Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Alkinoos Ioannidis - A small suitcase (Μικρή Βαλίτσα)

I always liked this kid, and I am glad I was proven right after I saw him performing this last weekend, on a live show at the Yallino Music Theatre in Athens, Greece. Despite a bad cold he'd been struggling with, poor thing, he managed to perform a superb show that lasted longer that anyone could have ever expected. I personally consider this singer-songwriter one of the best ever born under the sun, certainly among the known and celebrity Greeks, alive or dead. His talent is limitless in terms of song composition, lyrics, his virtuosity in playing various musical instruments and the quality of his own vocal chords (technically and in terms of sound color and passion). Above all, his quality in terms of musical track record can only compare to Manos Hadjidakis. I am sure, if Manos lived today, he would certainly envy Alkinoos for his musical writing-singing skills, but he would have also wanted him to sing his songs instead of producing his own. I have owned for years most of Alkinoos albums, and went on to buy his latest only this last Sunday (cover shown here) without the shadow of a doubt! His skill in combining local folk sounds by traditional Greek instruments (bouzouki, Cretan lyra, laouto) with the classic sounds of orchestral string instruments (violin, viola, cello and contrabass) is beyond your wildest dreams. Actually this combination takes place in two dimensions. First, in terms of harmony among the two types of instruments offering to the listener the finest taste of Greek sound dressed in the best quality possible acoustic colour, and second, in terms of combining traditional dance melodies with classic jazz scherzos and state-of-the-art electronic patterns. I witnessed the cello and violin being played in staccato like it were a guitar or a bouzouki in ways I have rarely seen before, with his band musicians's virtuoso fingers (cello, violin and contrabass) only tapping the strings on their instruments's fingerboards. The pleasure was simply unheard of. I have rarely felt so much energy as Ioannidis had found ways to lead his entire orchestra into a powerful trance that drove the audience into extreme and spontaneous applause. Entirely different than the trances people enjoy in vulgar mega dancings with vulgar DJs with electronics and massive speakers that on their own could fill an entire theater like the one I attended to. The singer-songwriter also writes his own versions of Rap music, probably in order to address younger audiences, and for sure comparing theirs to these songs the big Rappers of the world would simply flush. A great musical personality he is indeed. Unfortunately, dickheads in Greece prefer many other ridiculous performers instead. Appears as if contemporary Greece is no more appreciative of quality music. Should we blame the current financial crisis for this too?

Talking about Greece, the only negatives in Alkinoos performance were the following few (and had nothing to do with the artist; his only personal issue were related to his germs, but as I already suggested, no-one witnessed any negatives on his performance because of that):

a. Theater/venue management: HUMONGOUS FAIL!!! Allowed far too many people into a dangerously packed area with so many standing up during the whole 4 hours performance. In an unfortunate case of say, a fire accident, at least several hundred panicking people would have been stampeded, to say the least. I felt quite uncomfortable with being in the middle of that assembly.
b. Allowing smokers to smoke. Especially female smokers chain-changing cigarettes during the entire show. To the theater management's credit, there was airco provided , but in Greece, with audiences chain-smoking like Turks (Greek expression) no reasonable airco could do the job.
c. Behaviour of the audience. Bad mannered, awfully raised, smoking jungle chimps, without respect to anyone among the rest of us, who came to enjoy the artist and his orchestra, shouting most of the time, giggling, laughing loud, talking loud to their companions like they were in a bar, showing off, turning their backs to the orchestra and trying to spot a partner of the opposite or same sex to get laid as part of their Saturday night out. Mostly women it were those misfits, with blond badly dyed hair (someone must have told them that Greek men like sexing in blond), heels adding 20 cm to their ugly legs, horny faces drooling with cheap make-up. Some looking like 5-euro whores, out-of-tune scream-singing the lyrics a second earlier before the artist sang them himself, just to show off they knew the score! Such a chaos is only possible in Greek theaters. To think that 'theater' itself was invented here 3 thousand years ago makes your heart bleed. Sheer animals in a jungle. I felt sorry for the artist and all other artists in general performing in Greece, having to cope with this type of rude monkeys to earn a living. A shame really. Showing disrespect to both artists and to those few like myself, non-smokers, who came here to enjoy the sounds of a rare musical talent, staying speechless, and almost mouthless, breathing from the nose alone, hoping for the possibility in so doing to filter out the nicotine from the tobacco polluted ambient air.

UPDATE: I found this on Youtube from the show I attended and wanted to share it with you. As far as "I rest my case" on my arguments about the disrespectful Greek audience, it is obvious from this clip. Judge for yourselves.

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