CHICAGO – The musician’s path can be a difficult one to navigate, but if the talent is there, plus a strong desire and dedication to the music, the sky’s the limit. Thessaloniki-native and gifted musician Giorgos Apostolidis began playing the bouzouki at a young age. Most recently, he has been delighting fans with his unique talent, skill, and technique at Brousko in Chicago. He spoke with The National Herald about his life and work and keeping the unique cultural tradition of Greek music alive in the United States.
TNH: Tell us a bit about your background, did you always want to pursue music?
Giorgos Apostolidis: Since I was 5 years old, I remember playing with my father’s bouzouki every day. Music was my passion and while I was growing up, I realized that this is what I want to do for a living. When I finished high school, I went to college and I majored in classical music.
TNH: Is your family also musically-inclined and are they supportive of your work?
GA: Bouzouki was my father’s hobby. He knew some songs, so he taught me my first song on bouzouki. When I decided to get my first job, my mom was against it because I was too young. I was only 14 years old. But my will was so strong. I felt that bouzouki is my future and that I would love to pursue it as a career, so I got my first job as a bouzouki player when I was 14 years old.
TNH: What inspires you and your music?
GA: Usually emotional situations, when I was kid I remember that the only thing that made me happy was listening to music. Emotions inspire me to create music.
TNH: What can the Greek-American audience look forward to in your upcoming performance?
GA: I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to contribute to keep alive the Greek culture in America and give the opportunity to Greek-Americans to learn about my Greek instrument and music.
TNH: What projects are you working on next?
GA: I have to prepare for the live Greek cultural events at Brousko Restaurant in Chicago where I will be playing my cultural instrument (bouzouki). People in Greece know that the way I play bouzouki is so unique that they are coming to attend my performances to see me play. All these productions serve to further enrich the appreciation and understanding of Greek traditional music for many Greek-Americans in Chicago. To describe these productions as culturally unique only scratches the surface of its importance to our heritage.
More information about the upcoming performances at Brousko is available online: http://brouskochicago.com/athenian-nights/.