Multi-national fete of Manos Hadjidakis

More often than not, there seemed to be a global perspective in the work of the late Manos Hadjidakis throughout his career, an open-minded one very much in tune with developments – musical and not – beyond the national frontiers. As a composer, Hadjidakis tended to infuse imported elements, often subtly, into his popular Greek songs, while, on the contrary, his more elaborate symphonic compositions tended to carry wayward Greek motifs. All together, the work proved instrumental in taking Greek music to the world, beginning in the early 1960s. Considering the man’s unconfined ways, «The World and Manos Hadjidakis,» an ambitious production featuring a multinational cast of esteemed artists for performances in Athens tomorrow and Thursday, promises to be an appropriate tribute to Hadjidakis, who passed away a decade ago, on June 15, 1994. The tribute, part of the four-year Cultural Olympiad series of events leading to the Athens Olympics, includes vocal performances by Teresa Salguiero, vocalist of the world-renowned Portuguese act Madredeus – which gained significant international exposure after appearing in the Wim Wender’s film «Lisbon Story» in 1994 -, Italian Lucillia Galiazzi and Belgian Eva De Roovere. The appointment of Belgian producer Jo Van Driessche, who possesses a deep understanding of music from Greece and other parts of the world, was of vital importance in the project’s attempt for a fresh approach on Hadjidakis’s material. The Belgian orchestra Olla Vogala will render the Hadjidakis songs, arranged by Wouter Vandenabeele, with guest appearances from Nfaly Kouyate of Afro Celt Sound System, the Chinese winds player Guo Yue, Joji Hirota, a leading Japanese percussionist, Chinese violinist Dong Jimming, and leading didgeridoo player Matthew Doyle. Hadjidakis’s son, Giorgos Hadjidakis, initiated the idea and recruited Greek composer Nikos Kypourgos, whose career was fostered early on by Hadjidakis, as supervisor. The project’s overall objective is to encourage new approaches to the works of the composer, one largely responsible for Greek music’s journey to other parts of the world. The production is composed of 30 themes and songs, some true to their original lyrics, and others either freely translated or reworked with new lyrics in a variety of languages that include Portuguese, English, Norwegian, Hungarian and Flemish. Tomorrow and Thursday, Vrachon Theater, Vyronas, Athens. Tickets on sale at Metropolis music stores, Vyronas Festival Box Office (Mitropoleos & Kapnikareas), Vyronas Municipality (32-26 Karaoli & Dimitriou), Vyronas Cultural Center (Kyprou & Evangelikis Scholis, tel 210.766.2066, 210.765.5748) and Vrachon Theater (tel 210.762.6438, 210.762.6738).