Machairitsas and Zouganelis: AKTINA’S Greek Music Journey 2017

Photo by: Anastasios Mentis

Greek stars, Lavrentis Machairitsas and Giannis Zouganelis and their band, presented an enchanting performance during AKTINA’s Greek Music Journey 2017 on November 3rd at New York’s landmark theater, The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

Produced by Elena Maroulleti, this benefit concert for public service media, AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV was co-presented by the non-profits, AKTINA Productions, Inc., and CYPRECO Of America, Inc.

Greek and non-Greek fans and supporters of AKTINA and CYPRECO of different ages, enjoyed a memorable and fully energized performance which lasted for over 2 ½ hours filled with everlasting songs from the rich discographies of Machairitsas and Zouganelis; while guests were also treated to a special impromptu performance by renowned crossover classical tenor Mario Frangoulis who was among the audience and who was invited to share the stage and sing Machairitsas’ classic “Notos”.

The audience was also enthused with a set of opening songs performed by band member, Steve Tesser; a renowned Italian singer/songwriter and guitarist who has been working with Machairitsas for the past five years, and with the new and upcoming singer Pavlina Voulgaraki. Equally intriguing were the rest of the band members, Alexandros Zouganelis, wind instruments, Akis Amprazis, bass and the legendary drummer, Filippos Spyropoulos.

Photo by: Anastasios Mentis

Lavrentis Machairitsas, who excels in Greek discography as a singer/songwriter for over 40 years and who was AKTINA’s guest back in 2013 and 2015, returned to New York with a new and uplifting program which included songs from his new album “Allaxan Polla”, as well as classics from his previous successful works.

The reception he received from the audience was exceptional and everyone joined him as a big back up chorus singing and clapping along from beginning to end. Machairitsas who also stands out for his unique and friendly character embraced the audience with warmth and love.

Throughout the concert, he created a very special bond with the audience as he talked to them and shared stories about the various songs he presented contributing further in making the performance even more electrifying. Machairitsas opened his performance with the Giannis Markopoulos classic “Ta Logia Ke Ta Chronia”.

Giannis Zouganelis, a singer/songwriter and stand-up comedian added an exceptional note to the entire performance with his entertaining comic skits that brought the house down with laughter. He also performed songs from his personal discography including, “Me Yia To Kourema” and “Akatallila Ke Erotika”, as well as duets with Machairitsas. The entire program with the input of the distinguished band members who each played an important role as a group and as individuals, was truly captivating.

Photo by: Anastasios Mentis

Both Machairitsas and Zouganelis took time to thank AKTINA and Elena Maroulleti, the concert’s Executive Producer for their hospitality stressing that, “the production was superb and outstanding”. Both artists also stressed that AKTINA distinguishes itself for producing concerts which only promote “the best quality of Greek music outside the boundaries of Greece, and that this unique endeavor must be supported in order to further spread the representative music of Greece.”

Lavrentis Machairitsas also offered words of praise for Ms. Elena Maroulleti, noting that she is “a solid rock… who preserves in the USA the quality music of Greece…Unfortunately in this day and age we see low quality music taking over, but this woman, is holding on just like the fighters at Thermopile and despite the difficulties and challenges, she tries very hard to offer quality. I love her very much and whenever she asks me to come back, I will, even for free.”

On her part Ms. Maroulleti also expressed her heartfelt appreciation and love to the participating lead artists, Lavrentis Machairitsas and Giannis Zouganelis and to all members of their band, including Mario Frangoulis for his impromptu performance.

Ms. Maroulleti also thanked the concert’s sponsors, Arch Capital Group (US). Investors Bank, AMMOS Estiatorio, Bayside Diner and Green Kitchen, AKTINA’s and CYPRECO’s devoted volunteers, videographer Tom Stouras, the production assistants, Doug and Penny Chapman, Chrysso and Georgia Neophytou, Michael Tribunella, and Vlasis Anastasiou, Thanasis Tzouvelis who handled the lights and the Kaye Playhouse technical staff for the “amazing sound”.

Referring to next year’s concert, Ms. Maroulleti stressed, “next year we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our organization and of our radio program AKTINA FM and on this auspicious occasion, our concert will cover the most beautiful and loved songs of the Greek music repertoire. It will also highlight the “Magic of Bouzouki” during a concert sub-titled “Ode to Greek Song” with Greek leading bouzouki soloist and virtuoso Andreas Karantinis accompanied by the distinguished musician/songwriter Manolis Androulidakis and his band and two new and upcoming singers, Vasiliki Stefanou and Aris Kampanos.

Ms. Maroulleti also expressed special thanks and appreciation to all who attended and supported this new benefit concert and invited them to join AKTINA on April 20th for Greek Music Journey 2018 also at the Kaye Playhouse for a new and memorable performance that will revive the legendary Rembetika and Laika. Tickets for this new concert are already on sale. To charge call 718-545-1151 or buy online www.aktinafm.com.

The audience kept requesting for more, until they played an encore of more songs, and ending with the everlasting hit “Poso Se Thelo” (How much I need you); which brought the ecstatic crowd to a standing ovation, while singing and clapping along.

Watch video from the amazing November 3rd concert with Machairitsas and Zouganelis at the Kaye Playhouse; and also featuring Mario Frangoulis: