How magical can Monday nights become, with a fresh girl waiting to sing to you a cappella, with her charismatic voice, wonderful songs and to recite lyrics of great poets! There, in a neighborhood of Kipseli, with the once appealing apartment buildings, where an apartment, with heating and hot water was the dream of the newly arrived people of the Greek provinces.
Apartments which embraced the dream of a better and more comfortable life. Apartment buildings – witnesses of the class distinctions, the highest being the top floor and then rolling down to the basement, full of…petrol fumes from the burner.
Now, these apartment buildings, most of them, have been abandoned to time’s ruthless decay, with their common spaces looking like victims of the economic crisis, with empty burners, and with empty rings on the entrance staircases, which in the past used to hold the gold-plated bars which in turn kept the (preferably) red carpet of the entrance in place.
So, there, in the suffocating Cyprus Street, art is breathing, at the KET – Television Control Center (http://polychorosket.gr/). Every Monday (until 28th December) Christina Maxouri, stuck in “Borrowed Shoes”, awaits to show us with pride her own decorated basement, with two benches where she has placed her companions on this “handmade performance” – her clarinet, her falsetto baglamadaki2, her glockenspiel…
She has hung pictures from her childhood on the wall, on the base of the bench there are neatly placed books and further away there is an umbrella made by palm tree leaves waiting to be opened by “Les pêcheurs de perles”.
“Let your little hand” she sings to us as she greets us. And we let ourselves be swept by her wonderful performance of old and new melodies, which she stops every now and then, takes one of her favorite books and reads Hadjidakis, Elitis, Peresiadis, Shakespeare. And then resumes her singing.
She calls two friends of hers, Fotis Siotas and Sofia Efkleidou, the first with his violin, the other with her cello, for a small melodic conversation with them, as if tripping up the a cappella, and then again she sings alone.
There are many moments that you want to sing too, but you only move your lips so that you don’t cover even for a moment Christina’s tinkling voice. She is really sensational in the song by Gaetano Veloso “Cucurrucucu Paloma”.
You want to hug her when she cleans her dress because she had sat on the floor for a while playing her glockenspiel, you want to caress her head when she makes little voices of despair with her baglamadaki. When she makes mistakes she surpasses them unconcerned like a child, when she succeeds she is embarrassed by the applause. Because behind the innocent, youthful face, with the shy smile and the expressive eyes, there is a fully consistent and professional artist.
She is a distinguished graduate of the “Neo Elliniko Theatro” College of Drama of Giorgos Armenis. She is Christina Maxouri and is expecting us every Monday. And reservations need to be made because the venue is spaciously small, in a basement with the view of a loft.
Christina Maxouri walks again in her “Borrowed Shoes” in KET (Television Control Center), for the second year. After many travels, many collaborations and most definitely many readings (!), she returns with an even more dynamic and mature performance, with her own personal signature.
We all often wear Borrowed Shoes. In dedications, in letters, in everyday life, in speech, in our allegories. And Christina takes us on a journey back to the world of creation where everything can be connected and make different sounds and images. In an atmosphere especially familiar – it is frankly as if we are guests at a poetry reading in her personal space – Christina Maxouri unites poetry, melody and theatre with dreams, hopes and a contemplation of the world through an artistic point of view.
Elitis’ lyrics, a letter from Korea, a palm tree a la francais, the little baglamadaki playing “bang, bang my baby shot me down” and memories from journeys. In this walk through melody, the writing lines of all kinds, but also the necessary silence, she is accompanied by Fotis Siotas and Sofia Efkleidou. The performance takes place in KET, every Monday. Do not miss it!
The performance of the a cappella songs that Christina Maxouri chooses for the nights of “Borrowed Shoes” at the KET (Television Control Center), creates the beneficial illusion of a dismissal of the current space and time… Through her monophonic imprinting of the lyrics and the melody she forms a special calling to bygone nights – where the unification of the initiated to the musical entertainment consists of the simplicity of emotion as well as its intensity, as opposed to the contemporary formalism in the connection between the transmitter and the receiver without fervor, without osmosis or the sense of a communal feeling.
This special actress’ musical performance is based on three basic facts: the call to the spectator – listener to participate as a result of the directness of her stage presence, the endeavor to make present again the centuries old musical tradition of singing without the accompaniment of musical instruments (which is almost completely forgotten), but also, in conclusion, the recognition of diversity in the contemporary approach of musical fields more or less registered stereotypically in the wider audience of music lovers.
