Friday 29 January 2016

Interview with George Kontrafouris in Linto

Editor: Gogo Dimopoulou
G.D.: Mr. Kontrafouris, is jazz a genre that is simply hosted in Greece or have we made it ours in an evolutionary sense?
George Kontrafouris: I think it is evolutionary as it has been in Europe. Jazz belongs to the Poles or the Finns, as much as it does so to the Greeks. Nevertheless, we believe that there is a Finnish jazz scene or a Polish jazz scene. I think this happens. It’s the same as with classical music. In general... music is not like language. Music is a universal language that anything can be taken by a different country and become its own. Just think that Rebetiko is played by the Finns in Finland. And I think we should be proud to listen to them.
G.D.: You teach at the Ionian University and impart your knowledge. Do you recognize a different approach to jazz music by your students- the young musicians?
George Kontrafouris: All the children playing here today come from there (the Ionian University). First, they are more sophisticated than my generation and better trained than us. They have reached a level faster than it took us to get there and that is how a positive development towards progress occurs. But nevertheless, there is flame, prudence, spirit and interest. They are good kids and this is the most important thing because first we are human and then everything else. They are also moral children. When they go out on stage, what changes and is fermented is not the music part... for me it is the change in the ethos of music that is most important.
G.D.: Tell us a few things about the work being done at the Ionian University, about which a lot has been heard.
George Kontrafouris: It was Dimos Dimitriadis’ dream. It was he who started it and I believed in his vision. I am the second to gain tenure. And good work has been done. And now there is a good "batch". We try to make it on our own at the Ionian University. D. Dimitriadis is now a secretary general in the only international organization of jazz schools. We participate every year. In the University there is also Stefanos Andreadis, a guitarist. Our former students we hire so that they teach. Vasilis (Vasilis Podaras- drums) has gone forward and is now studying for a masters degree, Teri Vakirtzoglou who has been to New York, has been brought back and now she teaches there.
G.D.: Could you please share one of your next professional plans?
George Kontrafouris: To begin with, this group will produce a record. During Easter it will be completed. I have made a trio album with Petros Klampanis and Alexandros Drakos Ktistakis that is a bit freer. It is based on some poems that I have written and they will be performed by Alkinoos Ioannidis who is my friend. In general, I play (music). I am going back to Corfu, and then on Monday I am playing in Helsinki with Timo Lassy. I do the best I can.
G.D.: We would like to thank you and we are looking forward to listening to you live in a few hours on Linto Stage.
George Kontrafouris: Thank you.

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