Yannis Kotsiras in Sold Out Concert to Support AKTINA Radio & TV
Greek popular singer Yannis Kotsiras was the new guest star during AKTINA’s Greek Music Journey 2015 concert on April 17th at New York’s landmark theatre the Kaye Playhouse at HunterCollege. Kotsiras was welcomed on his first personal performance in the U.S by a full house of AKTINA supporters and his fans from all walks of life and ages Greek and non-Greek. The concert produced by Elena Maroulleti and co-presented by the non-profits AKTINA Productions and CYPRECO of America was given to benefit public service media AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV on WNYE 91.5FM and channel 25 respectively.
The multi-talented Yiannis Kotsiras who is also a musician and a composer, played the guitar and the harmonica at times. He was accompanied by three talented musicians with whom he collaborates for many years, Vangelis Machairas on the bouzouki, tzoura and mandolin, Akis Katsoupakis, piano, keyboards and orchestrations and Kostas Michalos electric and classic guitar. His performance included a wide variety of his most loved and popular songs which mark and highlight his career over the years, pieces from his latest album, “O,ti Thymasai Den Pethainei” as well as songs by great Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis and Stavros Xarhakos. He opened his program with his everlasting hit “Efta Potiria” (Seven Glasses).
In his welcoming remarks Kotsiras said that he felt exceptionally happy and honored for being invited to perform and for visiting New York once again, however as he noted this time around “on my own”, meaning giving his first personal performance. Referring to the concert he stressed that “it has a very special meaning” since its core mission is to support AKTINA and its media outlets noting that, “every Greek voice outside of the boundaries of Greece is extremely important”. After introducing his musicians he noted that “We truly thank AKTINA for giving us the opportunity to also gain something, and that is to play our music, for the opportunity to travel and discover new places and more importantly during a time of need for giving us the opportunity to also contribute to this benefit cause.”
Kotsiras also paid a special tribute to Elena Maroulleti by dedicating his great hit “Handra Thalassia” (Blue Charm), a sweet song which says to always wear a blue charm to avoid the evil eye.“This woman has truly given her soul so that this concert is successful and she also offered us an exceptional hospitality, I and my musicians dedicate this song to her from the bottom of our hearts,” he said as he presented the song.
At the end of the show, Yannis Kotsiras was honored with AKTINA’s “Distinguished Artist Award” in recognition of his important contribution to Greek music and for supporting the organization’s non-profit mission with his participation in the benefit concert. This award is presented to selected artists who participate in AKTINA’s Greek Music Journey concert series. Yannis Kotsiras was the second recipient. The first was legendary singer/songwriter Lavrentis Machairitsas who performed as AKTINA’s guest star in November 2013.
The evening also included honorary presentations from New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides who awarded Proclamations on behalf of the City of New York to AKTINA Productions, Inc., recognizing among other, “22 years of excellence in preserving Hellenic identity and culture” and to Yannis Kotsiras “for his outstanding and enduring artistic contributions to the Hellenic world”. During the presentation Mr. Constantinides highly praised AKTINA for the important and valuable work it produces through its highly rated programs AKTINA FM and AKTINA TV, as well as through its “worthy” cultural performances and urged everyone in the audience to continue their support.
Yannis Kotsiras was so moved from the whole experience that he decided at the end of the show to treat the organizers and the audience to a spontaneous rendition of Frank Sinatra’s legendary song “New York”. “Following all these honors.” he said, “I have to give back something. Tonight I will do something that I never did before …I will exercise my English” and then took off with the song which at the end turned to the renowned Mikis Theodorakis instrumental “Zorba the Greek” something that truly lifted the audience.
AKTINA’s Greek Music Journey 2015 continues on Friday, November 6th, also at the Kaye Playhouse, with Lavrentis Machairitsas who returns to New York for yet another memorable and unique performance. He will be accompanied by his band and the renowned singer/songwriter Miltos Paschalides. For info and tickets AKTINA’s phone number is (718) 545-1151 and their website aktina.org