get a run-of-the-mill version online or a pirated design. I want to be different although clearly a fan. They sell them, of course, at all the venues where she appears; but I will fashion my own tee myself with my trusty sewing machine and some great fabric.

For the concert, I envision a cropped long-sleeve item so the proportions are well conceived. If you make the front and sleeves equally short, it is dull—just a blocky style. The neck should be round and on the low side, leaving plenty of room for Despina’s beautiful countenance. The top should slip gently off the shoulder. A stretch fabric, not too tight, will do nicely with slim jeans and ankle boots. It should have a bit of shine to it. My machine fortunately is up to the job. I got a new model and it handles knits like a breeze. The stitches don’t pucker and the seams like flat as a pancake. This expert sewer makes any novice look like a pro!

There are attachments for embroidering and other types of surface decoration. I prefer to hand sew some sequins here and there for a bit of sparkle. Maybe the sewing machine has this particular talent, but I want a random design and nothing too industrial looking. It should be like glittering stars around Despina’s face. (She is the star in my book and nothing is too glamorous for her.)

I learned to sew when I was quite young making simple skirts and summer frocks. I graduated to coats and jackets, blouses and shirts. Making a tee for a concert will be a no-brainer. Once I decide on the color scheme of the ornamentation, I am ready to start. It will be a true labor of love. I would like to make one for her if I could get close enough to give a gift that represents my loyalty and friendship—albeit from afar.

Despina is one of my favorite performers. Her songs are like poetry, her voice silken and strong. I can envision other items that use aspects of her life and taste such as a hat or scarf. The tee will do for now as the concert is impending. I want to be ready and am dieting to lose a few pounds for the tight leggings. You must go in style when it comes to contemporary music. You need to feel that you fit in and look the part. Only then can you honor someone as great as this singer.

She was born in Germany of Greek origins and has numerous followers around the world. I am proud to put my name out there as part of her entourage. With the tee in tow, I will seek her out at the concert—her ever-present fan.

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Concert Consternation

She is the epitome of the Greek version of The Voice, and she actually has been a participant/judge on that country’s show. She is Despina Vandi, the divine, and I follow her everywhere physically and in my heart and mind. She gives concerts around Europe and the venues vary from large stadia to smaller, more intimate nightclub spaces. She is wonderful in any locale, on any stage, in any city. Sometimes I don’t notice, but sometimes I do—the bathrooms are abominable, the toilets beyond positive compare. You crave US arenas when you encounter them.

At one concert in glorious Paris, I was dressed in very tight leggings and an over blouse embroidered with silk flowers. I had on lace-up booties and considerable silver jewelry of momentous size. I looked great. She would have been proud to see yet another fine fan in appropriate attire. I had been drinking a lot of soda for some reason, just because it was there, and soon needed to visit the little girl’s room.

Agh. It was awful. It reeked and had not been cleaned in centuries. The fixtures had been there for at least that long. Was this the famous concert hall of my dreams? There was somewhat of a crude stall with a door that banged open freely—alas, no lock. This was definitely one bathroom in need of some fancy new toilets. I pushed it forcefully and entered warily. Then I leaned against the door to keep it shut will trying to lower my stretch jeans. They wouldn’t budge. I only had one free hand as I was holding my suede bag in the other. No way could that tote touch the floor for even a second!

I worked and worked and the pants slid about an inch a minute, taking forever. At one juncture, they had reached a point of no return. My blouse was in the way, so I grabbed the sleeves, disengaged my arms, and tugged it over my head. My silver bracelet—chunky as it was—caught the threads in the decoration. Rip. The sound was threatening. I quickly brought the blouse back down to its original position and was afraid to look at the damage. At least nothing was showing—just a little loose thread.

Back to the pants. I let go of the handbag, and using both hands, was able to extricate myself from the clingy tight fabric. I was a sight to behold, and I imagine that was what others waiting in line were doing. Someone did help by rescuing my suede treasure however much to my delight.

After this ordeal, breathing hard, I returned to my seat having missed at least one song. I was disheartened but relieved. I did not go back. In spite of my great love for Despina Vandi, I am going to think twice about certain venues and especially drinking anything liquid before or during a show. I am going to be prepared and cautious about what I wear and bring along. No matter. It’s the music that counts after all.

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The Super Bowl Isn’t My TV Event of the Year – It’s Eurovision!

A lot of people look forward to the Super Bowl every years.  And there are those who live to watch the Olympics when they roll around.  For me, my TV event of the year is Eurovision.  I can’t get enough of it and obviously, I’m in good company.  Eurovision has been broadcasting since 1956.

What is Eurovision?  Eurovision, also known as Eurosong, is a song competition that is held between countries around the world.  One singer represent their country by performing a song which not only determines if their country will win the event but also has been known to launch great careers.  Céline Dion was one such case.  She competed and won for Switzerland in 1988 and a star was born.

The way the competition works is that every country gets to vote but, of course, for a county other than itself.  Tons of people attend the event numbering anywhere from 100 million to 600 million and those are “in person” viewers.  It is also broadcast on television in most major countries and on the internet too.

I think the Super Bowl attendance has rounded out at a tops of about 103,219.  It may be the most watched televised annual event in America, but certainly not worldwide.  The Olympics are hugely popular too with somewhere around 7.5 million actually watching in person.  Imagine the magnitude of Eurovision with 100-600 million.  That put things in perspective, for sure.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the Super Bowl, the Olympics or any other major event that people flock to see or religiously tune in to watch.  I just happen to prefer Eurovision and wish everyone who has never experienced it would do so at least once, just to see what it’s all about.

Every year I am blown away with the talent that is unveiled at Eurovision.  It’s amazing to watch.  Even though many songs are in foreign languages that I don’t understand, there’s a common bond to music that connects us.

Being an avid Despina Vandi fan, I have always hoped that she would represent Greece In the competition.  She has been made the offer, repetitively but has never accepted and most likely never will.  She did, however, host in the final choosing of who would in 2013.  Then, in 2014, she and the famous actor, Giorgos Kapoutzidis, emceed Eurosong 2014.  Looks like that’s as close as I will get to my ideal Eurovision but I’ll take what I can get.

My all-time favorite was Eurovision 2014 partly because of Despina Vandi but also because I loved Conchita West’s unabated performance and what he says about it,  “Be the best version of yourself rather than a bad copy of someone else!”  He sang “Rise Like a Phoenix” like a true drag queen.

I’m really looking forward to Eurovision 2015.  The finale is set to be on May 23.  It will mark the 60th anniversary of the contest and is sure to be a spectacular event.  What’s best is that it will be held in the romantic, historical setting of Vienna, Austria.  It just doesn’t get any better…that is unless Despina decides to compete.

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