Alkistis Protopsalti: I love Australia and the Greeks of the diaspora

Alkistis Protopsalti – Just the name alone brings to mind a deep, recognisable singing voice and explosive stage presence.

Luckily for Greeks across New South Wales and Victoria, they will be able to witness Alkistis perform live this month as she arrives Down Under to appear at the Greek Fest Darling Harbour in Sydney and the Antipodes Festival in Melbourne.

Ahead of her arrival, The Greek Herald sat down with the singer to hear about how her upbringing influenced her professional career and she also sends a message to Australia’s Greek community.

What inspired you to become a singer?

Music was everywhere in our house. My mother Maria had a wonderful voice and she was singing all the time in the house. She had a better voice than me. My father Stavros was playing piano – whenever he had some free time – and my grandfather Giannis played the violin. There were magical moments that I remember until now. Later in school and especially in high school, I was in charge of all the parties. I had a guitar and I was singing always during school trips. But I also had a great love for sports.

I was running as an athlete in the 100 metres and 400 metres under the umbrella of Panionios, but at last I decided to follow my heart which was full of music. Through song I learned how to express my feelings and lure the audience into the magical world of music.

You were born in Egypt to Greek parents. How has this upbringing influenced your music?

I was born in Alexandria, Egypt and at the age of 6 we returned to Greece. The family and relatives were divided. Some of my uncles travelled to Australia and the rest of them went to America. Luckily my parents decided to return to Greece. I didn’t have time to feel the local music because I was very young.

What has been a highlight of your career so far?

I will tell you the four most important to me.

First of all, the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Greece in 2004. Singing at the closing ceremony was really an awesome moment which I will never forget in my life. Secondly, the concert at an open theatre by the Tagus river in Portugal. On stage with me was the director, Dimitris Papaioannou. It was an amazing experience. An extremely cold day with very strong winds. Unforgettable!

Also amazing was the concert at the theatre in the Forbidden City of Beijing where I experienced unique moments. At last our concert in Cuba, in Havana where I had 12 encores. What an audience!

You are returning to Australia this year to attend Greek festivals in Sydney and Melbourne. How do you feel to be returning?

I feel wonderful. I love Australia. I love it because it is a unique country, with beautiful weather and lovely people. I also love it because in that country you can find Greeks who have dreams, who have touched the future of themselves and their children. I love the Greeks of the diaspora because they always do things that connect them with the motherland. We are talking about the third, fourth generation, but still if you see their eyes you understand that there is the Greek sparkle. I think that the nostalgia, the passion and the Greek hospitality is following the new generations too.

What can people expect to see from your concerts?

In these concerts the audience will listen to the best of my career, but also the well known songs of great Greek composers such as Theodorakis and Xarchakos. It is a rainbow of musical colours from Greece. Together with five soloist musicians making fire we will come all together as one huge hug.

Do you have a message for the Greek community in Australia? 

I will dedicate to the audience the title of one of my songs Ki imaste akoma zontanoi (We Are Still Alive). I wish them health and all their dreams to come true. I want them to pick their life up from where they left it because of COVID-19 and move it forward. Be grateful for every second of life. I look forward to seeing you.


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