CULTURE

Long stretch ahead for Malamas

The news is good for compelling singer-songwriter Socrates Malamas’s growing legion of fans in the capital. The artist, who has kept his live appearances to a minimum since emerging in the early 1990s and skipped playing in Athens last winter season, has embarked on his longest residency to date at the Aeriko Club in the Psyrri district. He has been booked for a total of 28 shows until December 16, divided into Thursday to Sunday runs. The series of shows commenced last Thursday. On stage, where Malamas tends to deliver his work best, the Thessaloniki-based artist has gradually evolved from an almost-timid to a commanding performer. He is endowed with a rare ability to establish rapport with fans through honesty, adroitness, attachment to his music, and readiness to indulge in a joke, make a comment, relate a tale, or take a drink between tunes. Another contributing factor is his unselfish willingness to go overtime into impromptu extended sets should the evening’s overall chemistry work right. Malamas took his talent to foreign audiences for the first time two years ago for one show at a jazz club in Berlin. Its success prompted the artist’s return to Germany last winter for a series of shows in various cities. To date, Malamas has released seven albums and developed a unique songwriting style that blends subtle elements of Western musical scales into a more dominant Eastern framework. His repertoire’s mood swings from rock-tinged melancholic ballads to more exuberant outbursts in the form of zebekiko tunes, topped by a technically imperfect yet earnest voice that expresses eloquent lyrics, most of them penned by Malamas, on topics such as nostalgia, anger and bitter truth. Several late nights may be in store at the Aeriko Club over the next few weeks. But as far as his fans are concerned, Malamas, who chose a lonely and unpretentious path toward establishing himself as one of the country’s vital songwriting forces, can have as much time as he likes. But the jail sentence, which lasted a year, was not a sheer waste of time for Carotone. While serving, he kept writing new material and also learnt how to play guitar. Carotone’s draft-dodging lifestyle led him to various parts of Europe before he settled in Barcelona in 1998. The move came to establish Carotone’s ties with Chao, who operates his own studio in the Spanish city.