Lena Platonos (Λένα Πλάτωνος)Bookmark and Share


October 1951

Born in Heraklion, Crete, as the daughter of George Plato and Antigone Astrinaki, Lena grew up in Athens. Her father, George Plato was the first known composer and pianist at the National Opera House. Not surprisingly Lena started playing piano at a young age and later studied at the Conservatory of Athens. She became a professional pianist on her eighteenth, and in 1963 won the First Prize of the Competition Kaiti Papaioannou. She left with a scholarship to study abroad, first at the Academy in Vienna and then in Berlin, where she came into contact with rock, jazz and Eastern music.

She returned to Greece during the dictatorship and worked with Hercules Triantafyllides and his band DNA. Along with her then husband, the composer Dimitris Marangopoulos, she began working with the Third Schedule of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, where she met Manos Hadjidakis, who was then director of the group. He helped Lena in the production of her first show called ‘Lilipoupoli’. For the show she wrote all lyrics and music. Songs from the show were later collected on an album released in 1980. But her true debut was the album ‘Sabotage’ in 1981, created in collaboration with Marianina Kriezi and Savina Yannatou. The album marked and innovative change in Greek music by the strong use of synthesizers, with which Platonos had begun to experiment with. Simultaneously Platonos worked on a project featuring 13 poems by Kostas Karyotakis set to music. The work was actually completed before ‘Sabotage’ but released after on insistence of the director of Lyra records, Alekos Patsifa.

The experimenting with electronics continued with the three subsequent albums she made in the eighties. Her lyrics are often surreal poetry telling about daily life and personal relationships. In 1986 she released the album ‘Lepidoptera’ filled with nursery rhyme lyrics of Giani Rontari. Another project influenced by the world of children was the 1989 adaptation of the Hans Anderson fairytale ‘The nightingale and the emperor’.

In 1990, Platonos cooperated with Dionissis Savvopoulos in several live performances and disc Flashback'63-'89. In 1991 she did a project with singer Dimitra Galani on the myths of Europe. After a period of abstinence from albums and gradual removal of public life, Lena returned in 1997 with a collaboration with Savina Yannatou. The album features orchestral jazz adaptations of traditional lovesongs. In the same year Platonos is honoured with a tribute compilation ‘The blender’ featuring young artists from the Greek electronic scene (Coti K, Konstantinos Vita, Michael Delta, ion, etc. In 2000 she released the album ‘I triti porta’ (the third door) with poems from Thodoros Poala sung by Maria Farantouri. The project was adapted for a stage production in march 2003 at the Athens Concert Hall. Tickets sold out in no time. In December 2005 she released a book with lyrics from her songs.

In 2008 she returns to electronic music with two new singles that sell over 160.000 copies in Greece. The accompanying autobiographical album ‘Imerologia’ is released in march 2008. Lena Platonos has also written music for theatre, ballets and television. Apart from the music she also deals with painting and miniatures and has exhibited her work at times.

On the web:

- Lena on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lenaplatonos

What do we think:

DB: In the eighties we used to have a festival in Holland called contra-tones (Tegentonen) and Lena would have fitted right in. The festival featured artists that were seeking the borders of regular pop and rock and mixed them with avant-garde, poetry and experimentalism. In Greece Lena did just that picking up Greek tradition and doing something completely new with it. And adding electronics was just the start. Trying to link her another (European) artist is almost impossible 'cause Lena made a whole niche for herself. Just for perspective you could say she is on the experimental side of Anne Clark or Laurie Anderson.


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


Recommended abums:

♪♪♪ - Sabotage - 1981

♪♪ - I icho kai ta lathi tis - 1985

♪♪♪♪ - Gallop - 1985

♪♪♪ - Lepidoptera - 1986

♪♪♪♪ - Imerologia - 2008

Further listening: Edo Lilipoupoli - 1980; Karyotakis -13 Tragoudia - 1982; To 62 tou Manou Hatzidaki - 1983; Maskes Iliou - 1984; To aidoni tou aftokratora - 1989; To spasimo ton pagon - 1989; Mi mou tous kyklous tarate - 1990; Anapnoes - 1998
I triti porta - 2000

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


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