CULTURE

New songs from army’s war chest

He had vanished for a while, fulfilling military obligations. With discharge papers now in hand, Fivos Delivorias has returned to music with a bunch of new songs from the experience, and a series of live shows at the capital’s Aeriko Club. Accustomed to testing his songs on stage before taking them into the studio, the talented and seasoned 28-year-old songwriter, who has already been in the business for over a decade, could not change procedures now. «Ever since I began performing, I would present material at shows before going on to record it. It’s a creative process that has often made me change lyrics that wouldn’t necessarily work or destroy a song’s immediacy,» Delivorias said. «I always think of songs on stage as functioning as cabaret numbers with silence and pauses,» he added. Because Delivorias’s most recent batch of songs was clearly influenced by the military experience, the Aeriko Club, in the capital’s Psyrri district, has been refurbished to resemble a military base’s recreation center, commonly known around the country as «Ka-Psi-Mi,» an acronym for a Greek recreation center. The venue, whose decor for Delivorias’s shows includes heaters and a price list of items typically available to conscripts at these centers, has also been segregated into infantry, navy and airforce sections. «Of course, there are places for women, too. Without them, military service doesn’t go by,» he joked. Delivorias said he is intrigued by the idea of performing to «Ka-Psi-Mi» audiences because of their incongruent qualities. The new, unreleased material – seven songs – being presented at Delivorias’s shows, was all written while he was in the service. Delivorias intends to write additional material which, he said, would «keep a distance from the army,» to complete the contents of his next album. Besides the current performances at the Aerikos venue – Delivorias has already performed four of eight appearances, with the other four scheduled from today through Sunday – the artist will also begin a tour of other parts of the country, from north to south. A colorful, usually quirky, stage entertainer, Delivorias said he emerged from his military service – which he described as good for him – with a jovial disposition. «I don’t want to make the whole thing sound like the Land of Oz, but I did learn that creativity means being able to make a good life out of one that has no tendency to be that way,» Delivorias said. «Everything was harsh, and difficult, and ugly, and at times not the way you wanted it to be. So you had to make all this creative,» he added. The subject matter of Delivorias’s new songs also trespasses into other fields, which can, nevertheless, be indirectly related to the lives of conscripts. One of the new numbers, for example, refers to a bunch of youths who visit a brothel. «They enter this beautiful entrance, which I use to draw a parallel with the elegant threshold of churches, and each one of them comes out a changed individual,» Delivorias said. «Another song goes on about a guy who falls in love with a move-your-body type of girl,» he added. On another new song, politics is brought into the picture. Delivorias takes the opportunity to sing the role of the country’s prime minister who is feeling uptight about a prospective official visit by the US President. Delivorias first surfaced as a recording artist as a 16-year-old. His debut album, on the high-caliber Seirios label, which the late composer Manos Hadjidakis launched in his latter years, was released when Delivorias was still at school. From those days, Delivorias said, he has dug out old exercise books with his own illustrations of possible album covers for his recordings, lists of hypothetical back up musicians, and liner notes. Yet, despite having fantasized about a music career back then, Delivorias recalled also being engaged by other ideas. «Originally, I’d wanted to be an actor and a director. At 18 – even though I’d already released an album with Manos Hadjidakis – I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life,» Delivorias recalled. Delivorias, who, prior to the release of his debut album, had amused Hadjidakis by ringing his doorbell and introducing himself to the established composer as a «colleague,» eventually took drama lessons ahead of entrance exams for the national theater.He failed and, encouraged by Hadjidakis, has since focused his efforts on his music.