From Euripides to traditional music, a Greek singer/actress shows her talent

Anyone who has followed the career paths of Lydia Koniordou and Sotiris Hatzakis in the last few years, has no doubt spotted this impressive, multifaceted personality. Her powerful but at the same time tender voice is deeply moving, and when she sings traditional tunes, she makes them sound brand new. Besides her vocal talent stand her Doric features and proud stature, all in all making her a stage presence hard to ignore. This summer, local audiences enjoyed her appearances as the leader of the Chorus in Euripides’ «Iphigenia at Aulis,» as produced by the National Theater, directed by Costas Tsianos and with music by Dimitris Papadimitriou. Appearances continue for Martha Frintzila, however, as the young singer/actress is scheduled to appear at an event organized by the University of Athens this Thursday. The event, which will take place at the Old University in Plaka, will feature Frintzila and her band interpreting traditional and rebetika songs. Besides acting, did you also study music? No, but I did work on my voice with a few teachers at different periods in my life. I started at the age of 14, and by the age of 18 I knew I was not interested in opera. That is when I began my research in rebetika and traditional songs. I was always interested in traditional music. One of my grandmothers, who originated from the north, had a lovely voice, and the other was was quite good as well. Where were you born? I was born and raised in Elefsina, and I adored my grandmothers’ traditional songs from a very early age. I used to tape them when they were singing. Later on, I came into contact with this kind of music through theater, especially when we started working with Sotiris Hatzakis and Lydia Koniordou in Papadiamantis’s «Fonissa» at the Politia Theater, where I was in charge of the cast’s musical training. The play was very well received and we will continue again this year. How did you end up in the theater, given your enormous love for singing? The two go hand in hand. I always felt the need to act in a musical way, and rhythm and harmony are basic elements in theater. I always treat the characters I play in a musical way, even if there is no singing involved. In other words, I develop a kind of music score which I try to follow as much as possible. Is the upcoming concert at the Old University your first gig? Together with a few friends we formed a group of traditional and rebetika songs and sometimes we sing at various gatherings. Iosif Vivlakis, who is organizing the events at the university this week, knew about this and invited us to perform. We are planning to interpret old songs with elements of satire and we are going to be sober on stage, as this is not another evening of drinking with friends! Are you planning to go on with these appearances? Yes, parallel to my theatrical commitments. Singing is not a money-making activity for us, but rather an opportunity to get together…

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