Carnegie Hall to Welcome Eleftheria Arvanitaki, 2/1
On Saturday, February 1 at 8:00 p.m., internationally renowned Greek singer, Eleftheria Arvanitaki makes her Carnegie Hall debut bringing a distinctive blend of the urban folk music genre rebetiko and contemporary Greek music to Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. In addition to her reputation for seamlessly transitioning between these genres, Arvanitaki is also well known for high energy live performances and eclectic collaborations, including her interpretations of the works of contemporary composers and poets whose works she sets to music.
Rebetiko has its origins in an oral tradition where improvisation played an important role in both the music and lyrics. The music often features a rough, almost raw sounding vocal performance which reflects the musical tradition born during turbulent times in the large ports in and around Greece-specifically the resettlement of over a million Greeks refugees from Asia Minor in the 1920s-as well as the realities found in Greek underground culture and shanty towns that grew up around Athens, Piraeus and other cities. These refugees brought their music with them, and it had a prominent effect on the urban music of Greece. The songs explore the collective human experiences with themes of pain, nostalgia, tenderness, death and love. Arvanitaki's voice and musical style has been shaped by the living tradition of rebetiko as she takes the intense emotions found in the rhythms from the Mediterranean and the Oriental worlds and fuses them with the rhythms existing in the dances of the traditional Greek feasts (or glentia).
Arvanitaki's musical career began in the early 1980s in Athens where she made a name for herself fronting her own group, Opisthidromiki Kompania, before launching her solo career in 1985. By the mid-1990s, she had gained an audience in Greece and beyond when the historic jazz label Verve issued her album, Eleftheria Arvanitaki-The Very Best of 1989-1998. This proved to be a springboard into her international acclaim and started her on the road towards years of celebrated musical collaborations and appearances at international music festivals and concert halls the world over.
Throughout a career spanning three decades, Arvanitaki has toured extensively, performing in celebrated concert venues including: La Cigale in Paris; Madison Square Garden and Town Hall in New York; Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Barbican Centre in London; the Sydney Opera House in Australia; Teatro Albeniz in Madrid and Palau de la Música in Barcelona; Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Carré in Amsterdam and many more. Festival appearances include performances at Womad, the Montreux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Sfinks festival in Belgium, the Millennium End Festival in Barcelona, "Los Veranos de la Villa" Festival in Madrid, and the Stimmen Festival in Germany, among others. Notably, in June 2006, she opened the renewed Greek Festival, giving two sold out concerts at Greece's Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens in which she performed songs for films created by Academy Award-winning Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis. In 2000, she had the honor of singing for the Pope as part of the Jubileum della Terra, and in 2004 she sang as part of the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games.
Notable collaborations include performances with Cesaria Evora, Buika, Dulce Pontes, Teofilo Chantre, and Amaral among others. She performed the traditional Greek song Tzivaeri as part of composer Philip Glass's work Orion-a piece inspired by the musical traditions of the five continents. She also collaborated with Spanish composer and Grammy winning-producer Javier Limón on two albums-her own Mírame which combines sounds and rhythms from Greece, Spain, Cuba and Northern Africa, and his album Mujeres de Agua alongside vocalists Mariza, Estrella Morente, and Buika.
In September 2010, Arvanitaki travelled to Ivory Coast as a UNICEF Ambassador for the Campaign to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. Her forthcoming album is expected in spring 2014.
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