CULTURE

Nana Mouskouri returns to Athens for special fund-raising concert

“Sometimes in life we ignore the magnitude of certain problems. Matters we simply disregard or have only a faint idea of what they actually involve. I just had an idea…» said Nana Mouskouri at a recent press conference. The occasion? A charity concert at the Herod Atticus Theater on Monday, September 29. The performance’s proceeds will benefit the Greek Program against the Stigma of Mental Illness and the Panhellenic Family Association for Mental Health. Besides fund raising, the concert aims to raise public awareness and improve society’s understanding of those suffering from mental illnesses – and above all to reduce social prejudices. «This is not just another concert,» said the celebrated vocalist, adding that for this special performance she has invited Canadian music sensation John McDermott to perform as well. A leading solo artist of Celtic and Irish tunes, McDermott was one of 12 children in a traditional Irish family which emigrated to Canada in the 1960s. He became a music industry legend in the early 1990s after recording a surprise tribute for his parents 50th wedding anniversary. The album, «Danny Boy» caught the attention of an EMI executive who quickly took McDermott on board. Also speaking at the press conference, Professor Marina Lalioti-Economou, of Athens University’s School of Psychiatry and scientific director of the Greek Program Against the Stigma of Mental Illness, announced that the Second International Conference «Together Against Stigma» opens in a few days in Kingston, Canada, featuring official scientific representation from the Greek Program. This is not the first time that the internationally acclaimed Mouskouri has used her vocal gifts to contribute to humanitarian causes. In this case, however, the singer is also participating as a sponsor through the «Focus on Hope Nana Mouskouri Foundation,» an organization supporting young artists through scholarships and awards. At the Herod Atticus Theater, Mouskouri will draw from a rich repertoire to interpret some of the popular tunes which brought her local and global recognition – including jazz songs. «The more satisfied the audience is the better we’ll get the message across,» said Mouskouri. The campaign’s motto is «Schizophrenia: Let’s Open the Doors,» marking the opening of one society toward the other.