Friday, November 20, 2009

Haris Alexiou: Di Efchon

Haris Alexiou is one of Greece’s greatest contemporary singers. She’s been at it since the 70s. She was instrumental in reviving ‘Rebetika’ songs after the fall of the military junta in the mid-70s. Over the course of her career, she collaborated with many of Greece’s greatest composers, as well as others, including Paolo Conte.

Di Efchon (With Blessings) comes from 1992, and presents a new thrust in terms of more contemporary themes, and song forms. Alexiou’s voice is so strong, vibrant, and the melodies are passionately catchy. She brings deep warmth to the lyrics of Lina Nikolakopoulou, while her soaring high notes are never less than stunningly awesome. There’s little need to question why in Greece she earned the nickname “Haroula” (Little Grace). Here the songs blend Grecian folk (Dhimotica) with a contemporary approach (Smyrneika) reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s work from the late 80s early 90s.

My sister married a Greek guy when I was four years old. My brother-in-law had a sister who, I thought, a real beauty, with raven black hair, and when she spoke – English or Greek – her voice had this earthy sensuousness that has ever since made Greek sound like sex to me! I think it’s the sibilant sounds that permeate the language, along with the slight slur on many of their consonants that sound a bit ‘drunken.’

There’s a lot of cheesy popular Greek music, but Haris Alexiou is one of those who is popular, and relevant. Whether one is interested in Greek pop, or merely curious about a woman who is an icon to her culture, Haris Alexiou is a singer who will move you with her powerful voice.

No comments:

Post a Comment