This is the last part of Alkinoos Ioannidis’ work. Part A is at
The album was released six years after Ioannidis’ previous personal album. “The “Downpour” is an album with inner intentions. It includes very important and intensive events of my life… It is mostly the memory of the downpour than the downpour itself… Downpour means surprise, unexpected coolness, an out of season or out of your will or control severe fact, which catches you unprepared .This material came as redemption. It includes my experiences from the composition courses in St. Petersburg, my interest in classical music, my encounter with poetry and literature, my marriage, my two daughters, my tours in Greece and abroad, but it is not a box of experiences; it maybe the generator of experiences.”
The songs have strong influence but they do not caress the ears; they do not follow fashions and are not aimed to be easily consumable. In an amazing variety of styles and orchestrations he delivers the truths that hurt, redeem him, wound him, enrage him and heal him … The lyrics move from political protest like “Homeland”-Πατρίδα, to humorous comments; in “Did it have to happen?”- Ήταν ανάγκη Ioannidis is talking with humor about the aging artist. There are lyrics about simple things and the basic questions of existence.
The album was welcomed by some critics as the most important Greek album of the decade.
Alkinoos says about the song in which he uses a big orchestra: “This song speaks of the ultimate humiliation of a person-“love” or the “need” to live albeit temporarily with another person. It is the supreme humiliation, but at the same time the ultimate gift as you realize that yourself is not enough for you. You realize how small you are, everything around you stop making sense, they seem small, mortal and ugly and you are forced to admit that your hope is in the hands of another person. Even if you know many times that you will end up alone some day and that sometimes you’ll wish or you would rather prefer to have some moments of loneliness.”
(press for English caps. You can edit the size and the color of the caps. The translations of the album’s two song are from his official site)
The Passing (Πέρασμα)
The soprano Sonia Theodoridou and a choir take part in this wonderful song. The cover of the album was created, as usual, by Alkinoos’ father, Antis.
Small suitcase (Μικρή βαλίτσα-2014)
The album was produced during the hard crisis in Greece, which caused Alkinoos Ioannidis to agree, with very hard feelings to his company demand to attach his first three albums to a magazine to finance the album. In order to get distance from the stormy events, he and his mates to the production isolated themselves for a very long time, away from their families, in some basement out of town.
Alkinoos says that this album is his most truthful. In a small suitcase you put only the very basic, important things, when you have to leave your homeland. It had almost happened to him three times in the years before due to personal and family circumstances and the country situation. “What will I put in this suitcase, in this small suitcase? What I would keep from the place, the era and myself if I would leave? What are the minimum necessary ones to fit the needs so something else is removed? As hastily fleeing refugees that take their chaplets and their photos, I booked in ” Little Suitcase ” some folk (laika) songs, among pictures of our face and time.”
It is his most honest album also because, he says, for the first time “I had no anxiety to do something fresh and experimental” and he didn’t chase success. … The album is dedicated “for those who are forced to leave the place and for those who are being abandoned by it.”
The first song of the album “It will always dawn again” (Πάντα θα ξημερώνει) is connected to the murder of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fissas (2013). “I felt darkness coming from everywhere and choking me, but at the same time I felt the need to speak about the small, unborn glimmer, which in the deep darkness sustains the promise of full of light day”
Ioannidis doesn’t use in the album electric instrument and percussion. In this song the strings of a quartet are broken and the title gives the hope… (No translation)
From the few folk style songs in his small suitcase there is one which he wrote in the old rebetika style and is referring to the oldest rebetis ever, Giorgos Katsaros (Γιώργος Κατσαρός, 1888-1997!).“The belle of the village” (Η ωραία του χωριού-No translation)
The following two songs, about the situation in Greece, move me a lot. In “What more are you waiting for” (Τι περιμένεις πια) Alkinoos “describes in an admirable way the uncertainty, the thoughts that torment the mind of someone living in Greece and seeing the bad times closing in. The last verse and the last chorus is written in form of advice,” Take your life in your own hands, build your future, don’t keep letting others decide for you!” (Katerina Siapanda). Alkinoos is also playing the Cretan lute in a wonderful duet with another Cretan instrument- the Lyre (Lyra).
The beautiful title song “Little suitcase” is sung a –capella, as one is talking to himself about the heavy pain of leaving the country, not with real vision of a new life ahead, but with a deep feeling of failure…
“I believe in the capability of a man to change everything with its strength and in the power of the whole. By watching our way of life and how this has been formed the last years I become suspicious to the mass movements.
A personal illusion of mine is the sense that if you become better as an individual you prepare the field where something special might grow. By strengthening your resistance to exploitation without fanfare you keep alive the seed that might blossom one day. I think we live in a time that we are waiting of something better”
The poem “Homeland”
Many thanks to Anastasia Thanela and Katerina Siapanda!
Anastasia Thanela (Nata) writes about a concert of Alkinoos Ioannidis:
Afternoon of 18th of September 2015 …the garden of the Music Hall of Athens is crowded with people sitting on the grass like having a picnic and waiting to see Alkinoos. Among them I also enjoying the coolness and being excited as it was the first time I was visiting this place and I would hear from close my favorite artist. While I was staring around so to forget my impatience the lights dimmed…and a sudden explosion of color and sound. I admit I was unprepared for such an opening and also surprised to the first sounds, which gave me the sense that I would watch a concert close to classical sounds, as the leading role had a peculiar string quartet, in which the place of the first violin takes a bouzouki with three strings … and we heard the strong voice of Alkinoos singing “it will always dawn”, a song was written in the memory of Pavlos Fissas.
He dedicated his songs from his album “small suitcase” to the Greeks leaving their country because of the crisis and to Syrian people doing the same thing due to war. I saw exactly what is written about him …a man that despite his 40 years seemed like a humble and low profile boy, with a voice that could be strong or sensitive. His performance reminded people that music and songs, during times of crisis, are not a luxury, but a way of effective communication and coexistence… When the performance was finished people was calling him again and again on stage and I believe they would never been satisfied no matter how many songs he could sing for them…finally he was singing a-cappella a lullaby from Cyprus … and I believe that everybody, people in the eight hospitals around and who were present in the garden could sleep sweetly with his velvet voice and this great interpretation…