Pavlos Andronikos is a former lecturer of Modern Greek at Monash University in Melbourne.
He’s orginally from Elephant and Castle, an inner city suburb in London famous for being a lunatic confluence of road interections that you almost need a PhD in pedestrian-crossing not to get run over by a double decker bus on one of its scarier roundabouts.
Andronikos has kept his London drawl and a laid back, London ‘street’ attitude.
In Australia Andronikos has been mixing with many Greek-Australian artists and with a longstanding appreciation of music he decided to compile an anthology of music by Greek- Australians, entitled In a Strange Land.
“The title is an allusion to the psalm ‘By the rivers Babylon’, and is taken from the line ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?'” writes Andronikos on his website, “and the natural landscape of Australia and the flora and fauna all struck me as very strange when I first arrived here in 1981…”
The project started, “When I first met Steve Adams who was lecturing in Music at Monash and he seemed like an ideal collaborator,” said Andronikos, “as well as producer because he’d trained as a sound engineer. So, we went about applying for funding through the Australian Council and once the grant came through, we set about putting it all together.”
When queried about whether he had a strong criteria for what kind artist would ultimately make the grade in this anthology, Andronikos said. “I had done research on Greek Australian music and I had given a paper in Sacramento in the US. I’d listen to quite a bit of stuff and so had quite a strong idea of what I liked.”
Stylistically the parameters of the album are that “they are not a syrupy presentation of bouzouki music or purist musical cliches yearning for some lost golden age of Greek music. But a hard-hitting collection ranging widely in styles from traditional Greek folk to the electroacoustic soundscapes.”
“We have managed to get the cream of Greek-Australian composers, except for two: Tasos amd Christos Ioannnidis who should have been on it,” said Andronikos The breadth of material on the compilation is borne out by the fact that it traverses the electracoustic landscapes of Stephen Adam, the Greek rock of Stelios Tsiolas and a choral piece from Irini Vella’s opera Little City.
There is even a touch of jazz in Christella Demetriou’s Night, arranged by Melbourne jazz clarinettist Ken Schroder. The anthology contains 16 tracks by 10 composers including Irine Vela and Achilles Yiangoullis, members of the Aria-awarded The Habibis, which performed in the film Head On.
The late Costas Tsicaderis, is also represented on the CD as is George Xylouris, the multi-instrumentalist from the famous Cretan musical clan. Stelios Tsiolas too, who has presented and conducted numerous concerts throughout Australia, and was assistant conductor to Mikis Theodorakis for the presentation of the oratorio Axion Esti at Perth Festival with the WA Symphony Orchestra.
Finally Andrew Kyriakopoulos, formerly of Slutpump and Everhard, and a relative newcomer to Greek music. One may ask, why are all of the contributors to this anthology Melbourne based? Andronikos simply says, “Melbourne just happens to be where most original Greek-Australian music is created.”
Songs can be downloaded for personal use from: http://members.iinet.net.au/~andronikos/InAStrangeLand.html