Haris Alexiou (Χάρις Αλεξίου)
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27 December 1950

Haris Alexiou - Harikleia Roupaka (Χαρίκλεια Ρούπακα) - was born in Thebes, Greece. She appeared in theGreek musical scene in the early seventies.The first significant step in her career was her participation with Georges Dalaras in the album 'Mikra Asia' ('Asia Minor') written by Apostolos Caldaras and Pythagoras in 1972. A historic album, the biggest hit of the '70s and rightfully included in 'MINOS-EMI's 100 Greatest Hits of the Century'.

In 1973 Haris participated in the albums 'Kalimera Ilie' ('Good morning, sun') by Manos Loizos and Lefteris Papadopoulos, 'Byzantinos esperinos' by Apostolos Kaldaras and Lefteris Papadopoulos and 'Odos Aristotelous' ('Aristotelous street') by Yannis Spanos and Lefteris Papadopoulos. Meeting Manos Loizos was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and a prolific professional collaboration.

In 1975, her first album as a solo artist was released: '12 laika' ('12 songs'). One of them, 'Dimitroula', becomes an all time standard. It is the first year after the fall of the military junta, a time for the political songs and the revival of 'rebetika' songs. In 1979, she released the album 'Ta tragoudia tis Haroulas' ('Haroula's songs'). From this album 'O fantaros' ('The soldier') immediately became a huge hit, while 'Ola se thimizoun' ('Everything reminds me of you') becomes a Greek evergreen.

The '80s start with two enormous hits: 'Fevgo' ('I'm leaving') and 'Ximeroni' ('The day breaks'). 'Songs of yesterday', her album together with Dimitra Galani, includes ballads which fascinate the public. In 1987, world famous Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis invites her to appear in his club 'Sirius' with the 'Unpredictable songs'. In 1989 Haris starts and presents the 'Show in on'. It is a musical show, performed in Athens and Thessaloniki, with guests like Dimitra Galani and Yannis Parios. An album with the same title resulted from this work. During the nineties she releases albums continually with songs from songwriters like Thanos Mikroutsikos, Hadjidakis, Loizos, Mikroutsikos and Lina Nikolakopoulou.

In 1992 sees an essential break in Haris’ carreer. She starts her cooperation with Polygram and presents a new musical style. The album 'Di'efchon' ('With blessings') with music by Nikos Antipas and lyrics by Lina Nikolakopoulou comes as something quite fresh in the Greek discography, giving a new thrust to Haroula's career. In 1994 her follow up album 'Ei!' ('Hey!') is released with music by Nikos Antipas and lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulos and Aris Davarakis. This album is followed by the 1995 album 'Odos Nefelis 88' ('Nefelis street 88'). The songs of this album are all written by Haris herself. In 1996, she writes the lyrics for 'Nefeli's tango' on Loreena McKennit's music. This song along with other live recordings from her concerts around the world, is included in the album 'Around the World '92-'96'. "Nefeli's tango", for several months is one of the ten top songs of World Music in Europe.

1998 is the year of 'The Game of love', her second album with songs written only by herself. The recording took place at the Studio Guillaume Tell in Paris with Greek and foreign musicians. In October 1999, she sings along with famous Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, both in Athens and Istanbul, for the victims of the earthquakes which afflicted the two countries that year, under the auspice of the Ministry of Culture. This cooperation is repeated in summer 2000 in Istanbul and Izmir.

In 2000 Haris breaks with Polygram and founds her own record company, 'Estia'. The first album on this label is 'Strange light'. In 2004 she sings at the closing ceremony of the Olympic games, along with Dimitra Galani, Marinella, Yannis Parios, Georges Dalaras. To celebrate the thirty year anniversary of 'Ta tragoudia tis xthesinis imeras' the famous duo album with Dimitra Galani, both diva's perform live at the Pallas. A live registration of the performances is released in 2012.

On the web:

- Haris' website: http://www.alexiou.gr
- Haris community: http://www.alexiou-forum.gr

What do we think:

DB: I remember the first time i saw Alexiou perform live very well. It was in the Vredenburg theatre in Utrecht, the lights were dimmed and the band already played one instrumental. She slowly entered the stage from the shadows, stepped into the light and spread her arms. The crowd went beserk without she even have to sing one note. I thought then that if an artist can have such an impact she must be very good indeed. And she was. Over the years i've seen Alexiou perform several times and she never dissappoints. When i still had a record store i used to play her records often over the speakers and there would always be a customer buying it. I must have sold dozens of copies of Odos Nefelis that way.

PR: I bought my first Alexiou cd - 'Ei!' - just because I was so intrigued by its cover. There was this Greek godess like image of Alexiou with songtitles in characters that almost seemed Chinese to me. After hearing the record a honderd times, I wanted to buy all her records! A few years later, she performed in Utrecht (see DOUBLEBASS's comment) which was an extraordinary experience. Alexiou has the ability to integrate all sorts of different influences (Greek traditionals, world music, folk, chansons etc.) into a beautiful, cohesive and personal music style. She is a great and natural performer, has a great voice and is also a very talented songwriter. If you want to start listening to Greek music, try an Alexiou-album like 'Di'efhon' of 'Odos Nefelis 88'.

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts

Mari Trini (Spain)

Maurane (Belgium)

Recomended abums:

♪♪♪ - Alexiou 2 - 1976

♪♪♪♪ - Ta tragoudias tis Haroulas - 1979

♪♪♪ - Ximeroni - 1980

♪♪♪- Ta tragoudia tis xthesinis imeras (with Dimitra Galani) - 1981

♪♪♪♪ - I zoi mou kiklous kani - 1982

♪♪♪♪♪ - Di'efhon - 1992

♪♪♪♪ - Ei! - 1994

♪♪♪♪♪ - Odos Nefelis 88 - 1995

♪♪♪♪ - Girizontas ton kosmo kai ena fili tou kosmou - 1997

♪♪♪♪ - Psithiroi - 2000

♪♪♪ - Vissino kai nerantzi - 2006

♪♪♪ - I agapi tha se vrei opou kai na sai - 2009

♪♪ - Live Pallas 2012 (2cd, with Dimitra Galani) - 2012

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided