CULTURE

Songs and melodies for all ages

I am holding Tatiana Zografou’s book-CD «I’m in No Hurry to Grow Up: Songs of the Sun and Moon,» available from Melodiko Karavi, as I interview her. «I was born in Athens,» she explains. «Pollution rather suits me and so does the summer. I studied to become a kindergarten teacher in rainy Ioannina and went on to study music in education at the equally rainy Reading in the UK. For the past 10 years, I have been teaching music at the Arsakeion Kindergarten and I have been writing my own songs. I dream of a song that has no age limits and could be loved by children and adults alike.» Zografou also studied classical singing at the Kodaly Conservatory in Athens with Costas Paschalis. As a singer, she has participated in a number of concerts of Greek entechno, or art-house, music and has also worked with acclaimed musicians, including Lena Platonos, Dora Bakopoulou, Thodoros Kotepanos and Stella Kypreou. Albums Zografou is also a composer in her own right and a selection of her songs were performed by the acclaimed Orchestra of Colors in 2004. Her first album, «Petondas Pas stin Poli» (Flying is the Way to Get to the City), featuring three cycles of songs for children and adults, was released in November 2004. Meanwhile, a number of her songs have been performed by top artists, such as Maria Farandouri and Nena Venetsanou, among others. «I’m in No Hurry to Grow Up» was released in November 2007. I put the CD in the CD-player and soft, sweet melodies filled the room. «O Vassilias tou Onirou» (King of Dreams) and «To Tragoudi tis Fantasias» (Imagination Song) are two of the titles. As I leaf through the book, I read the verses and I get caught up in the wonderful images that accompany them. The serenity that overtook me led to the e-mail interview I had with the creator of this amazing work. How did the book-CD «I’m in No Hurry to Grow Up» come about? This is my second musical «child.» The first was «Petondas Pas stin Poli,» available from MBI. I think the birth of my daughter was a defining factor in the writing of these new songs. Almost half of them resemble lullabies. The emphasis of this book-CD (which is also available as a plain CD) was on the combination of image, words and music. I got a lot of help from Christos Kehagioglou, who is the artistic director of the project, and he embraced my songs with his pictures. I also had help from a lot of other collaborators, poets Veatriki Kantzola Sambatakou, Ioulita Iliopoulou, Argyro Kokoreli and Vassilis D. Anagnostopoulos, who entrusted their poems to me, as well as the Dimitris Typaldos Children’s Choir and singers Dionysis Ssavvopoulos, Vangelis Germanos, Ilias Liougos, Irini Derembei, Tassos Apostolou, Anna Karageorgiadou and Nitsa Kourtidou. I shared your emotions as I read the book-CD. We all have different things that move us, but singing offers the excuse for all of us to freely express that feeling. Who is this book addressed to? These songs are addressed to children, but at the same time they can amuse adults as well. I tried to create songs that will urge grownups to «revisit» aspects of their childhoods and to motivate children to dream by using images that are familiar to them. My partners and I believe that the music accompanying these songs is very important and that it is like a form of playful chamber music. The contribution of the musicians and especially that of Vangelis Zografos, who did the orchestration, was extremely important. What about Tatiana, the person? I work at the Arsakeion Kindergarten as a music teacher. I studied to become a kindergarten teacher in Ioannina and went on to do postgraduate studies in the UK in music in education. At the same time, I also studied classical singing. All these things combined help me feel close to young children but to music as well. I couldn’t be happy without music in my life. What is the relationship between music and children? To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t like talking about music from the teacher’s perspective, whatever that means. We often use the facade of the science of education and appear to children as experts, hence we fight imagination and creativity. There are 1,000 ways to make music with children. Everything that children receive with a positive power is good for them. What is most important is to be able to express themselves and feel free. Music will do absolutely nothing to a child that is repressed by it. Taking time Why did you choose the title «I’m in No Hurry to Grow Up?» I try to take my time and I urge my adult listeners to do the same. It is natural for children to feel impatient and to be in a hurry, it is something like an inner speed without selfishness. It is that speed and warmness that I want us to bring out. Children are in a hurry to grow up in a negative way only when we intervene in their lives and push them to acquire way too much knowlege, to be wise beyond their age and when we take time out of their innocence.