CULTURE

Over half a century of Greek music documented

For over a decade now, a local mathematician, Petros Dragoumanos, has applied his field’s precision to music by keeping a regularly updated comprehensive guide to over 50 years of Greek discography. His labor of love, a treat for investigative music fans, has, more recently, turned electronic. «Greek Discography, 1950-2002,» the latest revised edition, has been released in CD-ROM format, following his 1996 debut «electronic» effort. Information on some 22,000 releases by roughly 9,500 acts, as well as brief biographies and illustrations of album covers and artists are included. The visitor may find information on various phonographic specifics, including collaborations, label activity, complete discographies, as well as indications of gold and platinum releases. Figures determining these have been reduced in recent years. Prior to 1990, Dragoumanos notes, albums selling 50,000 units were certified as gold. The figure was then reduced to 30,000 and then 25,000, the current level, early last decade. Platinum status, too, he reminds, has been halved from 100,000 to 50,000. Mighty album sales, by local standards, have been registered during rosier times for the industry. Giorgos Dalaras, Yiannis Parios, Notis Sfakianakis, Anna Vissi, Keti Garbi, and others, can boast releases whose sales exceeded 100,000 copies. In the 1980s, the guide reminds, certain artists generated dream-like sales figures, by today’s subdued standards. Dalaras’s «Latin» album, released in 1987, sold over 400,000 units; Parios’s «Nisiotika,» released in 1982, went further to sell 600,000 copies; while Stavros Xarhakos’s «Rebetiko,» released the following year, sold 200,000. The guide also contains a rundown of around 400 record companies, big and small, as well as information on Greek albums pressed and distributed abroad – a trend more common among Greek-American labels. The strongest sales of Greek recordings abroad, the guide shows, were in the US in the 1960s, and Australia and former West Germany in the 1970s, owing to the diaspora. On the contrary, Greek releases have popped up in strange places, too. A Haris Alexiou compilation album, for example, was put together especially for the Japanese market. Other trends include a downward trend for total annual releases. So far this year, 742 Greek CDs have been released, compared to 760 in 2001 and 893 in 2000. Recent good sellers include Mario Frangoulis’s «Sometimes I Dream,» a September release which has sold well, and albums by Antonis Remmos and Yiannis Kotsiras. For orders: www.musiconline.gr