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Kristi's Secrets

"My younger brother was crazy with electronic things and he was fixing small radio receivers. All night through, when our parents would lock us inside our room to sleep, he would turn on and start fixing radios, and getting all this strange music from everywhere, and I was just listening. But this was not widely done. Not all the people were listening to such music in Greece, although now that I have started travelling a little bit more, I realise that Greeks, being merchants and people that travel a lot with boats, do have a very big openness to a lot of different kinds of music and you can discover African music, the East, Asia, in Greek music."

"Kalamáta was one of the first areas of Greece where young tourists of the hippy generation would start coming and camping freely and living naturally next to the sea. They were a very, very different image in my eyes, seeing them coming to the hometown of my father, in the conservative Kalamáta. To suddenly see these colourful young people with long hair and guitars... they were like idols to me. I think that this is one of the reasons why later, when I became a teenager and in my 20s, I was listening to rock and psychedelic music and everything that was coming from the West, that was not yet accepted in Greece, and not widely heard. There were just a few very underground places where you could buy the albums of Velvet Underground, or Jefferson Airplane.

"As a child, we were living in a typical Athenian classical old house where they had marble stairs to get to the first floor and they had very nice reverb. First of all I was imitating all the rock singers of that time; Nico, Grace Slick, Patti Smith later. At the same time I was trying to imitate the voices of the Byzantine church because they had the same reverb in the churches. So I liked to improvise and experiment with the sound of the voice in the various places of the house, or the mountains sometimes."

"I was playing with bands in high school, playing all this stuff. At the same time I was studying music and also trying to listen as much as possible to Greek traditional music which I loved. That was the time of the Greek junta, and unfortunately Greek traditional music had been used as a means of nationalist propaganda, and this made a large amount of people, mainly the people of the left, against traditional music. So I was afraid to even admit that I loved traditional music, because they would say 'you're nationalistic'. No, I've nothing to do with that. I hate that. It's just the music that I love."

This feature first appeared in fRoots 237, March 2003


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