Taking Hadjidakis a step further

Manos Hadjidakis was very fond of the guitar and used it frequently in his exceptional orchestrations. Yet he strongly opposed the way many guitarists handle the instrument, and expressed his views about it passionately. Nowadays, many guitar albums dedicated to Hadjidakis compositions have been released – by Vangelis Boudounis, Maro Razi, Stella Kypraiou, Giorgos Mouloudakis, Notis Mavroudis, Panayiotis Margaris and others – but the only guitar album bearing Hadjidakis’s signature is «Guitar Notebook,» released in 1986 by Seirios and featuring guitarist Costas Grigoreas on melodies adapted for the guitar by Tassos Karakatsanis. Hadjidakis had described Grigoreas as one of the most talented guitarists of his time, adding that he really enjoyed listening to the musician playing his songs. As the years have passed, Grigoreas, who never embarked on a career as a soloist because he said it imposed on him a way of life he didn’t want, has still left his mark on music by teaching and playing recitals; he has teamed up with singers Aliki Kayaloglou, Savina Yannatou and Anna Parlapanou among others. He has performed on many recordings and recently released an album with his own compositions, «Guitar in a Greek Way» (recorded by Timbro-Corifeo and distributed by Erosmusic). «I wanted to write music from the beginning,» he said. «A musician who can play his own music is something I always admired and dreamed of. This album may have been released recently, but I have been working for a long time to prepare things, which are also waiting for their turn.» He explained that by «things» he meant other compositions, including vocals, which he is hoping to release at some point. Grigoreas went on to explain that by «Greek Way» he meant every authentic element of Greek music. «All traditional and folk Greek music, but also all the elements it incorporated from Greek and foreign composers – even jazz or rock that I always listened to and still do, apart from classical music, which of course is always very important. I perceive the Greek way to be everything that has gone through me, through a personal filter.» Asked whether he had melodies or compositions for a skillful guitarist in mind when composing this work, he emphasized the melodies. «For me, maybe because I love songs so much, it seems unthinkable to create something that is not based on a melody. I want the melody to be there and then the technique can be built on it. I understand what you mean and I do agree, we have had enough with pointless guitar effects. When I started composing I was especially careful to avoid all skillful effects, because I am aware that technique and experience enable you to create things that even you might believe are important. I have avoided the effects on my album, except for one piece where improvisation games are evident. I worked methodically and went through everything that I wrote again and again. I am still searching, of course, but I was somehow more relaxed about those pieces, because I played them live and saw people’s reception.»

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