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Haris Alexiou


Country of origin:

Greece

Type of music generally:

Evocative/eclectic pop/world music

Status:

Most recent release, Ta Oneira Ginontai Pali (2014)

See also:

The Haris Alexiou page (in Greek & English)

Covers/own material:

Covers of work by Greek songwriters; often her own lyrics

General comments:

She is certainly the most popular female singer in Greece, and has managed to gather international attention, by selling out the Olympia in Paris among other venues. She started her career as a backup singer for George Dalaras (the most popular Greek male singer) in the early 1970s. Through the years she has sung everything from "laika" (greek popular music) to "entechna" (crafted/"serious" Greek popular music).
     Her career took a shift to music with a western edge in the 80s, with her album I agapi einai zali (love is dizziness) which broke sales records in Greece. Her voice is throaty and passionate (think Happy Rhodes and Kelly Bird in "Closer" from Equipoise). (kyrlidis@earthlink.net)

My Musical Find of 1999 was Haris Alexiou (actually I think I discovered her through Di Efchon in 1998), but in 1999 I tracked down four more of her albums and since then tracked down even more. I think she has one of the most emotive, passionate voices I've heard, and truly one of the great voices of our time. I also love her lyrics—though all I have to rely on are the English translations provided. While many foreign singers make me wish I could understood the lyrics, Alexiou sings with such passion that I feel the music. In addition to her voice, the musical arrangements are consistently tasteful and accomplished, bringing musical influences in from around the world. Her recordings are of consistently high quality, and she has some of the best CD packaging I've ever seen. (jjhanson@att.net)

My best discovery of late is Haris Alexiou. I remembered hearing her talked about on ecto with such passionate enthusiasm, that even though I couldn't remember what the fan said about her, I felt that I'd like her. So I picked up Di Efchon a few weeks ago, and oh my god. I don't think anyone has ever jumped onto my goddess list so quickly. I was completely enthralled by the first sounds of her voice, and I've played the cd repeatedly, at work and at home. I found a copy of The Best of Haris Alexiou and I like that too. It's more traditional music. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Comments about live performance:

Saw her in concert and was in awe of her. It was a concert for the ages. Even though I was stuck way up in the nosebleed section, I was still transfixed and mesmerized. I may very well have been the only non-Greek descended person there. Haris chattered quite a bit from the stage, but only spoke Greek too. The audience loved it all! Of course, all the songs were in Greek so I have no idea what any of them were about, but it hardly mattered. Everything was just wonderful. The music, the band (especially the violin and mandolin players), the beautiful lights (Vari-lights), Haris's voice and delivery and presence, just wonderful! Haris covered a song, "Tango To Evora" from Loreena McKennitt's The Visit, during the show. I take it she's released the song as a single, writing Greek lyrics for the song. (vickie@enteract.com)

Recordings include:

  • Laika Tragoudia (1975)
  • Haris Alexiou 2 (1976)
  • Laikes Kyriakes (St. Kougioumtzis) (1976)
  • 24 Tragoudia (1977)
  • Ta Tragoudia Tis Haroulas (1979)
  • Xymeronei (1980)
  • Ta Tragoudia Tis Gis Mou (1981)
  • Ta Tragoudia Tis Hthesinis Meras (with Dimitra Galani) (1981)
  • I Zoi Mou Kanei Kyklous (1982)
  • Ta Tsilika (1983)
  • Emfylios Erotas (1984)
  • I agapi einai Zali (1986)
  • I Haris Alexiou Se Aprovlepta Tragoudia (1987)
  • I Nyhta Thelei Erota (1988)
  • The Best of Haris Alexiou (1988)
  • Krataei Hronia Auti I Kolonia (1990)
  • I Diki Mas Nyhta/Live (1991)
  • I Alexiou Tragoudai Hatzi (1991)
  • Dí Efchon (Blessings) (1992)
  • I Balantes Tis Haroulas/Best (1993)
  • E/Hey! (1994)
  • Odos Nefelis 88 (1995)
  • Gyrizontas Ton Kosmo/Live '92-'96 (1996)
  • Ena Fili Tou Kosmou/A Kiss to the World (1997)
  • Gyrizontas Ton Kosmo &Ena Fili Tou Kosmou/Live '92-'97 (1997)
  • To Paihnidi Tis Agapis/The Game of Love (1998)
  • Whispers (2000)
  • Paraxeno Fos/Strange Light (2001)
  • Cine Keramikos Live (live, 2002)
  • Os tin akri tou ouranou sou/To the End of Your Heaven (2003)
  • Anthology (compilation, 2004)
  • Girizontas Ton Kosmo Kai Ena Fili Tou Kosmou (special edition re-release, 2006)
  • Vissino Kai Nerantzi (2006)
  • Lykabettus Live (live, with Malamas and Ioannidis, 2007)
  • A Tribute to Manos Loizos (2007)
  • I Agapi Tha Se Vri Opou Kai Na 'Sai (2009)
  • En Duo / Liva Pallas (with D. Galani, live, 2012)
  • I Tripla (2012)
  • Ta Oneira Ginontai Pali (2014)

