HomeCommunityNight of nostalgia in Sydney: Celebrating Stavros Kougioumtzis' legendary music

Night of nostalgia in Sydney: Celebrating Stavros Kougioumtzis’ legendary music

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On Sunday, March 24, The Great Club in Marrickville will honour a Greek music legend with a special tribute show taking centre stage.

The show, ‘A Tribute to Stavros Kougioumtzis,’ by Irene Vacondios and Sotiris Procopiou will be held in conjunction with the Greek Festival of Sydney and is expected to wow crowds of all ages with Greek songs everyone knows and loves by the renowned Greek composer – Stavros Kougioumtzis.

Born on July 23, 1932, Kougioumtzis was known for being one of the most significant Greek composers of the 20th century. He died on March 12, 2005, leaving behind a lasting impact on the music industry.

Some of his classic hits include ‘Poune ta Chronia,’ ‘Mi Mou Thimoneis Matia Mou,’ ‘Oi Eleutheroi Ki Oraioi,’ ‘To Kokkino Foustani,’ ‘Na Tane to 21’ and many more.

In an interview with The Greek Herald, singer Irene said Kougioumtzis was responsible for kickstarting the recording careers of many iconic Greek artists.

Bouzouki player. Photo: supplied from Irene

“These included George Dalaras, Yiannis Kalantzis, Haris Alexiou and Anna Vissi. Kougioumtzis’ influence resonates through generations and people still listen to his songs today,” Irene said.

“I remember growing up listening to Yiannis Kalantzis, and my dad loved him too, and a lot of my favourite songs sung by Kalantzis were actually written by Kougioumtzis, and that includes a lot of songs by Dalaras, Haris Alexiou and Anna Vissi as well.

“There are so many classic Greek songs that we all know and love, yet we probably didn’t know that Kougioumtzis wrote them. We look forward to performing them for everyone.”

Irene said Kougioumtzis’ repertoire spans from the early ’60s to the late ’90s, with many ballads and timeless classics.

“His songs evoke nostalgia and memories of growing up with immigrant parents,” Irene said. “Many of us didn’t realise the depth of his influence until later in life.”

Kougioumtzis pics. Top one, supplied. Bottom: Irene and Kougioumtzis, supplied by Irene

The tribute show involves a talented ensemble of seven members, who people should expect to see perform 30-35 songs. It includes Prokopiou and John Zaharis on bouzouki, Irene on vocals, John Logothetis on keyboard, Ignatis Mariolas on guitar, Theo Samartzis on bass and George Constantinou on drums.

Irene said the two-and-a-half-hour show will feature anything from Kougioumtzis’ iconic hits to soulful melodies.

“A lot of the Kougioumtzis songs we will perform have political overlays, given that they were written around the Houda era, however many of his songs we will perform will also touch on themes of love, heartbreak to migration,” she said.

“There will be an array of hasapika, zembekika, tsiftetelia, karsilamathes and ballads performed, with something for everyone to enjoy.”

The Sydney ensemble singer said the show is more than just about entertaining, it’s about fostering connections with Greek music and preserving our cultural heritage.

“We’re so excited to see familiar faces who have been following us over the last seven years, as well as meet new audiences,” Irene said.

“From younger generations to older generations, to non-Greeks, our aim is to share the magic of Kougioumtzis’ music with everyone.

“We love it when people come up to us after a show and say thank you for the show, thank you for the tribute and for the memories, as we get the opportunity to take people back in time with music, where they reminisce to when they first heard these classic songs when growing up.

“We love having opportunities like this, where we get to take people on an educational and musical journey, and we get to do what we love and share that with our audience. There is such a wealth in Greek music that people don’t realise, and we look forward to bringing more artists and composers into the mix in the future.”

Drummer. Photo: supplied by Irene

Procopiou, the ensemble’s bouzouki player, said he also looked forward to having people come along to the performance.

“I feel so happy and excited to be performing these Greek hymn songs (of Stavros Kougioumtzis),” Procopiou said.

He described Kougioumtzis’ songs as “gems of Greek music.”

“What I love most about Stavros Kougioumtzis is that he puts his soul and his personality into his work, and you can see it come out in his divine songs,” he added.

‘A Tribute to Stavros Kougioumtzis’, by Irene Vacondios and Sotiris Procopiou will take place on Sunday, March 24 at 7 pm at The Great Club in Marrickville. To book tickets, visit Oztix.com.au.

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