NEW YORK – An enthusiastic Greek-American audience at Manhattan’s Symphony Space welcomed popular singer/songwriter Sokratis Malamas and young performer Lamprini Karakostas for a concert in honor of the Greek Cultural Center’s 42nd anniversary.
Malamas grew up in Thessaloniki and recorded his first album Aspromavres Istories in 1989. Since then, he has recorded many songs and albums and has performed with famous musicians and composers. Each of his performances is a unique musical experience. Malamas has a reputation for the intensity of his performances and did not disappoint the audience at the concert on May 5.
The musical journey featured various musical genres ranging from Rembetiko (Greek Blues), and Rock, to Alternative and Greek Folk music. The lyrics to the music that Malamas performs are embedded in Greek culture, and focus on themes such as immigration, love, hardship, and everyday Greek life.
About 1,000 Greeks defied the inclement weather to attend the concert, the first ever in the US for Malamas. The concert transported many to Greece with Malamas’ performance of his hit song Pringipessa, and many other favorites that had the audience singing along and dancing in the aisles. The concert finished shortly after midnight.
In addition to Lamprini Karakostas, Malamas was accompanied by Giannis Papatriantafillou (bass), Nikos Magnisalis (drums), Fotis Siotas (violin and viola) and Kyriakos Tapakis. Titos Kargiotakis was involved in the production and Demetris Katevas was the stage manager. The musical group Nisafi opened the concert with well-known pieces from their repertoire and also received enthusiastic applause from the audience.
First time in America
Despite his songs on immigration, especially to the United States, Malamas never appeared in the US until the concert in New York. President of the GCC, Iraklis Kremmidas told The National Herald that he insisted on persuade Malamas to cross the Atlantic.
He said, “For Malamas, it was once considered impossible to come to America. I replied 'Malamas will come and sing a song.' Eventually, he came and sang many songs today.”
Kremmidas continued, “It is a great honor for us to have Malamas in the heart of New York, to sing and to dedicate the song entitled ‘Greece has taken root in America like a weed’ to the youth. It is important for the youth that today, unfortunately, is leaving Greece again,” and then thanked Malamas, Karakostas, and Lila Papamatthaiakis. “Of course, we are also honored with the presence of Mrs. Malamas, who accompanied her husband here.”
Malamas was also quite communicative throughout the concert. Indeed, he did not fail to comment on the hectic pace of New York, as well as the stringent anti-smoking measures which made him feel uncomfortable. “When I smoked, they looked at me in a style that made me believe that I was the biggest problem in the city,” he said.
Shortly afterwards, he thanked Iraklis Kremmidas and reporter Dina Giannoutsou, who constantly encouraged him to make the transatlantic journey. “The trip to New York is not like going for a cigarette, or for a cup of coffee. But in time, we will come back again,” he promised the audience.
“I will say it unambiguously. We at the GCC are singing with our soul. What is important is that a complete band came from Greece along with Malamas, something that was not easy to accomplish, but it came true,” said Kremmidas, who also warmly thanked The National Herald for its contribution and support for the organization of the concert.