CULTURE

Greek duo tops world music chart

Local fringe artist Kristi Stasinopoulou and her songwriting partner Stathis Kalyviotis, who has written the material for the vocalist-lyricist’s last three of four albums, are certainly heading in a likable direction – at least as far as European critics hear it. Despite minimal mainstream media attention at home, the duo’s latest album, «The Secrets of the Rocks,» a tasteful collection of ethereal pop songs flavored with mild sprinklings of electronica, psychedelia, and Greek folk, is at top spot on the influential World Music Charts Europe for January. The chart does not indicate album sales, but is compiled on the basis of monthly votes cast by respected «world music» radio producers in Europe. The WMCE’s content is published and aired by syndicated press and radio, and displayed in music stores. «The Secrets of the Rocks,» a mild protest album about an overdeveloping world, expressed through dream-like lyrics about waves, islands, whirlpools and summertime serenity on Greece’s more offbeat islands, had entered the WMCE charts at number nine the previous month. Impressively, «The Secrets of the Rocks» heads a chart that includes releases by internationally renowned acts such as Senegalese pop star Youssou N’Dour, whose latest project, «Nothing’s In Vain,» is currently at number six. Stasinopoulou’s previous album, «Echotropia,» which was released in 2000, and signified a growing interest in fusing traditional Greek music with more modern sounds, had also impressed European critics, peaking at number six on the WMCE chart. «The Secrets of the Rocks» is the first Greek album to top the WMCE chart since it was founded in 1991. Other local acts that have charted well, all in recent years, include rebetika preservationist Maryo, Savina Yiannatou, and the innovative Greek folk-jazz group Mode Plagal.