Whoever finds themselves in the small venue of the KET, will have the chance to enjoy a banquet of benchmarks of the Greek music (contemporary, folk, traditional), as well as a wider range of Maxouris’ personal favorites from French music and movie soundtracks (from Tony Maroudas to Manos Hadjidakis, Gaetano Veloso and Nancy Sinatra). At times, in parts of the performance, her voice is accompanied by a violin (Fotis Siotas) and a cello (Sofia Efkleidou), as well as a glockenspiel, a baglamas, the Epirian clarinet, like small sound brushes which are deemed necessary to highlight her craftsmanship and her subtle approach to this original and authentic concert experience.
She doesn’t need a microphone, or special effects. Christina Maxouri stands only a breath away from you singing a cappella and she feels gigantic, her voice with the distinctive “plaintive” color of a rembetissa takes you on a journey to seasons past and has that special gift of making you laugh and moving you at the same time whether that is in theatre stages of in her musical neighborhoods.
Last year we saw her three times and every time we admired her even more. This year she presents “Borrowed Shoes” again at the KET (Television Control Center), this time having with her violinist Fotis Siotas and cellist Sofia Efkleidou, and here she is in our court for a game of chains of thought.
Tireless and often infallible guide and compass.
To forget your own and be concerned with others, always with the same impulse and thirst.
The space where I bring close to me old and new weaknesses and make sure they don’t go away. A place of reconciliation, with all enmities.
Cause and reason to appreciate and at times fall in love with people and situations.
Rest. And release. From the material which confines us.
The place where I regroup emotionally and mentally, in sight of and through others. A place where I grow. A place where I make mistakes, learn and blossom.
With words. Especially when they become texts and songs. And with my friends.
A valuable rock, which is underestimated.
My home. My parents. My childhood. My sister. Lots of loud laughter.
An earth where everybody lives and thinks freely. And equally.
*In da Hood:
– Her official site www. christinamaxouri.com
-ΚΕΤ or her second home, Kyrpou 91, Kipseli
– You can enjoy her on Panos Vlachos’ album “Pehnidia ton paidion”, on the songs “Orpheas’ ballad” and “Sta sinnefa”.
There is no need for many objects on stage, you don’t even need a fancy stage which creates distance and deification, when as soon as you open your mouth and sing you are capable of creating such magical places. Christina Maxouri, actress and singer, named her performance “Borrowed Shoes” and presents it for two Thursdays (29/1 and 5/2) at the KET in Kipseli. Folk songs in funky rhythms, rembetiko songs of the 30’s with a glockenspiel, dirges mixed with contemporary songs, French ballads, excerpts of texts by Manos Hadjidakis and Tasos Leivaditis.
This a cappella music performance was made following emotional references in order to abolish the distance between audience and interpreter. On the first Thursday Matoula Zamani will be with her and Maria Papageorgiou on the second. In every performance we have seen her act and sing excerpts from Nikos Karathanos’ “Golfo” which was performed at the National Theatre to Yiannis Kalavrianos’ “Abelard and Eloise” which was performed at the theatre of Neos Kosmos, and many more, this very special color of her voice gives you the feeling that it will end up in an unbearable sob.
But she holds it back, because artists such as her, are made of everlasting materials. For themselves to endure and to help those watching rest on a safe part of their soul.
Sometimes your start going somewhere without being totally prepared for what you are going to attend. In the havoc and stress of the day, suddenly the door closes and you are invited to enter a different world. And you are lucky if you can do it. Thus, we were at the KET – in the familiar, multicultural and beloved neighborhood of Kipseli – to watch Christina Maxouri’s “Borrowed Shoes”. An exceptional actress (Golfo by Nikos Karathanos and Abelard and Eloise by Y. Kalavrianos) but also a singer with a very special color of voice. In the almost three hour performance, she took us on a journey with her clarinet, her small baglamas, her glockenspiel and the child sized accordion, but mainly with her hands, her internal rhythm and her voice, while narrations of poetic and theatrical texts connected the songs.
