‘Affiliations deprive people of liberties’

Martha Frintzila’s name has been making the rounds more and more in recent years, both in musical and theatrical circles. Frintzila, who has a devoted following, is always up to something. At the moment, she’s on a national summer tour with songwriter Thanassis Papaconstantinou, recording for Papaconstantinou’s next album and performing with the Greek folk-jazz music fusion act Mode Plagal, as well as her with own band, the Walter Testa Music Company, which include guest spots from Alkinoos Ioannidis and Maria Farantouri. She writes her own material, too, as a parallel venture to acting and directing in theater. Frintzila plans to record original material this September. «It’s all more or less related,» she says. Her concerts, as well as those she contributes to as a guest, always seem to «end up being a party.» You get involved with many different things. Does this disorient you, or is the opposite true? It’s all based on the one thing. I’ve never felt that one thing is eating into the other. I’ve been active in theater for years – and with music, too. What I’m saying is that my life includes everything. This is exactly how my home life is, too. I can’t just stick to one thing at a time. I want to cook and read and go for walks – all at once. You sing, act, direct and write. One thing complements the other. What’s given priority? I’ve never felt anxious about finding an identity in the field – things like who I am, what I’m going to do in my life, how I’m going to support my career. Things happen naturally. Affiliation deprives people of liberties. It is said that you don’t take part in the music industry game, and you’ve told me that you manage yourself. But how do you promote your work? Among my intentions – not the deepest ones – I always thought that I didn’t want to register my own dealings like this, simply for the sake of commerciality and market entry. I never wanted to just «also make a record,» as they say. I can’t connect the market with the work we do. Is it enough to promote your work through word of mouth? That’s how it goes, a bit like some sort of club. I’m impressed to see that people from the Thanassis Papaconstantinou shows also turn up to my own things. What I’m saying is that the crowds overlap. My main characteristic is that I was never looking to make a career out of it. I don’t care for recognition. At the same time, you run the Dromos Me Dentra (Road With Trees) theater group, which works at a very interesting base. There has been much discussion about the Kratira venue at Keramikos (5 Aghiou Oros St). We work there along with [the dance company] Sinequanon. We needed rehearsal space. We weren’t able to rent a place or rehearse at the flat. So we established a common coffer [with Sinequanon] for rent expenses, maintenance, and heating, and work there. It’s a good plan. Sometimes people come along just to see what’s going on – not official productions, of course. It’s an old mechanic’s garage for Citroen cars, which we’ve gradually made liveable. Does your denial of the establishment hail from your youth or is it a trait? It’s not a reaction or resistance but the way I function, naturally. I don’t resist. If that were the case, then I’d be totally detached. When we go out and make appearances I do interviews and promote the things I do as much as I can. But I never had dreams of becoming a singer or director. You, too, perhaps may lighten up [on the artistic conviction] if you have other obligations. Have you ever thought about this? I believe in quixotic figures. If there’s no place that’ll support you, you establish your own… If you deeply believe in something, you’ll be just as mad about it and committed to it after your youth. Of course, there’s also the family factor of having four children and being bogged down by obligations. Does all this activity cover you financially? We don’t live off Kratira – nobody gets paid for that. In fact, everybody there pays. We have our jobs for money and a place to work at. There are the concerts with Thanassis [Papaconstantinou], my group, the theatrical collaborations…

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