Alkinoos Ioannidis'(Αλκίνοος Ιωαννίδης) thrills three of us that take part in this blog: Anastasia, Katerina and I. For my Greek friends it is a long time love affair and for me it is mostly new, exciting discovery. He is firstly a musician, poet and singer. Listening to his songs and orchestration is full of surprises as his music has a spectacular range. Sometimes it is a quartet that goes along with his tenor voice, one time the classical cello gives the prominent color, and other time the Cretan Lyra, a recorder or other wind instruments…Choir and orchestra has a role in some songs but also electrical rock, pop, Jazz or Mediterranean folk …Very much the same can be said about the variety of his lyrics.
Alkinoos’ songs have a close connection to many other arts. Literature and poetry, theatre and painting are all among sources of his creativity as much as encounters with people in Greece and abroad, living in various places, being a traveler and even times of vacations and laziness… All these experiences are deep in his mind and they become songs as he stays at his basement, in a complete solitude, in the quietness of small hours of the night. There, as he weaves his songs with his humanity, love to people and compassion, he turns his loneliness into a way of communication with so many people.
Alkinoos Ioannidis’ early years defined his way in life. He was born in 1969 in Nicosia, Cyprus. His father is a painter, his mother worked in the radio. It was a house full of culture and music and Alkinoos was harmonious with it. “I loved music and literature from an early age and instantly I loved their “common child” which is the song.” He was revealed to many styles of music: “Greek composers and songwriters of the past decades, the classical music collection of my father, as well his paintings, the rock of my adolescence,composers of the twentieth century that I loved, the alternative foreign scene, the great songs of my contemporary colleagues, Byzantine and traditional music of my homeland Cyprus,all are always with me”
As a young boy he wanted to be a drummer, making drumsticks from chopsticks that his parents brought from a Chinese restaurant and destroyed all his mother furniture… He wanted that they will buy him a set but it was too expensive and there were no teachers for this in Cyprus. So he got a guitar; “The rhythm of guitar, boy, it’s just the same as the drums!” said his mother, “And I believed her! …much later, as I was 16 I found an old man who was playing in festivals and he gave me some drum lessons by … chairs. He would set up the chairs as a set and we played there…”
He was almost 5 years he experienced traumatic events; the coup in Cyprus and the Turkish invasion(1974). The junta had captured his mother, together with some of her colleagues in the radio, for a few days inside the station. They were forced to read some of their announcements under the threat of a gun…He and his brother were hiding under the table as the Turks’ bombardments begun and when Turk paratroopers started descending his father Antis led him to the window and for not being afraid he said to Alkinoos: “Look how nice they are going down”
Alkinnos magic artistic journey begun as he came to Athens in 1989 at age 20. He studied theater and philosophy, worked on TV, played roles in the theater. From that time he has been acting for time to time.
He wanted to be a film director and in parallel dealt also with music, getting the appreciation of the singer Dimitra Galani. She pushed a record company, despite their doubts, to release his first album “In the market of the world” (Στην αγορά του κόσμου), with songs by Nikos Zoudiaris. The album got immediately platinum. In 1995 he released his second successful album, of the same songwriter “As secretly and quietly”( Όπως μυστικά και ήσυχα).
Alkinoos on Theatre and Music: “These two arts connect us directly with our childhood. That is why in most languages we say “play” music “playing” theater, while we do not say “play” painting or “play” mathematics. The moment the lights go down (in concert or in theater) is always for me a mystical demolishing of any restrictive certainty, a victory of myth and mystery”
The road the time and the pain (Ο δρόμος, ο χρόνος και ο πόνος 1997)
In this album Ioannidis appears for the first time as the composer and the lyricist of all the songs. Ioannidis’ official site says that “although most media and discography people characterized this album as too “underground” or progressive for a recently established “mainstream” singer, and some even predicted the end of his career, the audience supported it and it soon became gold… The poetic, strong and deep lyrics, along with his multi-style music, disclose the search of a deep character, despite trends and norms”
Everything that love dreams of (Όσα η αγάπη ονειρεύεται)
Still, one of the album’s most beloved songs is connected to the style of the popular song (Laika). Alkinoos had not heard this music at home; He could hear some of it only when he was out with friends. In 1994 Alkinoos was rehearsing songs with Dimitra Galani, Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Gerasimos Andreatos for their appearances in the famous “Harama”(Χάραμα) club. He found that, not like him, his colleagues had a strong relationship with this music but he had to sing some of these songs and play in others…And so, at age 24 he discovered the great masters of Rebetika and Laika. During one rehearsal he isolated himself in a dressing room and began writing the song. Shortly after, at home, he finished it.
For all the songs press cc in the video for English caps
This is an appealing and beloved song. Its idea is that when we see something extremely ugly or execpetionally beautiful we hate and expel it because we recognize in it part of ourselves we don’t want to know its existence. In other words judging people by their appearance backfires on us. The idea came in Alkinoos’ mind while he was in bed for few days, having fever. He was reading a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez “A very old man with enormous wings”, thinking wrongly that the story delivers this idea. He realized later his mistake but the song was already written and the message, of course, stand by itself.
Alkinoos father Antis’ paintings appear on all his personal albums’ covers, and this time influenced the title, as Alkinoos tells:”It’s a strange story… the original idea came from a sketch of my father who is in the packaging of the album, with a human finger and a feather that served as a weather vane. I had written a classical guitar piece with the same title which was not finally entered in the album but I kept the title. This album is called “Vane” because these songs indicate on things about me. It’s like a diary of things that I lived or imagined .They show my mood at any time. It’s like there’s a weather vane, which according to the north wind or south wind is watching from here or from there…”
It was a dream (Όνειρο ήτανε)
The story of this song is quite unusual. A friend of Alkinoos had a love story in his dreams with an imaginary girl who was appearing in his sleep once and again … One day he was dreaming about her and she was weeping, telling him that he would never see her again and so it happened…It was a dream…
Alkinoos’ father had taken part in making imaginative video:
I will be next to you (when you need me) (Θα ‘μαι κοντά σου (όταν με θες))
A little bit of jazz…
Links and credits in the second part of the story at:
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