Wonderful rebetika, French ballads, Hadjidakis, Theodorakis, Loizos, Lagios and traditional songs which suit her so much. A small ritual with a sense of humor in between, with nothing heavy. A feather that caressed our hearts. With her on stage – as a guest in her second performance in the KET – is Maria Papageorgiou with her guitar and her bouzouki-like guitar, as well as all the sensitivity of her voice and songs. Their collaboration is perfectly harmonious, just like two small children playing in the yard. The same night they were accompanied by Christos Theodorou with his Harmonium in a touching version of the song “Aftes oi ksenes agkalies” (together they presented a new song of hers called “Eimai paidi”), Victoria Tangouli for the Hymne a L’ amour by Edith Piaf and the wonderful Tania Tsanaklidou who was humming along the whole performance from her seat and also sang a cappella “To papaki” by Nikolas Asimos, as did Eleni Kokkidou in a beautiful song by Angelos Triantafillou from the play “Abelard and Eloise”. To conclude, the magic is always there, you just have to let it touch you. If you ever come across Christina Maxouris’ “Borrowed Shoes” go into her world and you won’t regret it. Some of the songs that were heard: “Trizoni”, “Maro Maro”, “Souroupo me sinnefia”, “Mes stin hasapiki agora”, “Hathika”, “O Yiannis o Fonias”, “Margoudi”, “Mia fora thimamai”, “Voir sur chemin”, “Mpaniera”, “Tipseis”, “Je crois entendre encore”, “Attilamarcel”, “Yeia sou kirie Menekse”, “Doctor”, “Aftes oi ksenes agkalies”, “Ay garoufalo mou”, “Proino tsigaro”.
The stage of the theatre is her natural environment, but she feels equally at home when she sings. The only difference being that she wears “Borrowed shoes” to do so – old and (much) loved songs by Greek and foreign composers, all of which share a common ground. Christina Maxouri talks to musicpaper.gr, about the very successful series of her – solo – performances on a music stage, which is very demanding but also redemptive both for her and the audience…
What is “Borrowed Shoes”?
It’s a musical performance which consists mainly of Greek songs, most of which have been my favorite for years. Specifically, it contains old rebetika and traditional songs, an aria by Bizet (written in 1860), French songs, one Mexican song, and an English one, all sang a cappella. In between, wherever necessary, I include the introductions of those very songs, or from other ones which I have chosen. For example, the introduction of the song “Ta isiha vradia” has replaced the introduction of the song “Trele Tsigane” by Ioanna Georgakopoulou. I play a variety of instruments such as the clarinet, the glockenspiel, the small baglamas, while I also include excerpts of texts, poems by Leivaditis and Palamas, a text by Hadjidakis, a love letter from Korea which dates back in the 15th century. All this is useful mainly as additions to the songs.
What has been your relationship to music in the past?
Since I was a child my relationship with music has been as part of the audience. As well as singing but in a subconscious way. I sang because I listened to music, not wishing for this to take shape and become a profession. It was a bond of love through listening. Ι heard a lot of “Lilipoupoli”, “Axion esti”, “Mauthausen” and “Magnus Eroticus” because we had the records at home. In High School I started listening to the radio. That was when the brothers Katsimicha, Alkinoos Ioannidis, Galani, Alexiou, Protopsalti came along. In addition to listening to vinyl records, I was also influenced by the group of friends I spent my summers with in Porto Rafti, where the father of my friends, great music lover and amateur musician, along with brothers and cousins would frequently set up a self-made live session and played songs by Savvopoulos, Moutsis, Akis Panou, Chatzis, Spanos.
What have these moments left with you?
These experiences have created a sense of contentment. I realize, growing up, that in me, theatre and music, have been linked to contentment. I often realize that I don’t like something when I don’t enjoy it.
Which are the similarities and the differences to being an actress in theatre and to playing music and singing in a performance? Especially in a performance where you fill every role…
The great similarity is delivering, because in both cases you address other people with who you really want to share something. Most of the time in theatre, you might choose a collaboration, but you don’t choose the way nor the circumstances. Also, in both cases you share something, you communicate a text, melodies and words with all you’ve got. A body, a voice, as far as your mind can go. The better and more sincere you are while doing it, the best it will be delivered, more broadly.
Working in theatre has helped you with “Borrowed Shoes”?
