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Books and Music

Song Crushes - September 2019

Eleftheria Arvanitaki

Contemporary Voice, Traditional Roots

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Trying to think back, I'm really having trouble thinking of a single song by Eleftheria Arvanitaki that I don't like, if not straight-up love. 


There's something about the quality of her voice - either strong and bell-clear, or dreamy and ethereal depending on the song. It's also her choice of music, which swings from upbeat and poppy to traditional and familiar to sweet and lyrical to almost ancient and pagan. No matter your taste in Greek music, there are likely new musical loves to be found if you give her a listen. 


I can't imagine ever getting bored listening to her. Her sheer versatility keeps my attention. 


One example of her wide choice of material is her album Tragoudia Gia Tous Mynes [Songs For The Months], which is a collection of songs based on poems written by poets Odysseas Elytis, Costas Karyotakis and Maria Polydouri. I remember listening to it while driving through the Peloponnesos with the sun beginning to set over the yellow broom-covered mountains of Arcadia, and thinking this was The. Perfect. Soundtrack. 


She's played Carnage Hall and has had records go platinum. She is a glittering star in the Greek music firmament and if you haven't heard her music (or haven't heard much of it), you owe it to yourself to go to YouTube and take a listen. With such remarkable range and variety, it's likely most people will find something they love. 


Here's a small range of Eleftheria's music. Let's start with her big pop hit "Dynata", with it's playful nod to Brazilian percussion...


1. Dynata


Now one of my favorites - a straight-up traditional Smyrneiko classic. There are many, many versions of this classic song and I like pretty much all of them, but this may be my favorite.


2. Tha Spaso Koupes


Let's just keep that sweet Anatolian vibe going with this next tune. I just heard it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and instantly loved it!


3. Apopse Sto Diko Sou Machala 


This is from the gorgeous album Tragoudia Gia Tous Mynes, which I mentioned above. This particular song is music set to a poem by Oddyseas Elytis, the Nobel-prize winning Greek poet. 


4. Ola Ta Pire To Kalokairi 


From the same album, a dreamy song derived from the ancient poetess Sappho...


5. Sapfo

And let's finish off on a high note with this upbeat traditional tune!


5. Chorepsete

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