Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Demis Roussos at The Theatre of Herodus Atticus - The Herodeion - Friday, 25 June 2010

'I would like to tell a very beautiful story now, a story about myself and a very old friend of mine, the Wind.... you know, everytime I go back to Greece and climb up to the small hill which is outside of Athens, I meet my friend the Wind and he's telling me beautiful stories, sad stories and happy stories, and then, as the time is passing by with the sound of the bouzoukis coming through Athens....'

With this introduction,  our internationally acclaimed Global Greek performer, Demis Roussos, launches into an unusual version of, yes you guessed it, My Friend the Wind, at his concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London , at the height of his career in 1974.

Interspersed with words such as Agape Mou, (Αγάπη μου), Manoula Mou, (Μανούλα μου)  and Eleni Mou (Ελένη μου), the song became an international hit and the sound of the bouzouki could be heard everywhere... a sound which would make it instantly recognisable.

My Friend the Wind, a song which would speak straight to the heart of Greeks no matter where they were in the world and which 36 years later still manages to travel us back to the sunny and carefree days of the endless Greek summer...

Demis was born Artemios  Ventouris Roussos on June 15, 1946 to 2nd generation Greek parents George and Olga, and raised in Alexandria, the heart of Egypt's wealthy and prosperous Greek Community.

When the Suez Crisis  blew up, his family was one of the many families  who were effectively expelled, leaving all their property and assets behind and forced to go to back to their homeland, Greece.

In Greece, Demis, who had a sound musical education, and exposure to many musical influences, Byzantine, Greek and Arabic,  participated in various musical bands beginning with The Idols when he was 17, the We Five and others.

In 1968 Demis, Vangelis (Papathanassiou) and Lucas Sideras, all former schoolmates at Athens' prestigious Leontios Lykeion, formed Aphrodite's Child, a group which would gain international success with songs such as and It's 5 O'Clock and Rain and Tears 

Even though Aphrodite's Child soon disbanded and each of them began solo careers, their friendship didn't end and Demis and Vangelis continued to record together occasionally.  
Their most successful collaboration was "Race to the End", a vocal adaptation of the musical theme from the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire, also sung in Spanish as "Tu Libertad", whilst Demis also guested on the soundtrack to Blade Runner (1982) in the song Tales of the Future.)

Demis' solo career began with the song "We Shall Dance" but he released many successful songs, with wonderful melodies.

His single, "Forever and Ever", topped the charts in several countries in the mid 70's and  "My Friend the Wind" was one of his many international hits. 

Other hits with their special Greek flavour which became well known internationally and are still very popular today include

"Velvet Mornings"

"Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye",

and "Lovely Lady of Arcadia".

He appeared on various TV shows throughout Europe, and his guest slots on The Nana Mouskouri show in the UK, were among the most popular. 

Here our two Global Greeks duet on a very catchy traditional Greek song, To Gelekaki..  (Το Γελεκάκι)

On another of her shows, Nana and Demi sing a duet version of his hit single "Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun".

Based primarily in Athens, where his son, Cyril, went to school, Demis travelled extensively between London, (we remember meeting him at the Christmas Day service in 1984 at London's Aghia Sophia), Paris and many other cities in the following years. Demis continued to record many new songs but also recorded some of his hits in other languages. 

In 1985 as a passenger on a TWA flight with his wife, he had a life-changing experience when the flight was hijacked on departure  from Athens and on surviving this ordeal, he felt like he was given a new lease on life. Apparently the hijackers were so impressed that they had a celebrity of Demis' stature on the flight that they even celebrated his upcoming birthday together...

After 1985 he made a comeback releasing new songs which became widely popular and has made a lot of personal appearances, including tours and concerts in Russia, Dubai, Germany, Holland and other European countries.

We are really looking forward to seeing and listening to Demi's unique voice as he performs old favourites and new at his much-awaited concert on 25 June 2010, at 9 pm, kicking off his world tour at the  Herodus Atticus Theatre under Athens' magnificent Parthenon. 

Demis, we thank you for all the wonderful music you have given us. We are really looking forward to your concert... we are really looking forward to hearing the music we loved and the songs we sang along to as we were growing up in the various Greek Communities  around the world. These beautiful nostalgic songs and melodies from one of Greece's most talented ambassadors, helped made Greek music so popular around the world.  

If you want to go, click here, but bear in mind that the tickets went on sale on 4th of June  and sold like hot ....souvlakia!

See you there!

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