Consciously no, because I don’t follow a technique or a recipe. Subconsciously, it obviously helps me to deal with possible mistakes or unexpected events that might occur on stage. Of course, in “Borrowed Shoes” I have the luxury to stop if anything happens as well as the choice to not stop and pass it by or include it in the performance and I think that’s something I have learned in theatre. Also, my work at the theatre might have also helped me in choosing texts and songs, in a way that creates a story structure and is interesting. It is there, where right before the dramatic peak something softer intercepts in order to achieve contrast. It is like the performance grabs your soul with a little hook and takes you down many different paths. Some other elements of the text simply fitted in conceptually. It hasn’t been pre-meditated.
Does this structure conclude to a specific story?
There is no story, only a sequence, mainly of feelings. Even if some songs are contradicting each other, there is still a sequence. There is no theme, no. In reality, the theme is the desire to share these songs.
What are you looking for through “Borrowed Shoes”?
Communication and beauty, because obviously these songs, having moved me, may have moved many more, because I do not consider myself an exception. You see, music has this strange ability to be a common memory. Mutual and different at the same time. For example, “Tha kleiso to parathiro” by Manos Loizos and Lefteris Papadopoulos. It might stir different feelings in me than in someone else. We both know the song and so do many more, so it becomes common ground. The fact that different feelings or memories occur is at the same time a different ground. It is possible, and I would like through this performance for them to come together in a way or make the memories and all our emotions “touch”, not all simultaneously, but during the two – two and a half hours of the performance, to make space for various, quiet memories and emotions. To lean in a way, on someone next to us, across from us, on ourselves…
Because, that is something that we are missing?
Without question. Every day, we touch keyboards, and mobile phones instead of touching a hand or a face. The “a cappella” is a condition that can occur at any time and is very close to speaking, but also very close to silence. I have thought many times of singing my sorrow, my joy or my love, only in my head. To sing it, without singing it. Therefore, it is as if tense silence is the other side of song. That in a way is a confession, a thank you to people I am grateful to and they know it, but also to those who don’t. My parents and my friends might know but Arleta, Hadjidakis and Loizos don’t know it. That is what has fed me and still feeds me spiritually and I feel great gratitude. The more music is being shared and that which has fulfilled you travels along, the better…
“Borrowed Shoes” have travelled to the following places…
Avgo (Thessaloniki), Act Theatre (Parta), Vino banco tapas bar (Kalamata), Art-iria (Lefkada), KET (Athens), SOAS University (London), Maison d’ Europe et d’ Orient (Paris), Okto (Komotini), Friends of Arts and Literature Community (Drama)…
My companions up to now – guests on stage…
Ilektra Miliadou (Viola da gamba, cello) Panos Lambropoulos (ney, ukulele, accordion), Sofia Efkleidou (cello), Matoula Zamani, Maria Papageorgiou, Foivos Delivorias, Nikos Xidakis, Spiros Boloviniw (bouzouki), Yiannis Andrianakis (guitar)… “Borrowed Shoes” welcome at KET (Television Control Center) Maria Papageorgiou (Tuesday 28 April) and Alexandros Emmanouilidis (Tuesday 5 May).
Christina Maxouri with no program or music scores, alone on stage
29 November 2013. “Borrowed Shoes” embark on their journey at Harvest, one of the most beautiful bars of Athens. Christina Maxouri welcomes us with her ever-shining smile and her resounding laugh. It is her night. The opening of the most personal project of her career. Alone, only a breath away from all of us, she will take us on a journey with her Doric voice. A cappella. With songs we have loved. As simply and essentially as that. In a few minutes we have all become one. Christina achieved that.
A year and a bit after that, Christina wears her “Borrowed Shoes” and travels through Greece and abroad. Already Ptolemaida, Thessaloniki, Parta and Kalamata have embraced her heartily. Two performances follow at KET in Athens on the 29th of January and on the 5th of February. And afterwards she hits the road again… Giannena, Lefkada… And then, we have lift off! London awaits her on the 10th of February for a single live performance at SOAS University, while two weeks later Paris follows at Maison d’ Europe et d’ Orient.
“Borrowed shoes” can be addressed to one person and can be addressed to five hundred. The base of the performance is the songs. For me every time this is something else, because it is in a different space with a different audience. And the more unknown these are, the bigger the challenge for me” she confesses to me.
