By Dimitra Karagiannakou
On Sunday April 17th, Eleni Tsaligopoulou gave a unique performance at the Jack H. Skirball Center at NYU. She appeared with her companion in music and life, composer and pianist, George Andreou. The structure of the evening was based on the simple relationship between Andreou’s piano and Tsaligopoulou’s voice, taking place in a spare setting, but welcoming nonetheless. Both artists filled the hall with traditional and modern songs. As most of the seats of the music hall filled with Greeks and Cyprians, and the lights were softened, the artists entered and opened the first part of the show referring to the Sea, with the song Eivala by D. Moutsis.
After Mrs. Tsaligopoulou finished signing, she talked to the audience expressing her excitement in being a part of this event in this big city, New York. Then, the voice of Mrs. Tsaligopoulou and the music of Andreou flooded the hall with traditional songs such as “Tis Thalasses Stamata”, “Gynaika”, “Kegomai”, “Tzivaeri” and many others.
The first part of their performance covered poetic songs some inspired by Nikos Kavvadias poems and others written by famous Greek composers of the 20th century like George Spanos, and Dimitris Karatzas.
After a ten-minute break, the executive producer of Cosmos FM, Yiannis Simonidis, talked about that night’s event referring to the people who helped to make it happen. He thanked the benefactors, the patrons, the supporters, the friends and the media sponsors whose participation made this event a reality. However, he mostly thanked the performers, whose selfless willingness to make this appearance without a profit, shows their love and appreciation for supporting the radio station Cosmos FM, and simultaneously that of the audience.
During the second part of the program, all the big songs, either being known as part of her own artistic work or being works of other famous artists of the Greek culture and Arts, were brought into life with Andreou’s music and Tsaligopoulou’s voice. Some of the songs woke the voice of the audience and took charge of the microphone, leaving the performers speechless. Tsaligopoulou would stop signing, putting down her microphone and Andreou would stop playing, and the signing of the audience would fill the hall and bring a smile to the performers’ faces. Tsaligopoulou once playfully told Andreou:
“Listen to them…”, impressed by how many songs the audience knew. This change of characters, the audience performing and the performers listening, brought into surface the simplicity, love and liveliness that exists into the souls of this small Greek community.
Furthermore, the performers paid tribute to the memory of two legendary artists by whom they were inspired and who are not with us anymore. They dedicated the song Agapi Mou (M. Theodorakis) to Grigoris Bithikotsis and they sang Stavros Kougioumtzis’ Kapou Nyxtonei. Nevertheless, the two artists presented some of the songs and particularly the love songs as a part of a conversation between them.
In particular, Eleni adopted the songs in a personal and private level as she sang for her companion and he on the other hand, responded in a playful way spreading laughs and good energy towards the audience.
In conclusion, that majestic night filled with melody and satisfaction came to an end after a two-hour performance, which touched the singer Eleni and satisfied the Community. Both artists were pleased and appreciative of the welcoming response of the audience. Finally, the artists were offered flowers and with the applause and appreciation of the audience, they concluded with the traditional song S’agapo Giati Eisai Orea, which Eleni dedicated to all mothers.