Reigniting the Greek spirit
Two DJs with a mission to inspire Greek passion in all of us through their radio show, Karamela FM, have done just that, and much more
A desire to reignite the Greek spirit in all of us was the passion that drove the most recognised Greek radio DJs in Australia. DJ Jimmy V and Roula Angel from Karamela FM have taken a two-hour radio show on Tuesday nights and transformed it into a global craze. A craze that has taken both DJs by absolute surprise.
"We didn't put any plan in practice, we had no idea it would be this big," radio DJ Roula Angel told Neos Kosmos. The show began last year on 88.1 FM and has grown from strength-to-strength every week to the surprise of both DJs but also to what they provide to Greek culture in Australia.
"Jimmy came up with the idea to do a radio show to reignite the Greek flame because there was nothing happening at the time in Sydney. Sydney was really lacking a modern Greek radio station that would cater for Greek Australians and not just to play music, but to have celebrities coming on and talking about their art and have local talent talking to the listeners.
From its humble beginnings, Karamela FM has seen some of the most talented and experienced names in Greek music, arts and entertainment. Anna Vissi, Thanos Petrelis, Maria Maroulis, George Kapiniaris, Tony Nikolopoulos, venue owner Chris Iliadis, Alex Lykos, plus so many more. But the ethos of this station is to make sure everyone gets a go. All local talent around Australia are welcomed on Karamela FM. From artists, singers, bouzouki players, photographers, you name it, so long as they have a Greek background they are welcome on the show. It's crazy to think that given how busy both radio DJs are, holding down full-time jobs, having other interests - with DJ Jimmy V pretty much playing events every weekend, sometimes multiple events - that they still find the time to put a show together.
Roula is quick to point out it's the passion they have for Greek music, and for feeding it to the masses that drives them week after week.
"How we find the time to do this, I don't know," said Roula with a giggle. "It's something that we're both so passionate about but it's something we have fun with. It's like inviting people in our lounge room and everyone is entertained and happy."
The casual nature and style of their show is what makes it utterly appealing and utterly irresistible. And the rapport between both DJs really makes this show tick. Listeners are drawn in week after week to their world. And like the medium of radio, each show is as different as the next one. You never really know what to expect from Karamela FM As Roula puts it, "someone will say something live and we think, woops, we can't go back on that now.
"But I think that's what keeps listeners interested and what they like about the show. We're not safe, we don't always play it safe, if we kept it safe, people will tune out. We have to ruffle someone's feathers sometime. "We're not doing it to make a point of it, we are doing it because we are being honest. If you go in with your questions ready, it can sound contrived but when you do it more spontaneous it will let you go with the flow with your guest and you can see how you and your guest feels and go with that." The content of the show is something that also changes depending on the latest trends in the Greek community.
Roula and Jimmy V both have their fingers on the pulse, with DJ Jimmy V a prominent DJ who spends hours and hours trawling the net for the next big Greek hit, and Roula who is fortunate enough to travel every year to Greece. She always comes back to Australia equipped with the knowledge of the next big thing to happen and all the latest trends so their show is always as up-to-date as possible.
"Every show might change week to week. One week we might to a special on rembetika, one week we might feature an artist that is touring. Tom Hyper from Space nightclub in Mykonos will do a monthly special to give us the top five Euro hits. One week we might do a special in Greek cinema," said Roula. And since it began the radio show has begun its own onslaught of spin-off events. So far it has hosted two Greek nights, both of which were sell-out events, and the team behind Karamela FM promises to bring you more in the future.
But this Karamela FM is doing so much more than just putting together Greek nights, giving you something Greek to listen to, meeting Greek artists and finding out trends. Karamela FM keeps the Greek spirit alive by feeding it every week with a two-hour hit of Greek culture. From the way they talk on the show, to the Greek humour they use, and the songs they pick, as a listener you keep abreast of your cultural developments and you can maintain it in a multicultural society. And that's what both DJs set out to do, to make sure identity is kept alive.
"I've always been a passionate Greek," confesses Roula, "whether it's about music, it's about Greek issues, lifestyle. "Funny thing is if you knew me 20 years ago I was a punk rocker on my Harley, now I love my Greek music." Roula said the show has the right ingredients, the right team and everyone can rely on each other. Most of their listeners are based in Sydney but they have a huge fan base in Melbourne and people streaming from the UK, there really is something for everyone on Karamela FM. "We are very happy we can do something for the Greek community because that's what it's all about. Karamela FM is about giving something back."
Listen to Karamela FM on 88.1 FM from 9.00 pm - 11.00 pm.
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