I ask her what emotions are brought on by this experience. “It is a little as if I am opening up my house, and people come in my room” she answers with a smile. “What you gain through a cappella is the closeness and of course a great margin of error is allowed. And when I say error, I mean the freedom to act out of context, without a strict musical sheet. Our only musical sheet here is the succession of songs. What I have defined as beginning, middle and end and what is defined in collaboration with the audience itself.”
Songs by Hadjidakis, Theodorakis, Loizos, Spanos, a part of an aria by Bizet, an old Mexican song, several rebetika, two or three traditional songs, even a song by Karvelas, the monumental “Sose me”, come together with some excerpts in between, excerpts from Hamlet, Golfo, Abelard and Eloise, some texts by Hadjidakis and Leivadits… All of these together make a magical mural, with Christina stirring memories and emotions. At times only with her voice and at times with a glockenspiel or a harmonica which she plays.
“On one hand it is a very personal project and on the other it is a mural by everyone. It has to do with my childhood memories, with experiences I had later in theatre, with people I met and have stolen some of their light… It is also a way to thank some people, which I have appreciated, appreciate now and will appreciate in the future. It is a way to say thank you to my friends and family. Singing works that way to a great degree anyway. It helps you share things you think and feel with more distant or closer people” Christina notices.
Being a great and talented actress with a really wonderful voice, I ask her what she really believes is in the power of singing. “The fusion”, she points out. “Songs usually have a text which is already known. When we go to the theatre, unless we already know the play, we don’t know what we will hear. With singing it is as if there is a common ground. We all go in the same room. But, the way that everyone does, is something very personal”.
«How did the idea of “Borrowed shoes” come about?” I wonder.
“I was getting in the metro and the train and saw a lot of people very isolated. As if I could see only figures and not people. We didn’t look each other in the eye. There was no kind of communication. And I thought to myself, what is happening? Something is not right. I felt like I wanted to start singing to get something moving, for an energy to exist, to crack a smile…” she confides in me. Her appearance in a friend’s live session in Harvest was how a proposal came about by the owner of the bar for her to do her own session there. “She proposed I did something of my own there. I hesitated at first and she told me “why not?” That question, “why not?” is what caused tenths of questions in my mind and a hundred pictures. And so that suspicion brought on very quickly a series of songs and emotions, which I decided to share with the world”, Christina explained.
“How did you build up the courage for a tour?” I ask her, knowing well that organizing of a tour requires a whole support mechanism behind it. “I invented the mechanism” she tells me and starts laughing. “Look, I mainly move based on desire. Sometimes also on impulse. And of course common sense. I asked some people who either live where I wanted to have a live session or had worked there as musicians and then I started making calls. I started from zero. That is a strange procedure, because basically nobody knows you. Not that it means anything. It is just a bit strange to have to talk about yourself. To promote yourself. I don’t have someone to manage me, which I don’t know if is good or bad.”
If in her first live session in Athens Christina got strength from her friends, who all came to enjoy her, in the District it was completely different since there were strangers in the audience. “And that proved once more how much strength songs have. The goal is the songs not the person. The desired result is not for them to know you. The desired result is the atmosphere that will be created in those two hours. The goal is to speak through the songs. The more guilt-free this occurs,the more you are rid of the stress to win the audience, the better. My only concern in all this is to not seem fake”, she comments.
And so, she gets ready to share the stage in some of her upcoming live sessions with some of her good friends. On January, 29 in KET Matoula Zamani will be her guest, and on February, 5 Maria Papageorgiou. And the journey continues… Don’t miss it! It’s a unique experience.
A handmade, ‘at home’ concert
Actress Christina Maxouri strolls around Greece in “Borrowed Shoes” and talks to Newsfish about the musical performance which belongs to all of us.
By Kiki Moustakidou
Just before she goes up to Thessaloniki for a single performance (17/1 at “Avgo”), we managed to eliminate the mileage between us and thus, Christina Maxouri came with a smile and a purity almost as if from another era, on the screen of my computer.
On the occasion of the musical performance she herself has curated and performs around Greece, sometimes by herself and sometimes along with artists which are her friends, Christina Maxouri spoke to Newsfish about her, with no second thought, vocation in theatre, music as a meeting place for people and about the times she feels consolation for the world.
