CULTURE

A new platinum album by Greek crossover artist

Two things come to mind when listening to Mario Frangoulis’s latest platinum album «Mario & Friends – What a Wonderful World,» released by Sony Classical. The first is how successfully the tenor has managed to maintain his style and standards, and enjoy a somewhat singular career by Greek standards. The second thought that springs to mind is the spectacular return of easy-listening music to the Greek scene. This revived interest was proven by the thousands of people who rushed to see Frangoulis’s shows at the Athinon Arena last spring, where he was joined by a few very well-known vocalists, such as Lucio Dalla, Lara Fabian and Madeleine Peyroux, in a series of duets that provided the material for his new, double album. «Easy listening» might not seem quite the appropriate term to describe Mario Frangoulis, an artist with a rich, operatic education and undoubtedly great vocal talent, and when it comes to describing his work it is anything but derogatory. On this album, easy-listening classics such as «Historia de un Amor» and «O Sole Mio» can be found side by side with many Hadjidakis classics. Lucio Dalla is heard performing beside Dionysis Savvopoulos, but it is the orchestrations and the operatic touches in Frangoulis’s voice, at times more epic and at other times more internal, that give a pop character to the final result. Abroad, many well-known tenors become crossover artists and icons in countries that have a greater tradition in opera. In Greece, Frangoulis has cultivated his fan base, an audience that seems not to care a whim about labels. Frangoulis’s audience is only interested in old, much-loved songs and in his good voice.