Savvopoulos and Papazoglou party

Their reunion should be quite a party, as insinuated by the banner title of a series of upcoming shows, «Struggle Toward Party,» to feature two old-time collaborators, the accomplished singer-songwriters Dionysis Savvopoulos and Nikos Papazoglou. Beginning October 31 at the Kerameikos club in Athens, the two seasoned and influential artists, who will also be joined by various guests, are currently fine-tuning the stint’s repertoire. «I’ve been putting together a set list over the past 20 days and now we’re going to have a look at it and make revisions together,» Savvopoulos commented, referring to the reunion with Papazoglou, the popular artist whom Savvopoulos, a veteran from the ’60s, had introduced to listeners in the late 1970s. «Together with my wonderful friend Nikos Papazoglou, we’ll not only be singing my own songs but others too, by the likes of Akis Panou, [Apostolos] Kaldaras, [Manos] Hadjidakis, [Mikis] Theodorakis, and others,» Savvopoulos added. Joining Savvopoulos and Papazoglou (both of whom come from Thessaloniki), will be several guests, including two acts that have formerly worked with Savvopoulos, Bulgaria’s splendid Sofia Choir, and an accomplished Turkish artist, Fuat Saka, whom the Greek artist has worked with since the mid-1980s. Also on the agenda is Volos-based singer Viki Karakosta. In unison, they should muster quite a Balkan stir – a visionary trademark of Savvopoulos’s early work, considering his older multiethnic experimentation, nowadays rife in the world music scene. The upcoming shows, Savvopoulos noted, intend to exhibit «how we handled darkness in our attempt to find a road heading toward light,» while adding that «that’s where the show’s title stems from – the struggle toward light.» Savvopoulos, who was the first Greek artist to fill the Olympic Stadium and has also lured fans for sell-out shows at the plusher Athens Concert Hall, did admit to feeling slightly uneasy about the upcoming performances at Keramikos, a recently launched club-size entertainment center with dinner included on the menu. «Of course it frightens me, but, on the other hand, the club is installed with modern features and has kept its drinks cheap, which makes taking the risk worthwhile,» he said. When asked to comment about the likely prospect of hearing the food-eating racket from below while performing, as a colleague had complained last winter season, Savvopoulos supported the standard of his fans. «Our audience is different. It doesn’t eat when we sing,» he said. «In spite of this, for safety’s sake, I’m requesting that it is not allowed from a certain time onward.» As for Papazoglou – whom Savvopoulos introduced to listeners back in 1977 through his «Acharnes» album, before producing the following year’s «Ekdikisi tis Gyftias,» a landmark album featuring Papazoglou on vocals to the music of Nikos Xydakis, and lyrics by Manolis Rasoulis – the veteran performer only had good things to say. «He’s had an exceptionally beautiful course. Nikos enriched the gallery of vocalists in Greek music with his unique vocal delivery, one that is typically fresh,» remarked Savvopoulos. As producer of «Ekdikisi tis Gyftias,» an album that has gone down in local music history for injecting new life into popular Greek music (laiko), Savvopoulos had complemented his studio efforts with wonderful liner notes. Concluding, he wrote: «My God, please help laiko song, because it won’t manage alone.» Commenting 24 years later on the condition of popular Greek music, Savvopoulos said, «It may be changing form, but it does exist, and will do so forever.» Returning to the upcoming project, Savvopoulos expressed excitement about the prospect of working with local and other Balkan colleagues. «You know, all the Balkan capitals are like Thessaloniki’s inner land. Their people want us and we want them. They love us and we love them,» he said. «Anybody deeply attached to Thessaloniki and further north, knows what I mean. That’s how I feel when I want to break free from Greekness.»