The natural evolution of a “Jukebox”
“I was born in Athens and grew up in Porto Rafti. When I was in High School, there was this theatre group made up by older classes and one beautiful morning I was there on an impulse. It was almost like a physical attraction. On the other hand, in the summertime there would be massive gatherings, parents and children with guitars and singing. I remember they used to call me “jukebox” because I sang all the time. So music was also present in my life giving me a strong feeling of contentment”.
“Despite the fact that I was a good student and was heading towards Medical School, a year before I finished high school, I gave up preparatory, evening school and started heading towards drama studies. After graduating, I went to Athens, attending Armenis’ Drama School, and there, in the company of Kostas Nikolopoulos who played guitar and Panagiotis Tsevas who played the accordion, I started singing in “Mousikes Skies” in Pagrati. And that is how things have come to be what they are today, in a natural flow”.
From theatre as first priority to studying music.
When she graduated from Drama School in 2003, Giorgos Armenis trusted her with the role of Sonia in the play “Uncle Vanya”. After her first “contact”, there were important theatrical collaborations, such as “Vakches” by S.Hatzakis at the National Theatre, “Trojan Women” with Chronopoulos, some years with Martha Frintzila in the group “Dromos me dentra”, again at the National Theatre with Vasilis Papavasileiou and of course her part in the play “Paralloges” by Yiannis Kalavrianos, which gave her two nominations for the Melina Merkouri award (2011&2012).
Dedicated to theatre, body and soul, she started getting involved systematically with music in 2012, when she presented a musical tribute to great women singers of rebetiko.
“Theatre was always the first priority, so I dedicated time to music only for rehearsals and partial studying. Until I made my own musical attempt, my involvement was with a group with whom we played in a small tavern and a summer in Santorini. When I did the tribute for Haskil, Ninou and Bellou I had to research for the songs, I had to practice a lot to reach the same level of familiarity for the less known songs and the more famous ones. That is how I started spending more time on studying music.”
“Borrowed Shoes” on tour
A solo and a cappella performance is taken around Greece by Christina Maxouri, inviting us to an ‘at home’ concert. Along with several musician friends and sometimes performers (i.e. Foivos Delivorias, Apostolos Rizos, Matoula Zamani) she plays the glockenspiel, the clarinet and a small baglamas and of course she sings. Besides, as she says: “I sing all day, I walk and sing, it is as if I speak my thoughts out loud.”
– How is the title connected to the content and what will someone in the audience be watching?
The title was an inspiration of Petros Paraschis. The title in its essence means, words and music which are not mine at all but become all ours through listening. I just “wear” them and be on my way.
What one will hear is words being sang almost bare, without their usual orchestration, there are only the songs. They are mainly Greek, rebetika, traditional, Loizos’ songs, Theodorakis, Hadjidakis, Spanos, Nikolopoulos, as well as chosen foreign songs and some small excerpts which I read, to highlight mostly the content of the songs which I personally want to deliver. These are things which make me more specific and more sincere with people, when everything around us is running ruthlessly and is so noisy that we lose clarity.
-You have prepared the program, the songs and their succession. Which part of yourself do you want to share through that, which image of yours of the world?
First of all that singing can occur anywhere, anytime, by anyone. It is an easy way to achieve actual contact, to lighten the weight that we all think we have, that we surely have but we consider it harder than it actually is.
There was no cry behind “Borrowed Shoes” or a need to show what I believe about things. It was more of a need for contact. To preserve some memories of my own and share some. To celebrate my joy and sorrows, my childhood years, my friends who are freaking cool, my family which has always been there for me.
-In some performances of “Borrowed Shoes” you sing along with other artists, friends of yours. Which is preferable? To sing with company or alone? Is it preferable to go through life with company or on our own?
Music, as well as theatre, is a very nice way to meet with people emotionally and in reality. When that happens I am overjoyed! You can’t compare togetherness to being solo. My a cappella is lesser than the “world” these artists carry in them. Collaborating with other musicians and performers is also a concern of mine to enrich people’s experience.
It is preferable to walk together, there is great strength in it and this has been proven historically and socially. It’s just that sometimes, when there is a need for something to happen, company cannot be included and so sometimes you walk alone.
-What does it mean for an artist “to abolish the distance between him and the audience” and what might this mean for the audience itself?
