“Spirit of the Greeks”: The book and album of the modern Greek music by Mark Hussey (interview)
A new book and album of modern greek music is out now in a new way with the classical guitar. The info-scanner.com , found more about Mark Hussey, his book and album.
Tell us a few words about you. How and when you became a classical guitarist?
I’m a UK born British Cypriot with a father from the UK and mother from Cyprus. I’ve been living in the UK since 1997. I gained, PhD in virology from Oxford University (2006) but subsequently turned to the guitar for an alternative career. Guitar music has always had a special place in my heart and I wanted to craft a career if possible doing something I love despite little or no formal training on guitar. With the music I was learning and playing, I started to land classical and solo guitar paid performances. Before I knew it I was being branded a classical guitarist. I would rather like to think of myself as an all round guitarist as I incorporate a lot of jazz, flamenco and improvisation into my music.
When did you release your book of sheet music and your album: Spirit of the Greeks?
The album and the book were released 1st May this year. To me it was important to release this book now because it marks almost 100 years from the birth of modern Greek music .
How did you get inspired?
The idea for Spirit of the Greeks – Greek music for classical guitar, was born out of me trying to pay tribute to the music I had gown up around in Cyprus. Being a guitarist I wanted to try to express some of these songs as solo pieces and began to craft my arrangements. After writing them down to sheet music, I thought how nice it would be to share them. I sought all the relevant permissions, and was licensed to include them in a publication. I feel rather lucky to have been able to get permission as it was quite a challenge with more obstacles thrown in the way that I could have imagined. Still, now that it is complete, I’m delighted to be able to share this sheet music for other guitar players to enjoy as well the album for the general public.
What do you believe about the Greek music? Do you believe the older repertoire is not heard anymore by the people?
I think Greek music has been largely overlooked outside Greece and Cyprus. The language is of course a barrier, but playing this music as instrumental guitar pieces may open it up to a new audience, especially to classical and Spanish guitar enthusiasts. Greek music deserves a wider audience and I wanted to play my part. In the west we celebrate the jazz , rock and pop icons but Greek music has its own genius composers, performers and all in a completely unique style.
I am sure people still enjoy the older music but it would be great to see a strong revival. I wasn’t born when most of this music was written, and so nostalgia does not really play a part in my judgement that the older repertoire is richer in many ways. It was real, honest and in a time of fewer distractions, the messages within were more important and more powerful than today. Of course, the recordings were largely unaltered and musicians really had to play well.
Do you think that there is not enough promotion for this music ? and how do you think this music should be promoted?
Through writing this book, I discovered that it is very hard for todays performers revive old Greek music through covering it with their own versions. Yes many people do record it, but I’m not sure how ‘legal’ their recording are. The copyright restrictions were an enormous surprise, and in my view of no benefit to promoting the original artists. For example, my aim was to share this music such that the original artists could be rediscovered promoting Greek music and Greek culture. This required a difficult process of seeking the copyright owners, obtaining permission, payment and agree to numerous terms imposed before I could include them in the book, even for songs that are now nearly 100 years old. I believe, covering an artists music should be seen as a positive event, in the interest of the genre, artist and the estate of the artist. It is also of cultural importance. It is strange to think that one could in theory legally perform a song of say Mikis Theodorakis, but when writing it down for others to try their hand at, you could be taken to court for damages. I’m not sure of sharing ‘how to play’ songs, does any damage. I feel strongly that it instead adds to the writers legacy. Perhaps a change to the copyright laws may be the best way helping Greek music expand its reach beyond its boarders.
Which is your favorite piece from the album: Spirit of the Greeks?
My favourite piece on the album could well be ‘Pou Nai Tha Chronia’, not least because I have so much respect for George Dalaras as singer and performer, but also because it is such a powerful, detailed song. It was what I can only describe as a beautiful challenge to play on a single guitar, fitting in as many of these details as possible. Most important however, was getting the melody right. As I was recording it felt like Dalaras was singing it in my ear. It is my sincere hope that he enjoys my rendition supported by flamenco style palmas.
The following pieces are included in both book and album, arranged for and played on classical guitar.
Xekina Mia Psaropoula
Pou Nai Tha Chronia
Bouzouki Mou Diplochordo
To Zeibekiko Tis Evdokias
Siko Horepse Sirtaki
Never on Sunday
Mark can be heard demonstrating these arrangements on the album ‘Spirit of the Greeks’ also available on Amazon, Spotify and Apple (see below)
Website – www.spiritofthegreeks.com
Book promo video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvkuu9ISYIA
Album link – https://open.spotify.com/album/2v5BvzKJDqkGzbct48mcPX?si=Hn02e-SvR3KbKhaOJbiW_g
Author (s): Info-scanner
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