Greek diva to perform on Turkish stage
ISTANBULTekfen Philharmonic Orchestra will deliver a concert tonight at Istanbul’s Zorlu PSM in honor of the 60th anniversary of Tekfen Holding, to be accompanied by Greek diva Alkistis Protopsalti, a stalwart promoter of Greek culture and music, and a famous name from ethnic jazz, Lebanon’s Rabih Abou Khalil. The concert will be conducted by Uzbekistan’s Aziz Shokhakimov.
In an interview, Protopsalti, recognized as an intercultural music ambassador of Greek music, said she viewed herself as the small ring of a magnificent music chain that unites the whole world. “I share my dreams, the joy of creating, sadness, hope, sensitivity, love, the color of Greece and its unique light with my audiences.”
Protopsalti has been appearing on stage for more than 40 years. She says that she still feels the same excitement she had the first time she went on stage. “During a live performance, I still feel like my heart will leave my body. Because for me, live performances mean confronting myself first and then the rest of the world. This keeps me alive. I always pass tests, but it makes me feel joyful for life just like a little child.”
Protopsalti has previously performed in Turkey and spoke about what she still remembers about the country. “I have visited Istanbul many times; performed on its stages and strolled around its bazaars. I like its people, colors and smells. I love the Yerebatan Cistern; it has a unique acoustic. I sang a short a Capella song there and was really impressed. The Bosphorus, boats and the sunset are magnificent. I also visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, performed poetry accompanied by music during a student conference on Heybeliada [island]. It was an unforgettable experience. I took the stage in Ankara and still remember its fantastic audience,” she said.
When asked about how her music had been affected by the crises, wars and tragedies in the world, she said she believed that everything happening in the world changed the way people express themselves.
“Of course it is not possible to not be affected by the happenings in the world. Songs create the musical record of history and express lots of feelings such as love, disregard, loneliness, sadness, mercilessness, death, separation and joy. I have performed with other artists in order to help those who are unable to make their voice heard. We have performed for the right to live, environment, equality and world peace,” the Greek diva said.
At the height of her successful music career, Protopsalti was appointed Greek tourism minister in 2015. She explained how she decided to become part of politics, saying: “It was a great honor to serve Greece in a different way but not that different from what I have always done with my music for my country. It was very impressive when I took an oath for the country. The Ministry of Tourism is the mirror of our country and our culture. Tourism is the most important investment for our country. But I have only music in my blood.”
Regarding her concert with the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, Protopsalti said the orchestra and their sound impressed her.
“I close my eyes on stage and make a journey. I feel that all sounds embrace me and I turn into a part of the universe. I am very pleased that I have the chance to perform with Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra and share my soul with them. I hope it will be a perfect beginning for the future,” Protopsalti said.