Evanthia’s Feast from Alexandria to Bosphorus(A)

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Evanthia Reboutsika ‘s music is delicate beautiful stories about love and pain, music for the cinema with dramatic and graceful instincts, a voyager’s memories of places and feasts, and moods of her beloved spaces-the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and the Bosophorus.

Evanthia’s hometown was Kato Achaia, in Patra ,Peloponnese. She was born in 1958 and started violin lessons at the age of 6. Her father was the owner of a cinema hall. “Most of the times I was in the projection booth putting in order the frames of the movies and memorizing the scripts. I grew up in a village and remember strongly my childhood… it was like “Cinema Paradiso”. I loved Rota’s music and Italian films, especially those of Fellini and Visconti and I was listening constantly to the music of their movies.”

“Each one of my brother Plutarchos and sisters Joanna and Maria chose to learn a different instrument. At home, many times the four of us were pretending to be members of a band with improvised instruments. Our father was a great chanter of Byzantine music and he painted beautifully. So there was an artistic atmosphere in our home and we used to paint with him. The projection booth was also our small atelier. My father was good in playing for us plays of Shadow Theater and we were giving theatrical performances in the cinema. We had a van, which had on it the inscription “Cinema” and all the family was going on tour at villages of Peloponnese, giving performances at theaters, cinemas, schools, courtyards and vacant lots. My family loved classical music and I remember myself as a kid climbing on the trees of the garden with the violin at hand, trying to imitate the chirp of the birds. The violin was my game and my joy and my sisters and brother were my first colleagues”

The orchestral piece “Carousel” touches me in its nostalgia to celebrations and country fairs of far days and places, of a carefree childhood…

“Shortly after my childhood I remember our trip to Canada, participating in a contest for teenage orchestras. It was a very important time for me and I carry these memories with sweetness even today”. The quartet of Reboutsika brothers toured in Greece and abroad and in 1970 they moved to Athens where they continued their music studies at the Conservatory of Athens and then to the Greek Conservatory.

At 1979, as she was 21 she moved to Paris to study at the École Normale de Musique “It was a dream I had since I was a child to live and study in Paris and I still go often there. I like Edith Piaf a lot.  I learned a lot of things, I had a great teacher and this trip made me a better person”. There she met Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos (Παναγιώτης Καλαντζόπουλος), also a gifted musican and they got married.

She played with orchestras, but at some point she begun feeling the need to write music. “It came gradually into my life as something quite natural. Composing was more a need of my own than a professional goal. I feel secure when I write music. From my childhood I was tending to conjure up stories. The same happens when I write music. When I sit at the piano many times I live imaginary events”. In 1992 she released her first album “At the lake of the poppies” (Στη λίμνη με τις παπαρούνες), in cooperation with Panagiotis, her husband, and the singer Kristi Stasinopoulou.

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Giannis Kotsiras and Alexandria

Meeting the young singer Giannis (Yannis) Kotsiras in 1995 was a landmark in her career as well as his career. They released three albums which, as Kotsiras says, played the most decisive role in his evolution as a musician. The first Album of 1996 “Innocent Guilty” (Αθώος ένοχος) together with the lyricist Aris Davarakis (Άρης Δαβαράκης) and Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos had many great songs, one of them is “Alexandria”.

Evanthia’s East-West flavored music is integrated perfectly with the lyrics of Aris Davarakis who was born in Alexandria but due to political circumstances he and his family had to immigrate to Greece in the 1960s; all his life he has a very strong bond to his native city. In our updated post  “A City of Heaven and Earth”* we had described his story and feelings towards his childhood haunts, his mixed identity and how the “wow”-the “ya-salam” of Alexandria brought him to reconcile with his weaknesses and we told also about Alkistis Protopsalti’s Alexandrian roots.

Here is Giannis Kotsiras in later years. Press cc for English subtitles: 

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Just a Kiss (Μόνο ένα φιλί)

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A year later (1997) Kotsiras and Reboutsika brought to the world a marvelous album, “Just a kiss” (Μόνο ένα φιλί), this time with the lyricist Eleni Zioga (Ελένη Ζιώγα). The album was loved by people and quickly became platinum.

Here are three beautiful songs from this album in live performances of later years. Press cc for subtitles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Seven Glasses (Εφτά ποτήρια)

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Betrayal (Προδοσία)

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The Cigarette (Το τσιγάρο)

We bring again this love song, one of the most beautiful in Greek Music**

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“The Star and the Wish” (Το αστέρι κι η ευχή)

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In 1998 Evanthia Reboutsika released her famous album “The Star and the Wish” (Το αστέρι κι η ευχή) mostly an orchestral music and 4 vocal pieces. (Orchestration made by her brother Ploutarchos), which has, as someone wrote, “a beauty of a dreamy journey”.  The piece above “Carousel” is from that album.  The following piece “Through you” (Μέσα από σένα) is dedicate with many thanks to Katerina Siapanta who takes a part in this blog and loves this piece very much.

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Part B of this post is at https://greeksongstories.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/evanthias-feast-from-alexandria-to-bosphorusa/

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*  On Alexandria: https://greeksongstories.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/a-city-of-heaven-and-earth/

** See our post “To the Cigarette that I am Holding” at

https://greeksongstories.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/to-the-cigarette-that-i-am-holding/

The official videos:

Seven Glasses:  https://youtu.be/pBgZKK4Ucl8

Betrayal:  https://youtu.be/OZJhbAVG9ac

The Cigarette: https://youtu.be/86GNMokOup8

Alexandria:https://youtu.be/dR3sIqXws_c

Links are in the second part of this post.

Kotsiras official site: http://www.kotsiras.gr/

Thanks to Anastasia Thanela and Katerina Siapanta!

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2 Responses to “Evanthia’s Feast from Alexandria to Bosphorus(A)”

  1. Dan Matz Says:

    Enjoyed the May blog. Thank You. Danny.

  2. avinishri Says:

    Thanks!

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