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EXCLUSIVE - Alkinoos Ioannidis Speaks To Hellasfrappe

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EXCLUSIVE - Alkinoos Ioannidis Speaks To Hellasfrappe

Postby yialousa1971 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:48 pm

EXCLUSIVE - Alkinoos Ioannidis Speaks To Hellasfrappe

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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By Marina Spanos

Alkinoos Ioannidis is a singer, song writer, composer and one of the most brilliant artists to date. He was born in Nicosia, Cyprus and after studying classical guitar at the European Conservatory, he moved to Athens, and began his career in 1989. He then studied drama at the National Theatre Drama School and philosophy at the Athens University. In 1993 he signed with Universal Music, and continues to honor this label until today. He has released eleven solo albums which have gone gold or platinum and has performed as a guest on more than 40 albums with various artists. He has also written songs, arranged and produced albums for other artists, as well as music for dance and theater, while his symphonic work is often performed by orchestras in Greece and abroad. His influences range from traditional Cypriot music, Greek composers of the last decades, Byzantine, Classical and Rock. Today, he speaks to Marina Spanos and hellasfrappe about his work, the situation in Greece, as well as his upcoming North-American Tour.

Q: Before we get started with the interview, it would be nice if you could tell us a little bit about how you began dabbling with music and what inspired you to make a career our of it.

AI - I started listening to my father’s Lp's, mostly classical music and Greek music of the 60s and 70s. Then, when I was 8, I decided I would become a drummer but there weren't any tutors in Cyprus at the time, so my parents sent me to learn the guitar, which was exactly the same as drums, or so I was told... I loved both music and literature.
One day I found out that this union (duo art) produces a new kind of expression, named “song”.
And I was a sucker... I fell in love with their baby immediately.
It is this love that keeps me going until today.

Q: Why did you choose alternative rock sounds?

AI - I never chose a style. Character is what I’m looking for, not style. In my albums and on stage I “use” different styles of music, moving constantly from folk to byzantine, from rock to classical, from pop to middle-eastern, from Baroque to the 21st century. These are my influences, and, whenever they prove themselves useful delivering a thought, a feeling or a memory, I find no reason to hide them.

Q: Do you combine your "real life” to music?

AI - There is no “real life” for me outside music. I don’t remember myself without it. Music is not some kind of an illusive world that allows me to step in whenever I please and hide from reality and then step out whenever I can’t stand looking in the mirror in front of me.
Everything has to do with music in my life:
My children play in my basement studio while I am recording or rehearsing. I talk about music and play music all day with my musicians and technicians, who are companions and friends, in the studio, on stage, off-stage, day and night.
Whatever I do, even the most practical things, I do them keeping music in my mind, and always working towards creating more.
And when I’m not performing, rehearsing, writing, orchestrating or recording, I listen to music, read about it and even think about it.
This is the only way I know how to live. It didn’t help me become rich, but it gave me the life I was made to live. And there’s no bigger success than this.

Q: We agree. Your lyrics are so profound, and stir up countless emotions, where do you receive your inspiration from and are you trying to pass a message through them to your listeners?

AI - Most of my songs talk about time. So, I guess, they talk about existence. They also speak about non-existence as well. If existence and non-existence exist of course…
You could say a few are “love songs”, others are more “political”, others more “poetic”, or “surreal”. Some of them are happy, some are sad, some are even foolish, while others are wise, or crazy, funny, expel anger, ambitious, humble, some are even simple while others are more complicated. They are like a whole community of people diverse in character.
I’m not really trying to deliver messages through them though. I don’t have the ability to do so, nor the desire to become some kind of a guru, or intellectual leader, preacher, politician or even a great poet that can show people what they can’t see by themselves.
I simply turn my life into song, or rather sing about other people’s lives sometimes and this is enough to keep me going, interested and keep the creative juices flowing. And it will be for the rest of my life I hope.



Q: You chose a very competitive industry, is it difficult to stay creative and still be successful, and what does this entail?

