A meeting of sounds and musicians from different parts of the world

Evanthia Reboutsika has given us some of the most beautiful songs. With her feminine and emotional touch she has produced one of the best Greek folk melodies of the past few years, «Ta limania» (Ports) from the soundtrack of «Politiki kouzina» («A Touch of Spice»). Reboutsika, who received an award from Belgium’s World Soundtrack Academy for her music in Cagan Irmak’s Turkish film «Babam Ve Oglum» («My Father and Son»), has now joined forces with filmmaker Irmak once more, for his new movie «Ulak.» Her Greek fans will be able to see part of her work in a series of live performances that kick off at the Polis Theater tonight. The performances will feature the new songs that she wrote for vocalist Elli Paspala (with lyrics by Eleni Zioga) and which will be released soon, titled «O horos ton astron» (The Dance of the Stars). That is the name that Reboutsika and Paspala have also given to their live Polis Theater shows, which the two of them will host joined by two special guests. You and Elli Paspala will be joined by foreign artists. What do you have in common with up-and-coming fado interpreter Duarte and with Brazil’s Badi Assad? Fados move me. I listened to them in Portugal but also whenever I traveled abroad. I think that my music and the songs that Elli sings are suited to a fado singer. But Duarte and Assad aren’t just guests that will sing their stuff and then go. In a way, we will bring our worlds together. Duarte will sing «Tsigaro» (Cigarette) in Greek, which he sings wonderfully, and «Betrayal» in Portuguese. I first listened to Badi at the Half Note Jazz Club years ago and I was mostly fascinated by her guitar playing. She is a fantastic guitarist. I thought of this as a meeting of world musics and I will be playing with her until January. You are one of the few musicians and composers who have managed to arrange and give performances in their own terms, in a field dominated by singers. Was it difficult? That was all the result of some of my albums, starting with «Asteri kai efchi» (Star and Wish) and reaching its climax with «A Touch of Spice.» I was trying out the orchestral parts in live shows hesitantly at first and then I realized people wanted to listen to them. Now the concert suggestions I receive are only about instrumental music. So it may have been my desire too, but it came about naturally. What is it like for a composer, used to working in isolation, to communicate with the audience in live performances? I need both the isolation and the noise. Don’t forget that I am a musician, I play the violin. Composition came later. I learnt to communicate with the audience from childhood, when we gave concerts with my father and my three siblings. Live shows feel like taking off. The «Dance of the Stars» has a distinct female touch. What is it like working solely with women? It is easier than working with men or is there more competition? It all started in Istanbul, where we traveled with Elli and Eleni, with whom we meet again after 10 years with this album. The album is about different genres of music that blend together and the three of us have no competition. That is because our collaboration was the result of our friendship, it wasn’t based on some concept. We first got to know each other and then we moved on. Of course there was tension, but it was not important. It is not a matter of men and women, the only difference is that with women you can share female talk and secrets. As far as I know it is easy for you to compose. I always start with the melody and I hope it remains this way. I have ideas all the time, with my morning coffee, when I listen to a conversation, when I’m walking… or when I wash the dishes. I wrote «Ports» from «A Touch of Spice» over a plate of food. Out of all your activities, musician, songwriter, theater and soundtrack composer, which one do you find the most appealing? I include everything in my work, but I would like to spend more time with cinema, I think that is my field. Do you compose differently for the big screen than you do for a vocalist? There is a difference, but I always start with the melody, it is the first thing that comes to my mind. But I am also a visual person, I work and live with images and sometimes I even see my life like cinema. The Polis Theater is situated at 18 Petrou Ralli (tel 210.345.2527). Performances will take place Fridays to Sundays and will start at 10.30 p. m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 9 p. m. on Sundays.