Dalaras, George

By Dominick A. Miserandino,
Planes, trains, automobiles, and huge sell-out crowds. It's all part of world-touring life for George Dalaras, Greece's best-selling artist of all time, with nearly 10 million albums sold in his 30-year singing career. In an interview conducted via a translator, Dalaras talks about the difficulty of selling foreign music in America and the thrill of performing at Radio City Music Hall.

DM) Are you tired from your flight?

GD) Not so much the flight, but all these travel days. We went from Cyprus, to Egypt, to Israel, and then came back here. It was a long trip.

DM) When you perform, what languages do you perform in besides Greek?

GD) Mostly in Greek, because the songs are from Greece. And I try to keep the Greek spirit in my soul.

DM) I understand that you're involved with a lot of Greek nationalist issues?

GD) It has nothing to do with nationalism, but I express myself through my music, and I believe that will help within itself to fight causes. If you take away the fact that they're in the Greek language, just the words themselves express the message on their own.

DM) In Europe, you can hear European and American songs, but only American songs are played in the States. Why do you think that is?

GD) I think that in Europe, there's more people every day who are looking for alternative music, looking to find a different way into the music, and Europe is close to Greece. The States are a little bit more difficult, but every year the audience just grows more and more. For many years now, people have been looking for something completely different from pop.

DM) How would you describe your music?

GD) It is based on the Greek language and the Greek tradition, but it is also an expression of the Greece that is today, and how it's been affected by all the surrounding areas.

DM) Recently you performed in Radio City Music Hall. How was that experience?

GD) Dominick, it was an exceptional experience, because I've been dreaming about that since I was a kid. I was always impressed with Radio City when I was growing up. Just to play in there was very emotional. Then, using such a huge city like that, such as Rockefeller Center here in New York, it become very touristy. Some of the shows that are performed at Radio City become rather touristy and commercial, and I hope my show wasn't that way at all. I've played in bigger arenas than Radio City; Madison Square Garden and the Meadowlands, for example. I also felt the same way when I performed in the Paris theater, the Olympia. Many notable French musicians have performed there as well. It's exciting because music that isn't known as well worldwide can be played in such huge arenas.

DM) Considering the areas that you've tried to help the people in this world, have you ever tried performing in Cyprus to assist in those relations?

GD) I did. I sang in many of these conferences in Europe and Cyprus and Latin America, and Cuba too. I believe that even if the musicians can't do much, they can at least stand with the people and support them in what they believe as well.


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