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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 April 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 APRIL 2019 17 ART Greek artist Stefanos Rokos and Australian musician Nick Cave show how inspiration can leap from one artistic medium to another. When art Romiosini is one of Mikis Theodorakis’ (L) greatest works, a cycle of songs based on the poetry of Yiannis Ritsos (R). the two-part presentation." And as Basis adds, "it is important to showcase the other side of Mikis Theodorakis too. He is not only the composer who has done orchestral works and used poetry, but has an array of popular and love songs, songs with concepts that have remained relevant today and portraying everyday Greece in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Who would not be touched by these songs that have nurtured so many generations?" A SNEAK PEEK LOOK INTO A MULTILAYERED EVENT In the second part of the performance, the orchestra and soloist will be joined by a band led by Sydney-based musician George Doukas featuring Greek instruments and including...- yes, you guessed right - the popular bouzouki, while concertmaster, or in other words Ellis' right hand person, will be world class violinist Dimitris Kalligeros. Asked about the challenges of preparing such a big undertaking, Basis and Ellis debunk the myth of a puzzling experience. Things are much simpler than one would imagine, says the Greek singer, thanks to his familiarity with Theodorakis' music and having worked on Romiosini in the past. "George Ellis and I have developed a really good collaboration for the past three years [via the Greek Festival of Sydney]. He is a great musician and maestro, we've been preparing for a year now...and music really is essentially notes." "Basis has been a key collaborator," says Ellis. "We consulted with him in order to choose together which pieces we would do for the second part[...] Initially George Doukas, Basis and I had a conference call talking about which repertoire we Mikis Theodorakis wanted to do and after various emails - the whole process took at least two to three weeks - we came up with [the] full list of the programme." A year after, with a few weeks left for the tour, everything is at its final stage, with musicians in the various states where concerts will take place receiving the final orchestral parts before all artists get together to rehearse before the big day. "Yes, it does take a lot of coordination and musical forces on performance day," Ellis admits. "It can be tricky and sometimes things can go wrong but we cope, and I've got great people working with me for this concert." If anything, Ellis is used to big performances, having amongst others conducted for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and served as musical director and conductor for the Athens Olympics. So is Basis, having for years now established not only a successful career in Greece, but also his place as an international vocalist. In fact, this will be his sixth time performing Down Under. "Based on my experience, I can say that the Australian audience is exceptionally enthusiastic and I personally feel moved by it. Perhaps owing to the big distance from the homeland, the fact that some have not visited Greece for years what I've witnessed happening every time I perform here and expect to be the same with Romiosini And Beyond is an open communication during the concert." He further reflects on how younger generations of Greek Australians have been learning about and enjoying aspects of our cultural heritage thanks to efforts championed by the Greek Festivals and communities broadly. "This is why I want to express my gratitude towards the Greek communities around Australia starting from Sydney and the Greek Festival who took the initiative in approaching Mikis[....]It started so organically and here we are ahead of a tour covering five cities." It is fair to say that those attending Romiosini And Beyond will not only join a celebration of one of Greece's greatest composers. Importantly, the audience is invited to take a trip down Greek memory lane and revisit the parts of our identity we should be embracing. "This concert speaks to the soul of every Greek person at present time when things are difficult for the homeland. "These songs written as far as 50 and 60 years ago have remained relevant because the message they reflect is one of unity. Greeks have achieved great things whenever they've stayed united. And this is something worth remembering." Delphi Bank proudly supports the Australian tour of Romiosini And Beyond as the principal sponsor. *For tickets visit: Perth (10 May) bit.ly/th19perth Melbourne (17 May) melbournerecital.com.au Brisbane (22 May) qpac.com.au Sydney (24 May) cityrecithall.com Darwin (1 June) yourcentre.com.au and music meet Greek artist Stefanos Rokos’ exhibition at the Benaki Gallery is inspired by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds G reek artist Stefanos Rokos was inspired by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds that he created an entire series of paintings inspired by the album, 'No More Shall We Part' years after first listening to the album. Mr Rokos states that the 14 paintings, currently on display at the Benaki Gallery in Athens, where created 17 years after the creation of the album. They show how dialogue can be developed between two artistic forms - those of painting and song writing. "A long time after my first hearing of 'No More Shall We Part', I recognised that the images that formed inside me when I first heard the songs of that album were still within me. And so, in 2015, more mature artistically, I decided that, for as long as it took, I would commit myself fully to the materialisation of an idea I had been developing for years," he said. “My aim was to attempt an entirely personal visual approach of 'No More Shall We Part', creating 14 paintings inspired by the 14 tracks of the album – the original 12 songs and the two b-sides that were included in the limited edition release," he said. Australian singersongwriter Nick Cave was impressed by Rokos' efforts. "It was extraordinary to stand in the studio and see the paintings for real – the grandeur of them, with all their congested details and terrifying blank spaces. I feel connected to the essence of them. I feel they are very close to the way I write lyrics – intense bursts of memory, ecstatic detail, sudden erotics, esoteric imagery; the forging of frozen narratives that hover about like dreams, haunted and strange and life-affirming," he said. The transposition will not end here. Rokos plans to create an art book, along with Antiopi Pantazi's embroidery inspired by the same music. His artworks will be on display at the Benaki Gallery through to 19 May. Rokos’ artwork, titled ‘Darker With the Day’.
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