New takes on Hadjidakis, Theodorakis

The success of any musical collaboration depends heavily on the chemistry between the participating members. A new album featuring celebrated vocalist Maria Farandouri and internationally acclaimed pianist Yiannis Vakarelis (released by Legend records) is the reflection of a perfect match. On the album, classic songs composed by Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis are given a new twist. «The voice and the piano resemble a naked young woman sunbathing on a beach. You can see right away if she’s beautiful,» said Mikis Theodorakis at the CD’s presentation last week. Farandouri and Vakarelis have known each other for years. Right from the start there was mutual deep respect and admiration, «a common pulse and expression,» as they both stressed to the journalists. Following a number of joint appearances at concerts and after working on various song cycles together, such as Theodorakis’s «Veatriky,» they decided to move on to single songs. «This music was familiar on the one hand and unfamiliar on the other,» noted Vakarelis. «These were Mikis’s and Manos’s songs which had made me cry, laugh, fall in love. Yet I had never been involved with the notes and the scores before.» Works including Hadjidakis’s «To Kamari tis Avgis» and «Kemal» and Theodorakis’s «Omorfi Poli» and «Tou Mikrou Voria» are completely transformed through Vakarelis’s piano colorings, accompanied by Farandouri’s well-known voice. Theodorakis noted that the CD had been an old dream of Farandouri’s, given her passion for classical music. Furthermore, the renowned and outspoken composer commented on the Greek music scene in general, including on a few of the rising stars coming from reality shows, such as Greek-American Kalomira Saranti. «Looking at the charts I see Kalomira ranking much higher than Hadjidakis and myself,» said Theodorakis. «I wonder if in 50 years’ time, Varakelis will be interpreting Kalomira’s songs at the piano…»