It means, to begin with, that you get rid of the formality of a concert. That a song can be sang next to you or by you, that I might feel like I have invited people to my house, which of course has a risk of resulting to something more of a self-reference. What is true though is that mistakes might occur that will not concern you. Every minute in such a situation is a confrontation but I prefer it in the present time because it seems to me that it is more bare and guilt-free. As if we are talking without adjectives.
-In the performance you read excerpts from texts by Hadjidakis and Leivaditis. Where in our lives are there now people to inspire us?
It is subjective for everyone where they find light and how they head towards it. Someone’s inspiration could be their grandmother and another’s Bach’s works. When I saw Kourentzis conducting in “Dido and Aeneas” I saw in front of me a vivid mind and a way of thinking which was on fire, doing what he knows best and sharing it. I felt a consolation about the world. Because certain texts and music are like a gospel which will always exist but all of them are passages through which we cross, dip our toes in for a while and leave again.
“Borrowed Shoes” in Thessaloniki *with Ilektra Miliadou (viola da gamba, cello) and Panos Lambropoulos, (ney, ukulele,accordion)
There’s this American phrase, which I personally hate, but for the first time I find it very fitting for the use I am going to make of it. Christina Maxouri “puts us in her shoes” in her (based on emotion, but also very difficult) performance, at the “Television Control Center”… The actress and great performer won not only the applause, but also the hearts of the audience, who attended KET in Kipseli, on Thursday the 19th of December. In a two-hour program of her…almost solo performance, Christina Maxouri placed us within her very personal, artistic world, took us on a walk through the “alleys” of sorrows and joy, and in the end she gave us whole-heartedly an early Christmas present, a breath of soul in the middle of a very difficult (in all aspects) winter.
With impressive extroversion (but not self-centered and with no trace of arrogance) she “revealed” herself, opened up to us and also mocked herself, the link being a natural sense of humor, springing from an inner politeness of her character and not from an acquired technique. Of course, it is of assistance that she is an important actress, one of those who – luckily – continues to offer her talent to the Greek theatre, but how can one not note the level of difficulty, which she actually faces in a “confrontation” with the audience “head on” and with “no hidden cards”. On a flat stage which doesn’t offer any safety nets, only a breath away? That takes guts and soul. Christina Maxouri sang a cappella, she played the glockenspiel and the clarinet, with such energy, that even the mistakes seemed to be part of the performance, a continuous and sincere conversation with the audience, which was whole-heartedly joyous for living a metaphysical experience, since on one hand Maxouri laid out an atmosphere of familiarity and at the same time in front of your eyes you saw moments of the recent and distant past, the communal or the individual for each one. Depending on how each one confronted their memories. Songs of classical rebetiko, by Markos and Tsitsanis, where heard, as well as some from the period of the archontorebetiko, before we strolled down to the era of contemporary music, starting from the master, Manos Hadjidakis.
The thing is that in this abundance, the “hostess” is also judged by the level, the detail of her criteria, because she suggested a selection very carefully structured when it comes to the genre as well as the power of storytelling. Besides, this is more than anything what she accomplished. To tell a lovely story with a strong personal element, where what was “hers”, became “ours”. From a “rhythmic”, more “rap” version of “Margoudi and Alexandris”, to unexpected ones from Hadjidakis, with lyrics by Christianopoulos and Kambanellis. Yes, Foivos Delivorias was also there. With a discrete presence, but very essential. He came for the second part and respectfully joined Christina Maxouri (the moment we heard Holly Mary’s lament was very important), with songs like those of Zabetas, as well as more unexpected ones like “Pera stous pera kambous”, which he revealed was the first song he remembered as a child, while in the encore, he gave us an unreleased version on his new song “Bastardos Yios”.
By Sotiris Bekas
P.S. 1 Christina Maxouri worked really hard for this performance and you could see that. Even on the break she took on the role of hostess and bartender (!) and whilst she was inside the bar, she continued her performance with a piece of prose.
P.S. 2 The KET is a very friendly space towards the artist as well as the audience.
P.S. 3 Christina Maxouri completes this mini cycle of performances on Sunday 22 December, and this time she welcomes Nikos Xidakis.
Borrowed Shoes/Christina Maxouri a cappella at KET, Sunday 22/12, guest Nikos Xidakis.
Time: 21.00 Entrance fee: 6 Euros. Duration: 2 hours. Artspace “Television Control Centre”, Kiprou 91A & Sikinou 35A, Kipseli.