Monday, November 4, 2013

Stelios Kazantzidis | Asteria Tou Ellinikou Tragoudiou

Just reupped here.

[Originally posted in May 2011. Since then, the Greek music store where I found this moved a couple of blocks north on 31st Street, to just above 23rd Road, and I've moved several avenues south. Also, I'm pretty sure that I'm remembering correctly and that someone in the comments field wonders if I'd been watching The Wire. I hadn't. Since then, however, I've seen the show and understand where the comment came from.]

There is, a couple of blocks away from me, on 31st Street in Astoria, under the N/Q el, what feels like the Tower Records of Greek music. Now, you know I love music, especially pop music, especially-especially old pop music, from around the world. But I'm also, let's face it, not rich. I'm used to spending between $1-$10 maximum for prerecorded entertainment, especially that of a musical nature ... and there is nothing in this store less than, like, $25.

That said, you know those cartoons where the person's head is replaced by a big lolly-pop? Or sucker? Well, yes, in situations wherein I'm confronted with aisles and aisles of prerecorded product, especially that of a musical nature from other countries, that cartoon sucker-head is me.

Oh, god. Was it, like, Christmas Eve when I got this? I know it was cold and dark and depressing and there was some sort of holiday that I really had nothing to do with, but should have. And that this place was empty. Except for me. I spent hours combing through the stacks and plucked out two items, this CD and another, which perhaps I'll upload another day.

Stylianos "Stelios" Kazantzidis (Aug 29, 1931–Sept 14, 2001) was one of Greece's most popular Laïkó singers. Much of his music was included in films. And that is where my "knowledge" of him begins and ends. Well, other than the extreme kick-ass nature of the pop music he recorded. Which, if you weren't familiar with it before, you will be now.

Typically, when I'm buying music from a place like this, I'll either get extreme attitude from the person working the register, or a host of questions: "You speak [language of music]? You like [country of origin] music?"

That night, perhaps because it was Christmas Eve and I was the sole customer at this caverous CD warehouse, I got nothing but a knowing nod. Of course I was buying this CD, the clerk seemed to be saying. That, and, in what I can only assume was Greek, a "Merry Christmas, loser."

Here's a video to watch while you're downloading:


øשlqæda said...

love what you're doin here, friend. this is my form of encouragement. keep on truckin

bwana said...

hm... someone's been watching the 2nd season of The Wire, eh? Stelios is a vast emotional universe for the majority of Greek people and surely there is going to be a new interest in his songs in those hard days. You are doin' a brilliant job here - wish I had the guts and the time to do something even remotely similar to your blog. If you liked Stelios check Aris San, a Greek singer who went to Israel ad became a national pop star playing Laiko by replacing the bouzouki with the electric guitar. Once again, thanx for all those mind-blowing musical cupcakes!!!

Gary said...

Doubt you'll see this, bwana, but actually I hadn't seen any episode of The Wire when I posted this.

But, in part because of your comment, when I saw a copy of the whole second season at the Steinway branch of the Queens Borough Public Library last week, I snatched it up.

I think they play Stelios when Frank goes to meet the Greek ... or else it's when Nikki goes to the same place to discover his father's car is still there, his father nowhere to be found.

Thanks for the other Greek singer tip, too ... will keep my eyes peeled for Aris San!