AI - It would be difficult to create in an environment that wouldn’t suit my needs and my preferences. Some people tell me that I chose the difficult road. Meaning that a more commercial kind of song would have probably been easier. I disagree. I chose the only one that best suited me, the one that I enjoy, that demands everything from me but also provides everything I need, and the only type of music that will never ask me to fight for things I don’t believe in, or make sacrifices for in order to gain things I don’t really need. I’ve always been lazy in my life. My father was a caring man, but a tireless worker and he kept telling me when I was a child that I wasn't cut out for hard work. "I advise you as a father to find a rich woman and never have to work”, he would say, and he was not being ironic he really meant it. When I grew up I realized I was one of the hardest-working persons I knew, but still I never felt like I was actually doing a "job". So much so, that whenever I leave home in order to perform my kids often ask me “where are you going?” and I usually reply “I’m going to play”, much in the way they play with their friends.

Q: That is actually good, because when you are working and you don't feel like its work, then it means that your are involved in something that is effortless, tireless and successful. Speaking of performances, you have given many live concerts throughout your career, which concert made a mark on you and why?

AI - I perform at some 60 to 120 concerts per year, and this has been going on for the past 19 years. Believe it or not, I remember each one of them in detail. If I didn’t.. I would have lost a quarter of my life. Most of my memories are good, and only a few are bad that involve mainly non-musical reasons, thank God.


Q: The social networks such as facebook, myspace, etc., today allow artists such as yourself to get quick feedback from their fans, are you exploiting these options and how constructive is this feedback in your line of work?

AI - There is an official Facebook page looked after by my management company. My official site, alkinoos.gr, is only for nine months old. Before that there wasn’t even an official site. So, I guess, I’m not the right guy to answer your question.

Q: I read an article recently that you featured on your website called "We Blame You", which we had also featured here on hellasfrappe, where you literally let an Englishman have it for not being properly informed, and insensitive about the Greek crisis. It was quite impressive, and profound. Seeing as you are outspoken, I can't help but ask what your views are on the present situation. Where does this crisis stem from?


AI - The root of the problem has always been the fact that human life has never been truly respected. The markets, the banks, the hedge-funds, the governments, the companies and, most of the times, religions, never really respected human life, if it wasn’t for their own profit. At the same time we don’t respect our own lives the way we should, and we don’t respect our neighbours’ or even our children’s lives, living the way we do. So, it is obvious that from time to time we will have periods of “depression”, while our sunny days are being spent happily by producing and consuming waste, depressing others, disregarding our brothers’ and sisters’
problems and making slaves out of ourselves.
Going back ten years ago, when “there was no crisis”, seems like a nightmare to me.
We either go forward into something new, or stay here until we have nothing more to lose.

Q: Artists, yourself included, can help towards this healing, through their work because people favor and admire your work, and value your opinion.

AI - Art always expresses its times. It would be abnormal for people who are suffering not to sing about their troubles, and woes. The danger for the artist is always the possibility of falling into populism, saying the words everyone wants to hear, just to become more popular or sell more.
Finally, this kind of art never serves its political purpose, nor does it contribute to art itself. So, I believe it’s a privilege for a songwriter and for any sensitive person to live in an interesting place during an interesting period such as this. But we also have to be careful, and always go over our true motives daily.

Q: Does it offend you when people criticize Greece, or when they speak in a negative tone about our country?

AI - Yes, I get really annoyed, and this is not because of pride but because I despair to find people who believe that a whole country can consist only of thieves, lazy guys or criminals who have been partying for the last 20 years. Who think that 11 million people are all guilty of corruption and deserve to be tortured, while there is no corrupter, no European or American governments who paid their men to suck the blood from these people, no big companies who profited on their backs, etc. Who don’t care how many children faint at school here everyday because they don’t eat properly, or how many suicides occur from desperate, innocent people.
It is likely for politicians or businessmen to talk like that, but it’s unacceptable to hear such words from honest, good-hearted people, who don’t understand that this game of accusing each other only makes us weaker and who do not understand that if they don’t fight for our children and we don’t fight for theirs, everything will be lost for everybody.

Q: I totally agree with you. I think during this time, Greece is once again in the forefront. And since we both agree that it is, what type of messages can Greece send out to the world to let make people come to grips with what is really going on?

