CULTURE

GEORGE DALARAS

Me To’Na Podi St’Astra (Universal) Back in 1987, when I was a student, I spent money from my very first pay packet – earnt from offering private tutorials to a youngster from Nikaia in Piraeus – to buy a cassette of George Dalaras’s «Treloi kai Aggeloi» so I could listen to it on an old Philips cassette player in my bedroom. In the years that followed, I went on to discover some of his older releases that included songs by legendary composers such as Apostolos Kaldaras, Stavros Kouyioumtzis, and Manos Loizos, as well as renditions of old rebetika songs – the kind of music that makes you think about your own life as you relate with the music. Just a few days ago, I got hold of this latest Dalaras release, which I have given many listens. I’ve tried to understand why a vocalist with such a worthy past has come to be associated with melodies crafted primarily for mass appeal and pop simplicity, as highlighted by the questionable lyrics on the album. It makes you wonder about the objectives of hit songs these days. Is it all about turning them into ring-tones for mobile phones, ephemeral hits at shallow-minded clubs, background music for trash TV reports on the latest celebrity news from Myconos? Or maybe, the objective is to score a hit alongside some of the country’s younger pop stars. Most of Dalaras’s new songs will probably attain all these objectives. Meanwhile, I think I’ll go look for that old cassette I was telling you about. Then I can listen to it as a memory of a bygone era. Both for me and him.