09-05-07

Vassilis Papakonstantinou

 

Vassilis Papakonstantinou


Singer

Basilis Papakonstantinou was born in a village in Arcadia in 1950. In 1957 his large family moved to Athens.

His adolescence was marked by musical and social treads of the 60's: Mikis Theodorakis, protest rock, international peace and liberation movements, and Greece that was trying quickly to heal the wounds and to start to hope. The Left pursued to shelter and to give a perspective to the shattered disappointment by providing a sensitive and claiming culture. Vassilis Papakonstantinou became a follower without
ever becoming a member of a leftist party.

He started sin ging the so called artistic Greek songs. In 1973, after having served in the army, he went to Germany to Munich where he participated in anti-dictatorship committees and sang in a lot of places where Greek students and immigrants would
go. His first important encounter would be in the summer of 1974, when he met Mikis Theodorakis in Paris. Their co-operation was to start two years later.

In 1974 he returned to Greece and actually started then his professional carrier in singing. He sang
in clubs and recorded a forty-five. That year he also took part in the recording of Mano Loizo's "Ta Tragoudia tou Dromou" (Road Songs). In 1975 he recorded Thomas Bakalako's "Ta Agrotika" (Rural Songs). It was at that time he met two composers he
would closely co-operate with in the future: Manos Loizos and Thanos Mikroutsikos, two composers that in any case were bearing a fresh sound to Greek music.

Both of them, without faithfully following the traces of popular or artistic music of the famous earlier composers, promoted in new manners the songs of the large city. Papakonstantinou's
interpretation was ideal in expressing their dynamism and expressiveness.

In 1976 he co-operated with Mikis Theodorakis for the first time in the recording of "Tis Exorias" (Songs of Exile), and in 1978 the composer included him in the singers for his international tour, and sang in Europe, America, and Australia. At home he actively took part in youth and worker movement rallies. He sang at strikes, meetings, anti-racist and
anti-fascist concerts.

From that time on and just before the 80's he started demonstrating the influences from the international rock movement. He interprets songs with an obviously more electronic sound and with more acute and intervening lyrics. This trend appeared gradually in the two records he recorded in the early 80's; the first one was titled after his name and included songs written by Antonis Vardis and adaptations of songs written by Dionissis Savopoulos, Mikis Theodorakis and Luis Lach. The second one "Fovame" (I fear) with
songs composed by Manos Loizos, Lakis apadopoulos, Giannis Zouganelis and Giannis Glezos consolidates his profile from that time up to date.
He met Nickolas Assimos and took part in his first record "Xanapes" (Say it again) by singing two songs. Assimos became the second person after Loizos, who influenced him a lot with his peculiar personality.
In 1984 with his record "Dieresi" (Division) his new sound is finally established, in 1987 he reconfirms it in "Heretismata" (Greetings) including songs by Nickolas Assimos, Aphrodite Manou, and Christos Tolios.

By the mid-80's Vassilis Papakonstantinou is considered one of the most popular concert performers. This is the first time after the mid-70's at the fall of the dictatorship, when people start pilling in stadiums again to go to concerts. In April 1985, a 16,000 audience goes to his first major personal concert at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

The same thing happens in June 1988 at the Panathinaikos Field on Alexandras Avenue. From that time on his concerts are considered as major events and a measure of comparison regarding attendance. He has been the winner in the challenge to fill up all large spaces, mainly football fields where he has been singing every year up to date the late 90's.
He unites three generations of fans, and has a hard core of "educated" tenn-age fans.

At the end of the 80's we find him interpreting "tough" songs with lyrics written by Kostas Tripolitis and music by Thanos Mikroutsikos. In between he sings "Chorevo" (I am Dancing) and in the new decade he sang for the second time after 1978 in Nikos Kavvadia's and Thanos Mikroutsikos "Stavros tou Notou" (Southern Cross).

Although his songs of the last years follow the "sound" of large stages, he did not hesitate to record to LP's on the verses of two of the most celebrate Greek poets. In 1984 he sang
the verses of K. Karyotakis in the record named after the poet, and in 1993 "Fissai" (It is Blowing) on verses of Tassos Livaditis and music by Giorgos Tsegaris.

He interpreted Nickolas Assimos again in 1992 in "Falimento tou Kosmou" (The end of the World) and in the current decade he made "Sfedona" (Sling) in 1992 and "The Shikoni" (Impossible) in 1995, cooperating with Alkis Alkeos, Christophoros Krokides,
Vassilis Giannopoulos, Stamatis Mesimeris, Aphrodite Manou, Odysseas Ioannou, Minos Matsas.

The last record that hit the market in April 1997 under the title "Pes mou ena Psemma gia na Apokimitho" (Tell me a Lie to Sleep), includes songs of Nickolas Assimos, Apostolos Boulassikis (making his first appearance), Stamatis Messimeris, Giannis Ioannou, Vassilis Gianopoulos, Christophoros Krokides, as well as the song, "Malista Kyrie" (Yes Sir) by Giorgos Zabetas and Alekos Kagiantas.

Having twenty five
years in recording, Vassilis Papakonstantinou has obviously obtained the qualities of a major interpreter and surely is a star, that is to say an individual that combines being broadly accepted through his worries and his participation in the everyday minor or major "battles".