AI - Greece is a place that suffered too much during its recent history. Too many wars, too much blood, too many refugees and missing people, too much poverty, starvation, civil killings, exiles, bankruptcies, deception, treason, confusion, lies, injustice, isolation. I believe that if something new ever comes to make our world really better it will only come out of pain. And Greece has lots of it!



Q: Let's change the subject shall we? How do you view our Omogenia and what is your opinion on all the Greek people who live abroad?

AI - I have a very strong connection to the Greek and Cypriot communities in New York, so strong that makes a part of me feel like I live abroad. I have also met other Greek communities around the world, in Europe, Latin America, Africa or Australia. It’s always a deep experience for me to be part of these communities, even if it is for a few days. Then I leave, always carrying a part of them in my heart. I believe that “Nostalgia” is a great, creative power. Greeks outside Greece have always made the best of it.

Q: Since we are talking about the Omogenia, I know that you have some shows lined up in Canada, have you ever visited Canada before?

AI - It’s going to be my first trip -ever- to Canada. From what I have already read about and from what some of my friends have told me I only have a positive impression both for the country and the Greek and Cypriot communities there. So I’m really looking forward to it!

Q: Us too.. So you are planning to give a live performance in Montreal and Toronto right? Where else are you going to appear?

AI - It’s a 6-concert North-American tour. It begins on April 20 in Virginia, then on the 22 we will be in Washington, on April 24 we will perform in New York city, on the 25 of April we have a concert in Toronto, on the 26 we will perform in Montreal and finally on April 28 we will be in Connecticut. Then return to Greece, play with our kids, put some laundry on and then its back on the road again…

Q: You are one of the few artists that has remained popular with Greek music lovers, an honest stable career. Were many sacrifices made for this, did it come with grave repercussions?

AI - Paying the price for the life you choose is a blessing. Accepting a life you despise for free is unaffordable.

Q: Before we end our interview I just want to know if there is a magic recipe for success, especially in the music industry.

AI - The only formula that I know is simple: Be yourself and respect your art and your audience.

Q: I almost forgot to ask about your new work, tell us a little bit about your new album.

AI - “Local Stranger” is my first international release. It’s a compilation of songs from my original albums, something like a “best of”, although I despise this term… It was released by Universal and Wrasse Records about a month ago. To be honest, I never really cared for a career abroad, I guess I never really cared about a career at home. It’s a bit like sending my kids away for vacation and it’s great to know that they can live their own lives, conduct their own journeys and positively affect other peoples lives without me.

Q: Alkinoo I am honored for this interview and want to wish you a successful tour may your music light the hearts of our Omogeneia with plenty of "Greece".

AI - Thank you. Kali antamosi.




ALIKINOS IOANNIDIS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

Friday, April 20, 2012 - NORFOLK, VA

The Kaufman Theatre at the Chrysler Museum of Arts

245 West Olney Road , Norfolk, VA 23510

Showtime starts at 8:00pm

Tickets can be purchased online at: http://paideia.eventsbot.com/

(Please have printed receipt to present at door)




Sunday, April 22, 2012 Washington, DC

Jack Morton Auditorium

Showtime at 8:00pm

With Yiorgos Kaloudis

ickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/15004 ... norcatid=5







Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - NYC, NY,

MERKIN CONCERT HALL, 129 W. 67th Street

Showtime starts at 8:00pm

(Joining him on stage is Yiorgos Kaloudis)

Instruments: Classical guitar, Eastern Lute, Cello, Cretan Lyra, Percussion)

For tickets http://kaufman-center.org/mch/event/alkinoos-ioannidis




Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - Toronto, ON

The Opera House

Showtime starts at 9:00pm

Tickets: http://www.ticketweb.ca/t3/sale/SaleEve ... Id=4416365




Thursday April 26, 2012 Montreal, PQ

D.B. CLARKE CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

Showtime starts at 8:00pm

Tickets: http://www.admission.com/venue/db-clark ... anguage=en

Saturday, April 28, 2012 - CONNECTICUTThe Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia, UCONN

Showtime starts at 7:00pm

$35 General Admission Tickets can be purchased at the door or at the following link:

http://eventsbot.com/events/eb153804394


http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.co.uk/2012 ... gives.html
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