What can you say about a singer who can moves you to tears even when you can’t understand the words. I’ve just returned from ‘The Songs of Greece’ a performance by Eleni Galanopoulou and Glen Capra, with Kostas Katoinis adding some deft and beautiful guitar to the arrangements, and featuring a selection of songs by Hazidakis, Karonakis and Thodorakis.
Eleni Galanopoulou has a voice that is possessed of an electrifying hurt glory; and magical ability to trigger a whole range of emotions just by the sound her voice makes. Why else would I be sniffing and dabbing my eyes and feeling uplifted and affirmed in a grey and rainy lunchtime in Brighton? And I wasn’t alone in reacting this way in the Unitarian Church’s lunchtime concert.
I have worked with Glen Capra on a few projects, including the CD of Clameur. And it is a privilege to see his musical partnership with Eleni Galanopoulou evolve into a masterclass of sensitive and complementary listening and musicianship that sets the jewel of Eleni’s voice perfectly. ‘I know how and where she breathes’ he told me afterwards, and this attention to detail shows in the performance.
This is the only the second time I have heard Eleni sing, the previous time was in Kavala, Greece. At the time, I said jokingly to Glen that it was as if the soul of Greece is singing to you. Now I don’t think this is a joke at all. There are very few voices like this, with a fiery beauty that seems to magically transcend the individual singer. Eleni Galanopoulou has one of them.