Saturday, April 5, 2014

20 Question Time... Global Greek Style: Conversation with Olympic Composer John Psathas

His Hellenism pushed him to get where he is today 
and his Global Greeks for Greece Dream Team would be food-based...

John Psathas took time out from his very busy schedule to take part in our 
20 Question Time... Global Greek Style 
John Psathas
Wellington, New Zealand 

One of our very talented and accomplished Global Greek Ambassadors in the World
 Celebrated Athens 2004 Olympic composer, Professor of Music, 
New Zealand's busiest composer. 

John is in Greece at the moment to catch up with his family, take part in the Evmelia International Music Festival in Volos,  and record at Athens' Sierra Studios for the Greek and Armenian Genocide 100 year commemorations.

20 Question Time... Global Greek Style 

Hellenism is…
 A love of life.
Becoming brothers with a fellow Hellene in a matter of minutes.
Celebrating life through music, dance, and good company.

Did your Hellenism help get you where you are? How?


As a composer in New Zealand, my Hellenism pushed me beyond the more restrained Anglo-Saxon approach to music making and gave me the confidence to create more intense, hot-blooded music. This intensity, more than anything else, has underpinned my international career.

Being Greek: Best Part….

Family - Music - Food – Dialogue

Being Greek: Worst part….

Weight problems!

Greeks who inspire(d) you…

My Father.
Musicians I work with;
Sofia Labropoulou
Manos Achalinotopoulos
Petros Kourtis
Vagelis Karipis
Spiros Sinopoulos
Andreas Pappas 
Kostas Theodorakos

Greeks you like…

Greeks you don’t like…

Know-it-all’s who don’t stop talking

Your favourite Greek word…

Kali Orexi….

Your favourite Greek spot in the world…

The front porch of my parents house in Michaniona (photo below)

Your favourite Greek song…

Mana Mou Ellas (as sung by George Dalaras on the Xarhakos album the “Live at the Pallas”)

Your favourite Greek meal… Who cooked it?

My mother, who else?

Your favourite Greek book…

Zorba the Greek

Your happiest Greek memory….

Easter with my family in Michaniona
Opening ceremony of Athens2004
‘The New Zeibekiko’ concert in Auckland 2011 
(where 2500 New Zealanders were stomping for more encores from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Manos Achalinotopoulos and Petros Kourtis)

Your saddest Greek memory…

Saying goodbye to my family as I return to New Zealand (repeated many times)

Global Greeks at the Nobels  - Who would you nominate? Why?

You meet the Prime Minister of Greece on the beach this summer…What would you tell him?

I would be speechless, unable to put my thoughts and feelings into words…………..

You are the Prime Minister of Greece… for a week!
What three things would you do first? 

  1.  Reduce Inequality
  2. Eliminate corruption
  3. Motivate the Greeks that are leaving in a new diaspora to want to stay and make Greece a better place for their descendants
That’s all!

You’re one of our several million Global Greeks who are Greece’s Ambassadors in the World. Public Diplomacy at its best!  Have you done something to help Greece today?

Organized recordings at Sierra studios with musicians listed above. These new recordings will be combined with video and shared worldwide to commemorate (in 2015) Genocides of 100 years ago, including our own and Armenia’s.

Who would you include in a ‘Global Greeks for Greece’ Dream Team?

It would be food-based;
 the best Greeks-of-the-kitchen (maker of the best moussaka, best stifatho, baklava, trigonakia, melitzanosalata…..
(this list is very long, should I continue….?)

And now for the best part… 
Create a picture of YOUR Greece … what would you put in it?

A modern society based on the best of what we have in us as Greeks;
compassion, strong family and community foundations, curiosity, creativity, and our beautiful love of life.

Thank you John - Great talking to you!
Ευχαριστούμε πολύ!

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