Spring springs eternal
Mario Frangoulis says he sees himself as more than just a singer: “I see myself as an ‘ambassador’ for Greece and an ambassador for all that Greece stands for: great poetry and music, culture, an incredible language, arete, sophia, techne as the three tenets of Greek culture, and I would also add one more: ethos.”
He wanted to do something for Greece, which he calls, “a magical, mystical and inspirational place,” and he wanted to do something for the children of Greece (“We can’t stand by and let our children suffer the way they are right now”), and so despite being told nobody in Greece right now could afford a concert, “I went out and found a sponsor to underwrite most of our expenses so that we could have tickets for 10 and 15 euros and open the doors to let everyone in. It was my first solo tour in Greece. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous. I remember calling someone on my team the night before our first show and saying, ‘Do you think anyone will come tomorrow night?’
He went everywhere “from Rhodes to Lefkada, and we had thousands of people in every location – it was an all-Greek program (except for a signature ‘Granada’ here and there). My goal was to go to people, not force them to come to me. To inspire them, remind them of the incredible music of Hadjidakis and Theodorakis and Xarhakos and the poetry of Elytis and Seferis and Gatsos. People sang along, they laughed, they cried. Students and young people came. It was my contribution to my people, and that’s why I named the tour ‘Anoixta Ftera’ (Open Wings): it was my way of embracing my country and encouraging people – reminding everyone that we have to have faith in ourselves and be true to our hearts. This is why I always tell everyone everywhere, no matter where I am in the world, and why I am proud to be Greek.”
Spring, it seems, is most beautiful in Greece. The colors are brighter and more vivid—the sky and sea more blue, the flowers on the mountainsides and on the taratses in the terra cotta pots and old olive oil tins a veritable Van Gogh orgy of color, the houses milk-white or sky-blue, the churches like great marzipan creations, soon to resound with the rituals of Holy Week, the faithful summoned to worship with the clamor of bells, the little girls with their skinny fawn legs and Spring dresses, the little boys in their new haircuts, all of Greece looking as new and clean and colorful as Spring itself.
Spring will bloom in Greece this year as beautiful as ever, and Easter will go on, but the people in Greece are truly suffering, the children are truly suffering and deserve a better Spring and Easter and a childhood that is safe and secure and promises hope. Our children have plenty in America. This Easter let’s think of the children of Greece and how we can help them with the basics like food, clothing and school supplies. There are plenty of organizations doing good work. Find out about them and see how you can help.