CULTURE

Giorgos Dalaras pays tribute to the music of Asia Minor

“Music withstands time when it has been composed in pain and despair. The real face of Greek music takes its revenge on the fake image that Greek singing has acquired today,» said Giorgos Dalaras at a recent press conference ahead of his forthcoming concert at the Herod Atticus Theater on Saturday. The concert, part of the Athens Festival, is a tribute to Asia Minor and other participants include Glykeria, young Areti Ketime, the Estudiantina Orchestra of Nea Ionia in Magnesia and the Volos Musical High School’s Children’s Choir. The event is sponsored by Patriarch Vartholomaios and UNESCO, while all proceeds will be donated toward restoration work on the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. «This is not just a concert. Some of these songs have touched my soul and have shaped my musical career and I feel as if I’m interpreting them for the first time. Although today’s official music scene is taking a different direction, an unofficial scene also exists, with young artists playing instruments like the laouto, the santouri and the kanonaki. Traditional songs have the ability to keep historical events alive, even though some might consider these events boring and miserable. I wouldn’t call them miserable, their complaints are full of human feeling and courage. Musicians like those from Smyrna and Constantinople do not exist any more,» added Dalaras. «I am very fond of this kind of music. I started my career with these songs and became famous because of them,» said singer Glykeria. The evening’s program includes music and songs that were originally heard in Constantinople and then in Smyrna during the last period of the flourishing of Greek culture in Asia Minor. The first part consists of Apostolos Kaldaras’s «Asia Minor» (with lyrics from Pythagoras), one of the most sensitive and genuine works expressing the lost dreams, bitterness, despair and homesickness of those who experienced the 1922 expulsion. The second part consists of «Vyzantinos Esperinos,» with lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulos, a blend of Byzantine and folk sounds. The Estudiantina Orchestra is conducted by Andreas Katsiyiannis. The orchestration is by Costas Ganoselis with direction by Panos Papadopoulos. Athens Festival Box Office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.322.1459.