CULTURE

A tune for the child victims of war

He doesn’t record albums in search of striking hit material. Over the past 15 years or so, Costas Makedonas has persisted in what we know as laiko (popular Greek), giving the impression of an individual who remains fully aware of artistic direction and choices. Makedonas, at the height of his maturity as a vocalist – as the man himself admits – is preparing for a series of live performances with a new album in the bag, «Epese Erotas,» whose music and lyrics were written by Stamatis Kraounakis. These upcoming performances, whose dates are yet to be finalized, will be preceded by one show at the Herod Atticus Theater tomorrow night, a fund-raiser in support of child war victims. «What I’m going to say goes against my own interests, but, when long-play albums first became available, they were made to present the entirety of an artist’s concept, where one or two vocalists would take part. The objective behind the creation of an album should be its overall unity,» Makedonas told Kathimerini in an interview. «I’ve been telling my record label that we, perhaps, should return to the logic of the old 7-inch singles. Young songwriters are bringing in lovely songs, which, unfortunately, go astray because other songs are then also sought to make up the track numbers needed to put out an album. I have, in my hands, material penned by good young songwriters and lyricists which has remained unreleased,» he added. For the making of «Epese Erotas,» Makedonas and Kraounakis reunited after a long period of artistic segregation. The two last worked together in 1991 for «Mono Mia Fora,» an album which had needed plenty of time for completion. «We worked for nearly two-and-a-half years. I’m very content [with the latest release] because the final result is exactly what we had in mind. In terms of lyrics, I believe that this project is Stamatis’s best moment ever, and as a vocalist, I believe that I’m now very experienced,» remarked Makedonas. «Many years ago, I used to say that I want work, whereas, over the past year or two, I’ve begun enjoying listening to my recordings. Regardless of its commercial performance, whether it sells or not – which is not relevant – I believe that I’ve gained a valuable possession,» the singer added. Makedonas said that the quest by contemporary songwriters to forge new ways in Greek song has led the form to an overall uneasiness. «Once again, we’re going through a phase where we’re trying to introduce foreign elements, something which has, naturally, occurred throughout the history of Greek music,» contended Makedonas. «But the difference is that talented artists with imported influences can inject these aspects in Greek music without depriving it of its identity. Otherwise, you get monstrosities. Let’s hope that the few remaining gifted songwriters do whatever they can. On the other hand, we singers must support their efforts, as should the record companies,» he added. Most of the country’s performing acts have already decided who they will be teaming up with for joint club performances this coming winter. Makedonas remains undecided. «I’m still discussing the issue. My priorities are to do whatever expresses me best and to collaborate with people whom I respect for their work and personalities,» said Makedonas. «I still haven’t decided, but the only thing I can say for certain is that I want to take a risk.»