World rituals, music on stage across Greece

“Sacred Music,» a marathon of concerts and rituals which will take place in various cities all over Greece between July 4 and 13, will have its focus dances of war and peace, ecstasy and mysticism. Personalities like Paco Pena, Barbara Hendricks, the Shaolin Monks and the Damascus Dervishes will participate in this latest production of the Cultural Olympiad. «This is not a festival of religious music; our approach is purely cultural. ‘Sacred Music’ is very close to the Cultural Olympiad’s basic principle, the search for a civilization of all civilizations,» said Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos at a recent press conference. «The Cultural Olympiad’s principle is our answer to all the conflicts and theories that have arisen nowadays and to the worst version of globalization: the fear of a one-dimensional approach to culture and society,» he added. About 1,000 people are involved in this production, whose cost comes to 3 million euros, according to Evgenios Yiannakopoulos, president of the Cultural Olympiad. The events will initially take place in 40 selected areas throughout Greece (July 4 to 7). Performances will then be given in Kalamata («Sacred Dances,» July 6 to 9), Thessaloniki (as «Sacred Voices,» July 6 to 9) and at the Herod Atticus Theater in Athens (as «Sacred Music,» July 8 to 11). Grand ritual The last show, «Rituals of the World,» will take place at the ancient stadium of Olympia on July 13 – a grand finale of a performance in which all the groups will take part in an effort to convey a message of the brotherhood of nations, cultures and religions. Forty groups will participate: 30 from abroad and 10 from Greece. Acts include Barbara Hendricks, Spanish guitarist Paco Pena with his «Misa Flamenca,» the Shaolin Buddhist Monks, and well-known vocal ensembles like the Mysteries of Bulgarian Voices, the Russian Blagovest Choir, the Rustavi Choir from Georgia and others. Greek participants include the Masters of Hymn-singing, Savina Yiannatou, Zouzou Nikoloudi’s dance group Chorika and the Zakynthos Singers, among others. The research and artistic direction for the shows were carried out by Lambros Liavas in collaboration with the New York-based World Music Institute.

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