I agapi einai Zali

Release info:

1986

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Recommended. (kyrlidis@earthlink.net)

Comments:

Music by Thanos Miroutsikos. (kyrlidis@earthlink.net)

Dí Efchon

Release info:

1992—PolyGram, Greece S.A. Mondo Melodia (manufactured by ARK 21, 14724 Ventura Blvd., Penthouse Suite, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403)—6 1868 50001 2 5

Availability:

Greece, U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Haris Alexiou—vocals

Guest artists:

Yiannis Spathas—acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Kostas Papadoukas—keyboard, piano
Christos Konstantiou—flute, cymbas, taoura, drums, keyboard
Nikos Antypas—cymbals, keyboard, sampler programming, vocals, drums, acoustic guitar
Achilles Persidis—acoustic guitar, flute, flamenco guitar, electric guitar
Stavros Arapidis—acoustic guitar, keyboard
Nikos Antypas—drums, cymbals, keyboard, electric guitar, vocals
Takis Paterelis—saxophone
Eleftheria Arvanitaki—vocals

Produced by:

Haris Alexiou

Comments:

Music by Nikos Antypas.

Wow—what a voice. I picked up Dí Efchon and definitely love it. Despite her singing in Greek, it's so passionate and good that you hardly notice. I find myself listening to it quite a bit—unlike most "foreign" singers. I highly recommend people who enjoy foreign singers check her out. The lyrics are translated in the text and she writes some pretty powerful stuff. I'm quite impressed and wanting to find more! (jjhanson@att.net)


E/Hey!

Release info:

1994—PolyGram (Greece)—314 522 515-2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Produced by:

Haris Productions—Polygram

Comments:

This album contains a wonderful collection of songs with music by Nikos Antypas and lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulous, except for two songs, "Joy" and "The Ballad of a Convict", whose lyrics were penned by Haris herself. The "Ballad of a Convict" is one of the most beautiful, moving pieces Haris has ever recorded. The whole album is good, but this song makes the album a must-have. (jjhanson@att.net)

Odos Nefelis 88

Release info:

1995—PolyGram (Greece)/—526740-2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Comments:

I was reading an interview with Haris Alexiou, where she describes how she heard a Kate Bush song which she fell in love with ("Army Dreamers" from The Dreaming), and 10 years later she wrote a song inspired by it. "Midnight" has a very similar structure, without being a ripoff. Overall the album is excellent, and has the best packaging I have ever seen on a single CD. It's like a book, with all the lyrics, lots of pix, the lyrics translated to English, and the CD in a pocket of the back cover. Kind of like a pumped up Vitalogy. :) (kyrlidis@earthlink.net)

This was the first album to feature songs whose music and lyrics were both written by Haris herself, establishing her not only as a great singer, but a great songwriter as well. (jjhanson@att.net)


Ena Fili Tou Kosmou/A Kiss to the World

Release info:

1997—Mercury/PolyGram (Greece)—534-891-2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

For completists (see comment section)

Produced by:

Haris Productions—Polygram

Comments:

Recordings culled over several tours and a few recording sessions, his collection covers much of the same territory as the Live 92-97 album, but does not include Alexiou's version of Loreena McKennitt's version of "Tango to Evora"—a must-have); however, it does include songs the other doesn't. So, I'd recommend starting with the other, and leaving this one for completists. (jjhanson@att.net)

Gyrizontas Ton Kosmo &Ena Fili Tou Kosmou/Live '92-'97

Release info:

1997Mercury/Polygram (Greece)—536-964-2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

High for those who appreciate world music and passionate vocals

Produced by:

Haris Productions—Polygram

Comments:

