Maninakis Performed at East Flushing Library
By Catherine Tsounis
Grigoris Maninakis holds a magnetic appeal bringing in standing only room crowds during the 2012-2013 concert season in the New York Greek American community. “We must have a strong showing of the Greek-American community,” said East Flushing Community Library Manager Florence Leung. One hundred persons flooded the 196-36 Northern Blvd. hall with standing room only. Grigoris Maninakis & the Mikrokosmos Ensemble presented “An Afternoon of Greek Music” on Monday afternoon, June 17th. The group featured: Grigoris Maninakis, leader/lead vocalist;
Glafkos Kontemeniotis, keyboards; Kostas Psarros, bouzouki and Megan Gould, violin.
They came from Queens and Nassau counties, from the Greek and global communities to hear the greatest Greek Blues (Rebetica) singer of the Greek Diaspora. The Queens Library system is to be commended in presented this entertaining and educational concert free. “The Greek music is romantic,” said Irene Cheung, President of the Key Luck Club, upon hearing the translation of his songs.
What exactly did Professor Maninakis (he is a college professor) sing? “We will be singing from the 1960’s to 70’s, the Golden Age of Greek music,” he said. “I will describe anecdotes on the composers we sin. Gree3ce was given independence, but northern German music predominated. In 19223 Smyrna and Asia Minor was destroyed, with the coming of over a million refugees. These persons came from an educated, cultured class. They inspired Greek music to a higher level. In the 1940’s, Vassilis Tsitsanis, a leading Greek composer created golden melodies and is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern Rebetica (Greek Blues) Greece is the only country that put the music of noble laureates and the great poetry of Greece and the world to music.”
The music sung was of the following composers: Manos Hatzidakis known for ‘”Never on Sunday”; Manos Loizos famous for the “Evdokia’s Zeibekiko;Stavros Kouyioumtzis, creator of the haunting “To Kokkino Foustani” (The Red Dress) song and Mikis Theodorakis. An exciting CD album of the composer of “Zorba” is at the East Flushing Library for circulation to the public. The Cd title is Mikis Theodorakis “Mia Zoi Ellatha” (One Life of Greece).
“I brought all my friends,” said Venita Loras of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. “We come every year,” explained for Principal Chris Arlis of the William Spyropoulos School and former School Board President Gloria Sfiroudis. Marika and Jimmy Fotopoulos came representing the “Geros Tou Morea” chapter of the Arcadian Federation of America. Eleni Kalogeras said she “would come back next year to a Maninakis concert.” Dr. Anthony A. Galitsis, retired Director of the NYC Science Program and his wife retired principal of Region 3 L.I.C. Athena Galitsis agreed it was “a beautiful evening of music and the history of the Greek musical tradition.”
Grigoris Maninakis grew up in Limnos. “My Mother was born in Tseme (Asia Minor coast opposite Chios) and Father from Crete,” said Maninakis. He is in addition to a musician, cantor, and professor, a poet who has written songs with his poetry. In 2007, a student, George Stamboulis and a Modern Greek class I instructed, were inspired by Maninakis poem “Mia Palia Fotografia” (An Old Photograph) written to a song. They emailed him a fan letter.
The event was organized by Library Manager Florence Leung. Her effort in hosting the concert bringing Greek music into mainstream America is extraordinary. For more information, email [email protected] at the East Flushing Community Library or call 718 357-6643.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–eXCeiEg-k – March, Greek Heritage Month Concert with Grigoris Maninakis at The Stathakion Center.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manos_Lo%C3%AFzos- Manos Loizos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAT8mmAtDz0 – To Zeibekiko Tis Evdokias, Live 1985.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manos_Hatzidakis – Manos Hatzidakis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oA-GbHAH06g – Never on Sunday.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WVdztB6MhE – To Kokkino Foustani.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtIyAYDEEyY – Katerina
Photo 1 – Grigoris Maninakis & the Mikrokosmos Ensemble congratulated by Library Manager Florence Leung for a unique concert at the East Flushing Library.
Photo 2 – Grigoris Maninakis & the Mikrokosmos Ensemble with the audience.