CULTURE

Capital’s stages are loaded with energy for the busy festive season

The recent launch of performances by chart-topping acts George Dalaras and Antonis Remos at a brand-new venue, the Athinon Arena on Pireos Street in downtown Athens, completes the capital’s total musical offering of residencies during the festive season and beyond. Basing their show on both old and new material, Dalaras and Remos, accompanied by Adrianna Babali, have prepared an elaborate production directed by Stamatis Fasoulis. It’s an ambitious venture looking to make a considerable impact on the local circuit. Among the best shows featuring female performers are double-headers Haris Alexiou and Eleftheria Arvanitaki at the Votanikos club, and Dimitra Galani and Alkistis Protopsalti at the Vox. Both productions rely mostly on original material, as well as various modern classics in Greek music. Worth considering is a night out at Akti Pireos where Eleni Tsaligopoulou has put together a lively show, between Friday and Sunday, featuring bouzouki-led popular Greek songs as well as old Greek folk songs with the clarinet at the forefront. Tsaligopoulou is backed by a traditional ensemble, the Estoudiantina, as well as Iota Nega, Panayiotis Lalezas, and Dimitris Zervoudakis. One of the country’s more prominent female vocalists, Eleni Vitali, is performing at the Dipla Sto Potami club. The singer, who vanished for an extended period before returning to the scene in recent years, has culled original material as well as classic popular Greek (laiko) numbers and Smyrneika, traditional material from the Asia Minor coast. At Iera Odos, old and new have been fused for a show with crossover appeal. Seasoned popular Greek singer Paschalis Terzis has joined forces with top-selling pop-rock act Michalis Hadziyiannis, a recent arrival. Nearby, at the Kerameikos venue in the downtown Metaxourgeio district, veteran singer-songwriter Dionyssis Savvopoulos, who launched his enduring career with protest songs and landmark albums back in the ’60s, has teamed up with one of many local artists he helped to inspire, Nikos Portokalogou. Also on the bill is laiko veteran Giorgos Margaritis, whose waning popularity following wide exposure in the ’70s was recently rejuvenated by a collaboration with a group of younger musicians interested in injecting rock flavor to old-school laiko. The show is full of surprises. Stretching beyond mere hints, it’s a solid rock sound at the Stavros Tou Notou, where three sturdy sellers, Lavrentis Maheritsas, Philippos Pliatsikas, and Dionyssis Tsaknis, are testing their strength as a trio. The mood is more playful at the Metro club, where witty singer-songwriter Fivos Delivorias heads the bill with his spirited material of the past decade. Also at the Metro, on Mondays and Tuesdays, weathered singer Eleni Tsanaklidou has opted to go it alone without the support of other guests, as seems to be the norm in the industry during these tougher times. Tsanaklidou’s show, without elaborate stage settings yet rich in emotion, ranks as one of the finest currently on offer. Besides the balladry she is renowned for, Tsanaklidou has, unusually, included laiko songs in her repertoire. For fans of rebetika, Vangelis Korakakis and his band are performing at the Magiopoula club, his regular base for years. The jovial Thessaloniki singer Maryo, who has been entertaining Athenian crowds in more recent years with spirited renditions of rebetika and old-school Greek material, has found a compatible stage partner in Litsa Diamanti for shows at the Harama club. Rebetika act Babis Tsertos, who shared the stage with Maryo at the Perivoli t’Ouranou club in Plaka a couple of winters ago, is still there offering an entertaining set. Individuals preferring to stay home and celebrate domestically, can tune into Melodia 99.2 FM, which is airing worthy Greek songs. The radio station has lined up a series of live sessions performed by various acts. They include popular singer Katerina Kouka with Lambros Karelas on Saturday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Where to go Athinon Arena, 166 Pireos, tel 210.347.1111 (Thu.-Sun.). Akti Pireos, Pireos & Lamias, Tavros, tel 210.341.8020 (Fri.-Sun.) Votanikos, 72 Iera Odos & Spyrou Patsi, tel 210.347.3835 (Thu.-Sun.). Vox, 16 Iera Odos, tel 210.341.1000 (Thu.-Sun.). Dipla Sto Potami, 189 L. Katsoni, Ag. Anargyroi, tel 210.261.0444 (Fri.-Sat.). Iera Odos, 18-20 Iera Odos, tel 210.342.8272 (Thu.-Sun.). Magiopoula, 9 Odemisiou, Kaisariani, tel 210.721.4934 (Wed.-Sun.). Metro, Gyzi & Kalvou, Gyzi, tel 210.643.9089 (Fri.-Sun.). Perivoli t’Ouranou, 19 Lysicratous, Plaka, tel 210.323.5517 (Tue.-Sat.). Kerameikos, 56 Kerameikou, tel 210.522.2222 (Thu.-Sun.). Stavros Tou Notou, Frantzi & 37 Tharypou, Neos Cosmos, tel 210.922.6975 (Thu.-Sat.). Harama, Kaisariani Park, tel 210.766.4869 (Wed.-Sat.).