This live album includes many of the same songs as Ena Fili Tou Kosmou/A Kiss to the World, but includes Haris Alexiou's cover of Loreena McKennitt's "Tango to Evora" (to which she wrote her own words in Greek). A great sampling of songs highlighting the best of Haris's live performances culled from several world tours, ranging from simple piano/guitar accompaniment to full band. The packaging itself is beautiful—coming in a jewel-box sized book with paper slipcover, and heavy-stock pages full of pictures, tour info, assorted lyrics, promo shots,etc. from the tours. A real treasure—makes you realize how cheap U.S. CD packaging is in comparison. (jjhanson@att.net)

To Paihnidi Tis Agapis/The Game of Love

Release info:

1998—Mercury/PolyGram (Greece)—558470-2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Produced by:

Haris Alexiou—Polygram

Comments:

Recorded in Paris, this was the first ablum to be entirely written by Haris Alexiou, except for the lyrics to the last song. Another great collection of songs. And the voice is as good as ever. (jjhanson@att.net)

Whispers

Release info:

2000—Mercury/Universal Music S.A. (Universal Music S.A. 296, Messoghion Ave., Athens, Greece)—548114 2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Haris Alexiou—vocals

Guest artists:

Charis Andreadis—piano, musical supervision
Christos Pertsinidis—classical guitar
Zoi Tiganouria—accordion on "Take Me"

Produced by:

Kostas Kalimeris, Haris Alexiou, executive producers

Comments:

Music written by: Nikolas Asimos, Yorgos Andreou, Paraskevas Karasoulos, Manos Hadjidakis, Yannis Ioannidis, Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Afroditi Manou, Apostolos Kaldaras, Stamatis Kraounakis, Lina Nicolakopoulou, Akis Panou, Stavros Tzouanakos, Kostas Virvos, Christos Nikolopoulos, Pythagoros, Thodoros Derveniotis, Kostas Virvos, Thodoros Derveniotis, Spyros Pappas, Yannis Argyris, Kleon Triantafillou-Attik.

A thoroughly gorgeous album. Haris sings some of her favorite songs, and the sparse accompaniment really lets her voice shine. My favorite song is track 2, "Small Homeland." I think it's lovely. Quite subtle and eloquent. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Whispers is great by the way. Whispers is stunningly beautiful—not a bad song on it. This is a collection of Haris's favorite songs, stripped back and recorded with simple piano or guitar accompaniment. This approach allows her voice to really shine—these ballads really highlight her incredible voice. Each note she sings drips with emotion and you can't help but feel moved. (jjhanson@att.net)


Paraxeno Fos/Strange Light

Release info:

2000—Sony (Greece)—ESTIA1-2

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Produced by:

Haris Productions—Polygram

Comments:

Songs by Loreena McKennitt, Haris Alexiou, Antonis Vardis, Yiannis Spathas, Nikos Antipas, Thanos Mikroutsikos, Nikos Portokaloglou, Hristos Nikolopoulos, Giorgos Zambetas, Manos Loizos, Yiannis Spanos, Nikos Tatsis and Sezen Aksu.

This album is a return to the more world influenced rock/pop full-band sound for Haris than her previous release Whispers. She writes lyrics to music performed by some of her favorite artists, including Loreena McKennitt again—this time a song named "Kiss Me, Kiss Me". Her voice is as passionate and thrilling as ever. (jjhanson@att.net)


Anthology

Release info:

2004

Availability:

Greece, or see further info section

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Comments:

If you like world music and you haven't heard Haris Alexiou yet, you might try getting her new 2-CD Anthology. I highly recommend it—though I can't understand a word she says, she's one of my all-time favorite singers—very passionate voice, always accompanied by top-notch musicians that add a worldly sound. (jjhanson@att.net)

Vissino Kai Nerantzi (Sour Cherry and Bitter Orange)

Release info:

2006—Estia

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Yet another of my all-time favorite voices releases a somewhat mellower album, but one filled with all the passion and emotion her voice can convey. Given I don't speak a word of Greek and can't even tell what the song titles are, still the emotion comes through. (jjhanson@att.net)

Simply wonderful (as usual). The title track is especially magical. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Further info:

Greek Superstore is a good source for Haris Alexiou's releases (and other Greek artists) in the US. Call 1-800-GREEK-22 for more info. They carry anything that is available in Greece.

Or try GreekCityVideo, 1-800-463-988. They're based in Toronto, Canada, and the exchange rates sometimes make prices cheaper than stores in the U.S.

Write to Haris Alexiou at PO Box 78016 GR, 17310 Ag. Dimitrios Attikis, Greece


Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage, Jeffrey Hanson, Barbara Hart, and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-05-16 18:24:58.
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