Exciting combinations of artists to defuse crisis

The art scene – especially music – is going through a crisis. It is obvious that people are not spending as much as they used to, and some of this may be blamed, as in other sectors, on the costs of the country’s adopting the euro. But there is hope that performances by a number of previously successful recording artists and interesting combinations could stimulate interest in the next few weeks. The crisis, which has been exacerbated by an excessive number of performances on offer, has hit the more «sophisticated» popular music (entechni) circuit hardest. This type of music is presented in more down-to-earth venues that lack revenue-boosting extras such as the flowers and hot food offered by the bigger establishments that host the more commercial Greek pop and laika acts. Also, some of the latter have reduced their entrance ticket prices to as little as 20 euros, increasing competition further. The current winter season might turn out to be more promising: Veteran singer Dimitra Galani and her younger stage partner Michalis Hadziyiannis are set to bring their show to Athens, at the Zygos Club, following dates in Thessaloniki. As of February 10, Greek rock-tinged act Manolis Famellos, accompanied by Rovena Alevra and Stathis Drogousis, will begin a cycle of Monday and Tuesday performances at the Stavros tou Notou venue. From February 14, the seasoned mild rock artist Nikos Portokaloglou will begin shows at the Medusa Club. Portokaloglou, who emerged over a decade ago as the frontman of popular rock group Fatme before pursuing a solo career, will be accompanied by an ex-bandmate Odysseas Tsakalos during these shows, as well as two upcoming acts, Cretan-lyra player / vocalist Manos Pirovolakis and Adriana Babali. Their show, titled «The Party,» is divided into two parts, one dedicated to the 10-year life of the band Fatme (1982-1992) and the other to Portokaloglou’s solo work. A season highlight, Thanassis Papaconstantinou, who has quietly gone about writing some of the contemporary scene’s most interesting material on several albums from his home base of Larissa, will perform a series of six shows at the capital’s Glass Music Theater on February 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16. Papaconstantinou rarely ventures onto stages, which makes his upcoming visit particularly worthwhile. From February 21, Evanthia Reboutsika and Panayiotis Kalantzopoulos along with the singers Andreas Karakotas, Iota Nega and Angelos Papadimitriou will be appearing on Fridays and weekends at the House of Art. Dynameis tou Aigaiou will perform at Grammes, joined by various guests, including Melina Kana, Nikos Xydakis and Sofia Papazoglou. Socrates Malamas, one of the country’s most potent songsmiths of the past decade, will return to one of his favorite haunts in Athens, the Metro club in Gyzi, for a series of shows beginning February 27. Top-selling singer Yiannis Kotsiras will begin shows at Sfendona in March, showcasing Greek songs from various eras. World-music oriented Savina Yiannatou, a growing force abroad with countless performances on the world music circuit over the past three years, will perform dates at Zoom in the capital’s Plaka district. The repertoire will include plenty of material by the late composer Manos Hadjidakis. On her latest album, Yiannatou interprets Hadjidakis songs. Despite the wide range of music on offer, it is worth noting that the crisis has made many artists wonder whether they should perform at all this season – with some considering few shows, or one only.

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