Understanding the world

This weekend, renowned Greek artist Kostas Makedonas will perform two free shows as part of the Lonsdale Street Festival in Melbourne

The moment that Greek artist Kostas Makedonas made sense of the world was the moment he began his career with music. Art – in all its forms – is an expression of one’s understanding, and Makedonas uses his music to do just that.

His relationship with music and song started at an early age.

“My parents loved music, mainly Greek music, and would play folk songs in the house, so from a very early age, I began to listen and play these songs,” Makedonas says.

Born and raised in Thessaloniki, taking up music wasn’t intentional for the artist, he explains it happened organically. Even before he started school, he knew how to play and sing dozens of songs and would impress family and friends who’d visit.

At the age of ten, Makedonas took up classical guitar. He would practice on songs that he loved, that meant something to him. He would begin to involve other classmates and they would put on performances and mini concerts.

By the time high school came, he would host musical events at school and get other students with an interest in music involved. They developed a small hub of music appreciators who wanted to immerse themselves in the scenes of Greece of the time.

As a university student studying economics, he continued to perform in various musical settings throughout Thessaloniki.

His debut album ‘No Idea’ (Δεν Έχω Ιδέα), with music by St. Kraounakis and lyrics by L. Nikolakopoulou, was released in 1988 and since then Makedonas has experienced a continuous upward trend in the music scene as one of the most sought after musicians, working with almost all the big names of Greek music. His collaborative efforts include names like Alkistis Protopsaltis, Eleni Vitali, Christos Nikolopoulos, Yannis Markopoulos, Mikis Theodorakis, George Zika, Mimis Plessas, Dimitra Galani, Manolis Mitsias, Aliki Vouyiouklaki, George Dalaras, Harris Alexiou, Marinella, Glykeria, Pantelis Thalassinos and countless others.

Makedonas is the first to admit he’s had a blessed career. He has worked with some of biggest names and the most influential people of Greek music and considers himself “very lucky” because he learned a lot from them.

“I’ve had the fortune to develop great partnerships with almost all the important Greek artists throughout the years,” he says. Some of these include: Giannis Markopoulos, Mikis Theodorakis, Christos Nikolopoulos, George Zika, Dimitri Papadimitriou, Manos Eleftheriou, Mars Davarakis, Giorgos Theofanous and Nikos Moraitis.

“I also worked with leading singers and contemporaries and I’m very lucky because I learned a lot from them,” he continues, adding to the list of names Giorgos Ntalaras, Haris Alexiou and Glykeria, to name but a few.

He has 12 solo albums and has collaborated on over 40 other artists’ albums. His debut performance in Australia will include some of his biggest hits and tributes to many of the great Greek composers.

And after a musical career that has spanned 25 years, he’s finally here on Australian soil to perform two free concerts on Saturday and Sunday night as part of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Lonsdale Street Festival. Makedonas will be performing with Emmanouil Georgostathis directing Orchestra Emmetron and introducing vocals by Eirini Toumpaki.

“I am thrilled to perform for the first time in Australia,” says the artist, who says he’s been told by his contemporaries how wonderful Australian audiences are, and for the ones who have performed in the past at the Lonsdale Street Festival, what a joy this is. The reception given by the Greek Australians is second to none, and this is something the artist looks forward to.

“Our goal is to fill the people’s ears and soul with good Greek songs and – of course – have fun,” says Makedonas, who is ready and willing to give his all to the crowd this weekend.

He’s performed this style of concert with the Orchestra Emmetron and looks forward to bringing it to Australia for the first time. The show encapsulates the spirit and soul of a broad cross section of Greek songs of the past and present. It’s a show that celebrates Greek music, and the main musical instrument of the Hellenic Republic – the bouzouki.

Makedonas is a grateful artist, grateful to play to the Greeks of the Antipodes, and the wider Australian community, and engage them in song; grateful for the invitation and even more grateful to sing the songs that mean so much to him on the other side of the world – somewhere far from Greece, but where he knows he will find a much appreciative audience.

Kostas Makedonas will be performing two free concerts this weekend at the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Lonsdale Street Festival at 8.00 pm. Makedonas will be performing with Emmanouil Georgostathis directing Orchestra Emmetron and introducing the vocals of Eirini Toumpaki.