CULTURE

The Queen of Gospel will touch the world with soul in Greece and Cyprus

Smiling and motherly, Esther Marrow fits her title as the Queen of Gospel. In Athens with her 25-member band, the Harlem Gospel Singers, to participate in a number of events, Marrow’s appearances began yesterday when she participated in a memorial service for the victims of September 11 organized by the American Embassy in Athens. She continues tonight and tomorrow with shows at Athens’s Herod Atticus Theater. Marrow will then travel to Thessaloniki to appear at the Gis Theater on Saturday and Sunday, followed by Cyprus, where she will play at Nicosia’s Lakatamia Amphitheater on September 16 and Limassol’s Municipal Theater on September 17. «There have been great changes in the USA and the whole world following September 11,» said Marrow, who has fought for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson, at a recent press conference. «I feel that we used to live in our own little world, without really thinking about what was going on in other parts of the world. What happened last year became an eye-opener and what we ought to do from now on is communicate more. Communication is always better than no communication at all.» The lack of gospel culture in Greece means that Queen Esther Marrow’s name is not widely known, yet the artist belongs to the elite of the gospel scene and has collaborated with legendary figures of jazz, soul and rhythm and blues, including Duke Ellington, Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald, BB King, Ray Charles, Chick Korea, Bob Dylan and many more. «Gospel music is religious music but it is not solely addressed to the religious. It is the kind of music which brings joy,» she said, adding that the younger generation is more interested in new sounds and is moving away from gospel. Yet the Queen of Gospel remains optimistic: «Music goes through cycles,» she said. «In the future, the gospels will come back.» Queen Esther Marrow and the Harlem Gospel Singers will perform tonight and tomorrow at 8.30 p.m. at the Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Acropolis, tel 010.323.2771, 010.323.5582. The opposition, playing down the elimination of November 17, is persisting with its fixation that terrorism is somehow linked to PASOK, raising questions that are not likely to be answered.