CULTURE

More great Hadjidakis moments

During his lifetime, composer Manos Hadjidakis never presented live what is probably one of his greatest song cycles, «Magnus Eroticus.» «He said that he had nothing new to add to the recording. He said that about very few works,» explains Ilias Liougos, the only singer with whom Hadjidakis worked for 20 consecutive years. Today, Liougos brings Hadjidakis’s opus to life in a series of performances, which are composed of «Magnus Eroticus» and other song cycles, at the Aeriko Club in the Athenian neighborhood of Psyrri, starting tonight and running until Sunday. «I am not ‘returning’ because of nostalgia,» notes Liougos. «When Manos died I promised myself that I would not cling to his songs, that I would continue on my own. I did this, writing and performing my own work. But I do not want to distance myself too much from Manos’s world of music. I need it to preserve my standards.» The first Hadjidakis song Liougos ever heard was «Lianotragouda» from «Magnus Eroticus,» when he was very young and at a friend’s house. He asked his friend who had written it and then went around looking for other songs «that Hadjidakis guy» had written. Several years later, in 1976, he found himself recording his first album with the composer, «Irrationalities,» a cycle he will also present at Aeriko. This time though, instead of being accompanied by female vocalists Flery Dadonaki and Maria Farandouri, he will be on stage with Eleni Michalakopoulou, and a five-strong band led by long-time Hadjidakis associate, Theodoros Kotepanos. «These works never fade,» said Liougos. «Every time I approach them, I discover new things I had missed before… I hear them differently each time.» The singer is also happy about the shows for another reason: «Hadjidakis’s music needs to surround us – and I don’t see that happening. It is inconceivable that Hadjidakis is not heard, is sidelined. Can you imagine Athens without the Acropolis? I am really stuck on this. We can’t lose our measure of standards you see.» Liougos is also busy with his own work, preparing a new album in which many other singers – Dimitris Mitropanos, Alkinoos Ioannidis and Melina Kana among them – will perform his compositions. The artist was surprised at how readily and happily his friends and colleagues responded to his project. «Sometimes you are off the scene for a while and think everyone has forgotten you. It’s not like that though. Giorgos Dalaras recently sang two of my songs on his album and I must admit that I was impressed by his entire attitude – his respect toward the work and his promptness.» Ilias Liougos performs works by Manos Hadjidakis tonight through Sunday at the Aeriko Club, 6 Agatharchou, Psyrri, tel 010.325.5359.