There’s a thing about Greek music; it inspires, it tugs at the heart strings, it makes us get up and, well, sing. It is almost physically impossible to listen to a Hellenic beat and not move, not sing. With that in mind, the Lonsdale Street Festival will be hosting their first ever karaoke competition open to all. So if you fancy yourself as a laiko singer, then prove it.

Contestants will choose from a list of preselected popular Greek songs, and sing their heart out for a chance to win the coveted ‘Gold Microphone’ and be crowned Mr or Mrs GK 2014. Other great prizes include dinner at Hellenic Republic and a $200 iTunes voucher.

“The Lonsdale Street Festival is all about embracing as many people on as many levels as possible, and karaoke – for anyone who’s done it for more than about three minutes – knows how much fun it can be,” says Leonidas Vlahakis, co-chair, Antipodes Festival Committee, and unabashed karaoke supporter.
The ten songs selected highlight the best of Greek music from a range of genres suitable for all ages to tackle on the day. In there you will find Ntalaras, Alexiou and Hatzigiannis – to name but a few.

“I love these songs and I am partial to Greek music,” says Leonidas.

“The songs chosen are the most conducive to the environment we are trying to create, in terms of being able to sing along with them.”

He said the songs were purposely chosen to be performed by males and females and include a mix of genres to cater for all tastes and ages.

When asked if he had the opportunity to sing live on stage, which song would he choose and why, he says it would have to be S’Anazito Sti Saloniki, by Dimitris Mitropanos.

“Firstly, Mitropanos was one of the finest Greek singers of all time, and because the song refers to one of the most beautiful cities on God’s earth, and because it talks about issues that are still pertinent nowadays.”

Here’s the list of the ten songs selected:
Xeria Psila by Michalis Hatzigiannis – the darling of the Greek music scene, Hatzigiannis wowed last year’s festival with this massive hit: and we responded. Now you too can belt this tune out from the very same spot – and see the crowd go wild.

Tha Ta Kapso by Manos Papadakis – like the best Greek hits, essentially untranslatable. But applicable for anybody who’s ever felt hurt after a breakup – this one’s for you: wiggle your hips whilst singing “You took my heart – now take my money, ‘coz nothing else matters”.

S’Anazito Sti Saloniki by Dimitris Mitropanos – every Greek heart was broken the day Mitropanos left us. One of his iconic offerings, the heartstrings are tugged by images of a magnificent town – and lyrics that every Greek understands.

To Mertiko Apo Ti Xara by Stelios Kazantzidis – paying homage to one of the greatest laiko singers in Greece, the late Stelios Kazantzidis.

Kernao by Thanos Petrelis – who hasn’t sat there and screeched the greatest trifecta lyric in Greek contemporary music – Ki alo, ki alo, ki alo!… whilst imagining setting fire to a car.

To Agalma by Giannis Poulopoulos – a protégé of famous composer Mikis Theodorakis, there isn’t a more poignant song that encapsulates the true essence of the heartland of Greece.

To Vouno by Loukas Ntaralas – arguably one of the greatest rembetiko songs, To Vouno personifies the music, the lyrics and zeitgeist of the rembetika era that took over Athens.

Pou ‘Nai Ta Xronia by Giorgos Ntalaras – Ntalaras is renowned the world over and this song is one of his best. Wistful lyrics contrast the seemingly happy tune.

I Garsona by Haris Alexiou – the darling of Greek music, the legend of Alexiou. This folk song celebrates the Greek waitress, in all her glory.

Anoites Agapes by Pyx Lax – a list such as this would not be complete without a track from popular Greek band Pyx Lax. This song was orginally performed with entehno duo brothers Katsimihes.