On October 19, a soulful, vibrant concert, Screen to Stage, closed out the most successful New York City Greek Film Festival ever with a flourish of bouzouki and amazing performances by Dimitris Basis and Aphrodite Daniel. An enthusiastic audience at the Cutting Room in Midtown Manhattan chose to reach for their kefi on Wednesday night rather than take in the Trump/Clinton final debate on TV, and nobody regretted the decision as they tuned in to beloved songs of the Greek cinema.
Reminding us what a crucial part music plays in film, multitalented Dr. Apostolos Pappas and Stelios Taketzis of Cosmos FM provided narration that added immeasurably to our delight and appreciation of the music. Achilleas Wastor directed the Syn-Phonia Band with Yiannis Sinanis on the bouzouki.
Starting with Daniel’s rendering of Never on Sunday by Manos Hadjidakis, winner of the 1960 Oscar, the show continued with Daniel singing the international hit Don’t Ask the Sky. The musicians presented film compositions from Greece’s brilliant and timeless composers including Mikis Theodorakis and Mimis Plessas. Composer Plessas created music for more than a hundred films and TV programs, and is considered the father of the Greek musical. Although O Dromos, his best-selling album was not written for a film, the musicians performed a few compositions from it in Plessas’s honor to the delight of the capacity crowd.
Ultimately, Basis’s performance of Rebetika brought down the house. The audience responded with singing, clapping, and one woman showing her appreciation by jumping up on the stage to dance with Basis.
Dimitris Basis thanked everyone for coming out to hear the music that “is so close to my heart.”