To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greek independence, public radio station Kosmos 93.6 asked ten foreign musicians who live and work in Greece to choose their favorite song and cover it in their own language and musical genre.
The results were convincing and the show was broadcast on March 24, 2021, with Kosmos Radio head Leonidas Antonopoulos introducing songs and performers.
Almost a year later, most of these covers have been posted on YouTube, and you have another chance to enjoy them. Below you can listen to covers of Greek songs by foreign musicians from such different countries and continents as Cuba, Peru, France, Congo, USA, Mexico City, Italy, Syria and Albania, who have chosen their favorite song and “sang their own Greece”!
Musician Yoel Soto Gonzalez Born in Cuba and raised in Cien Fuegos. After important collaborations and concerts in Latin America and Europe, the bassist, guitarist, songwriter and poet has been living in Greece for the last ten years. Here he presents a Greek-Spanish version of the traditional Macedonian song ” Apano Stin Triantafyllia” as “A Orilla Del Río”, combining Afro-Cuban and Greek traditional instruments such as bata, gaida and davul, in collaboration with renowned Greek traditional singer and santourist Areti Ketime.
American saxophonist and flautist David Lynch Born in 1961 in Winnetka, Los Angeles, he is one of the most respected and accomplished musicians in the contemporary Greek music scene. Although he is clearly not of Greek origin, he developed a unique musical language by immersing it in the language of the Greek musical experience. He decided to cover Orfeas Peridis’ song “Gia poy to evales kardia mou ”, translating the title as “A familiar voice”. Unfortunately his cover is not available on YouTube, but in the following video you can see a live performance of the original song with Lynch on flute and Eli Paspala on vocals.
Martha Moreleon Born in Mexico City to a family of artists, she is a singer and vocal teacher. She has lived permanently in Greece for many years and collaborates with famous Greeks and Latin Americans in jazz music. She has always been interested in popularizing the traditional music and new song (canto nuevo) of Latin America, as well as spreading the Greek song in her homeland. Here she collaborates with Petros Durdumbakis for a cover of his own song ” Tyfles Elpides» [Ciegas Esperanzas].
French singer and songwriter Remy Kavat was born in 1985 in Grenoble, and since 2008 lives in Greece, where he moved for love. The first Greek music he encountered was rebetika and traditional music, but he decided to cover a typical pop song: thirty-six years after the release of Arleta’s “Serenata” with lyrics by Lakis Papadopoulos and Marianina Kriesi, Kavat offers his own, French version. In it, he tells the same story, but this time from the point of view of the man of the broken couple, “Panagiotis”: who left whom with what, and most importantly, what happened to the cat, little “Serenata”.
Pedro Fabian was born in Huancayo, a city at an altitude of 3200 meters on the Altiplano, the Andean highlands in central Peru. He has been active in the music scene with bands such as Tierra Brava and has also collaborated with many Latin American, Spanish and Greek artists. His cover version combines Andei, the highlands of Peru with Psiloritis, the highlands of Crete, as he chose the song risitiko “Se psilo Vouno”, translated as “En las montañas”, and sung with Vasilis Dramontanis. Enjoy the video for the song, filmed in Korakopetra, Anoia, on Mount Psiloritis.
Greco-Congolese singer and songwriter Jerome Kaluta is an exception to this list, as he is not a foreigner, but a native of Greece, born and raised in Athens. His African roots and childhood spent playing funk, soul, reggae and disco give him a unique take on Greek music. He chose the traditional Tsakonian song “Sou pa mana m’ pantrepse meand sang it in Lingala, one of the four indigenous languages with national language status in the Congo, as “balisa nga”.
Haig Yazjan, one of the most famous musicians of foreign origin living in Greece, was born in Aleppo (Syria) in 1959. He is a songwriter, vocalist, oud player and producer. His parents are Armenians from Kayseri and Nevsehir in what is now Turkey. He lived most of his life in Greece, where he began to take an interest in traditional oriental music. According to the artist himself: “As foreigners who have been living in Greece for many years, we received an offer from the Kosmos 93.6Fm radio station to perform a Greek song in our language, in connection with the 200th anniversary of the Greek revolution. I chose the song Misirlowand performed it in Armenian words. I feel honor and deep compassion for the Greek people who hugged me for 40 years!!!”
Albanian born and raised accordionist and songwriter Dasho Kurti found himself in Greece with an immigrant wave of his compatriots who, in the early 90s, after the socio-political changes that took place in their country, crossed the border in search of a better life. Like most of his compatriots, he went through hard times, but in the end he was able to do what he loves – music. He collaborated with Giorgos Dalaras for a long time and decided to cover one of the most famous songs of Dalaras and Kugiumtzis “Mi mou thymoneis matia mou”, in Albanian “Mos u trishto”.
Italian singer and songwriter from Genoa Christina Fontana lives and works in Athens. She was the lead vocalist of the dance trio Goldfish and the soul-funk-acid jazz band Dr.Vodkatini. She chose to cover “Tha’s agapo» Giorgos Chacinassios.
French-Greek singer Jan Balzan Dorizas, Greek-French musician and producer, was born in Paris in 1979 and released an album called “Bye Acropolis”. His choice fell onTo teleftaio potiraki” written by Manolis Xiotis and Christos Kolokotronis and sung in French as “Le Dernier Soir”.