Luso-Hellenic Wanderings



The Gold in the Sky

Michales Loukovikas

Born in Thrace into a musical family, Michales Loukovikas starts singing and playing accordion and guitar in his father's varied music orchestra at 15 and thus he is able to familiarize himself with several musical genres from all around the world very early. He forms and leads rock groups, writing his first songs; he then turns to contemporary Hellenic music, mainly songwriters and composers setting poetry to music; he later concentrates on Rebetiko.


He forms and directs musical ensembles, giving thematic concerts. He also composes, arranges, sings and plays music for the theatre, puppetries, shadow plays and the cinema. As a member of a creative team (“Eurydice”), he collaborates in the writing and production of such plays. He then takes part in several Rebetiko bands, and also works as an adviser and text editor for an educational radio program (“As Long As I Live, So Long Do I Learn”).


He graduates in English Language and Literature from the Aristotle University of Thessalonica and works as a teacher of English, translator, publishing editor (“Research Publishers”) and journalist, specializing on the international arena (news and analyses in “Macedonia” and “Thessalonica” newspapers). He writes editorials and historical chronicles, as well as on cultural and educational topics.


He publishes a long series of articles on culture, especially music, around Mediterranean, entitled “Mediterranean Paraplus” (a synonym to “periplus”). These articles lead later to a successful daily program under the same title in the state cultural radio of Thessalonica (9.58 fm) that lasts for twelve years. It is the climax of his radio productions after “The Chronicle of Music”, “Music Routes”, “Looking for Orpheus” and “Flamenco: the Rebetiko of Andalusia”, where he translates and adapts into Greek the book “The Art of Flamenco” by D.E. Pohren, commenting on the similarities between the two genres. He also takes part in a disc released by the radio station in 2002.


Realizing that he has been taught only Occidental music, he focuses on the Mediterranean and Oriental folk and erudite modal tradition. Turning points in his research are his acquaintance with Ross Daly in 1987, when he becomes familiar with the theoretical bases of this music, and his participation in the international Musicological Symposium in Delphi on Mediterranean music (“Rhythms, Modes and Scales”) in 1988, when all this mass of fresh information finally settles down.


A result of his research is the disc-book The Gold in the Sky, a West-to-East musical voyage, passing through several genres, based on Ares Alexandrou’s poetry, which he sets to music, arranges, produces and translates-adapts into English; he also sings there, together with Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Andreas Karakotas, accompanied by 35 musicians; among them, Ross Daly, Manos Achalinotopoulos, Giorgos Andreou, Kyriakos Gouventas, Harris Lambrakis and Kostas Theodorou. Released in Hellas in 2008, the work is presented in Athens (Janus Bookstore) and Thessaloniki (Small Theatre).


His “meeting” with Amélia Muge in the Internet in 2009 leads to a productive collaboration and partnership. The first act is his translation-adaptation into English of her songs in the book-disc Uma Autora, 202 Canções. Having learned how to work together in this field, they set a more ambitious goal: to translate-adapt into Portuguese and expand The Gold in the Sky. The decision is taken after the presentation “Tão longe, tão perto” at Buchholz Bookstore in Lisbon, where Amélia, Michales and the pianist Filipe Raposo perform some of their compositions in December 2010. The book-disc O Ouro do Céu / Ares Alexandrou por Michales Loukovikas is eventually published in September 2011 and is also presented at Buchholz.


By that time, Amélia and Michales have already expanded their collaboration even more embarking on a musical periplus. Reviving and reliving the ancient circum-navigations, exchanging memories and ideas, traditional and original tunes, they arrive to the point to compose music and adapt lyrics on line. Their disc-book Periplus / deambulações luso-gregas, featuring music and musicians of both countries, with the writer Hélia Correia, Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Outra Voz as special guests, is released in February 2012. The work is presented in Lisbon (FNAC Chiado and Colombo) and Faro (Biblioteca Municipal), and performed in concerts at Culturgest (Lisbon), Centro Cultural Vila Flor (Guimarães), and Festival Músicas do Mundo (Sines). More concerts and presentations will follow in Portugal, but also in Hellas where Periplus is released in October. The voyage goes on…