Maria Elena Kyriakou with soaring ballad ‘One Last Breath’ will go on to fly the Greek flag at the massively historic 60th Eurovision Song Contest this May. After topping the public and jury voting of the EuroSong Final airing 4th March, our female soloist’s melodic track will go on to represent Hellas, our tune, is obviously more of a slow speed feel than the bulk of their efforts recently. Tony Neophytou reviews the highlights leading up to selecting our 36th Greek song representative to date…
It’s 10 year’s since the advent of the winning ‘My Number One’ of Elena Paparizou with almost consistently unbroken Top 10’s, and it goes almost without saying the Greek nation has strong back-bone in Eurovision successes and results.
The 31-year-old singer actually is a Cypriot born and bred in Larnaca and co-writes with Efthivoulos Theocharous and lyrics penned by Vaggelis Konstantinidis, and Evelina Tziora. Her record label Minos-EMI Universal is bidding obviously, for a decent result wise outcome which is aiming at realising qualification hopes for the team.
She is a doubtlessly very pretty and classy and is evoking much in the way of feeling in her song. The whole thing starts a little silently with emotive piano, and peppered with strings adding to the atmosphere of our tune, which steadily builds in a fairly solid progressive ballad way.
In my opinion our effort has qualifying potential to the final all the way from the first Semi-Final where it’ll be battling really hard from it’s specifically, 6th draw for a rightfully deserved place for the finale night.
Cypriot Maria is the reigning champion of ‘The Voice’ after proving triumphant for last year’s Greek talent show format. Maria Elena also this March initiated a long run at the Posidonio which is a very popular bouzoukia in Athens, appearing with Giannis Ploutarhos and Kostas Martakis all the way to August with only the mini-‘break’ for Eurovision interceding to affect Maria’s domestic music schedule this spring.
Our hosts Mary Sinatsaki and Ntoretta Papadimitriou for two hours of the transmission live at the Enastron music hall. They sung with former entrant, Freaky Fortune ‘Rise up’ in the interval act. Celebrating, the biggest moments of Greek entry’s ever was Boys and Noise cover rendition to Antique’s ‘Die For You’ rekindling our memory banks of 2001’s Top 3 result that year.
First act was C:Real with ‘Crash and Burn’ their lively rock-pop style entry was fusing solo bouzouki in the bridge section of the track to give that Greek touch.
Thomai Apergi and Legend, with ‘Jazz Kai Sirtaki’, all Greek language song was certainly full of happy feeling, insipidly fun, with very fast, rousing bouzouki featuring at the very climatic break-down of the up-tempo number.
Hopeful Barrice presented his Greek pop ditty ‘Ela’ combining… lively bouzouki Sirtaki in the break.
Shaya’s ‘Sunshine’ was a fairly up-beat effort fusing strong elements of Greek Clarinet with a very exciting bridge part of the track – just all Klarino. This reviewer, LGR dj, is adding the lively cut to the track-listing favourites of this year’s summer hits.
Elena Paparizou almost inevitably sung a new mix of ‘My Number One’ with all five of the competing artists relieving, in a small way, that occasion, sweeping us back exactly to the momentous win. Paparizou also covered Austria’s entry ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ and new track releases ‘Love Till It’s Over’ and ‘Aggeloi Den Klanei’.
The video footage of Bessi Agyraki, Elpida, Alex Kostala, Constantinos Christoforou and Elena Paparizou also a highlight gave our competitors really top tips for how to succeed in the song contest itself.
Thanos Kalliris and Kings covered 1987’s ‘Stop’ number and Giorkas Lorkas with his ‘Watch My Dance’ zeimbekiko filled entry of 2011 was joined on stage by the Children’s SOS Choir for his act. The event specifically re-united boy-band One with the Cypriot’s highly-ranked Top 6th result with the ‘Gimme’ song.
The jurors consisted of Nikos Ksanthoulis, composer and director of music at NERIT, composers Mixalis Oikonomou, Giorgos Niarxos and Tzik Nakasian, also Litsa Piskera (former public relations of ex-ERT), Reggina Kouri public relations of Mad TV, and formerly Greek act Marianna Efstatiou in 1989 and 1996 also composed the full judges that night.
Cypriot John Karayiannis proved his ballad savvy mettle with a modest performance of ‘One Thing I Should Have Done’.
Greece will compete in Semi-Final one on Tuesday 19th May, jostling for one of the Top 10 relevant qualifying places in the Final airing on Saturday 23rd May at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.
Article written by Tony Neophytou
The military parade marking the anniversary of March 25, the Greek Independence Day, has concluded in downtown Athens.
Festivities are currently underway with traditional dances, music and high spirits, despite the rainy weather.
President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos attended the parade along with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Parliament Speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou and ND leader Antonis Samaras.
This year’s March 25 festivities marking Greek Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation are different to what Greeks are used to. The ‘alternative’ festivities resemble a Balkan feast with a number of parallel events that include Greek traditional songs and dances in downtown Syntagma.
Cyprus marks Greek National Day with island-wide celebrations
Cyprus celebrated on Wednesday the Greek National Day, with religious services and pupils` parades in all major cities throughout the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus.
Celebrations in the capital, Nicosia, centered around the Panayia Phaneromeni Church, in the old part of the town, where a commemoration service was attended in the morning by the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, the President of the House Yiannakis Omirou and representatives of political parties, of the military leadership and of the Greek Embassy.
The service to commemorate the begin of the Greek independence struggle, in 1821, was officiated by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, while MEP Costas Mavrides has addressed the panegyric of the Day.
Later on, President Anastasiades attended the pupils` parade, in front of the Embassy of Greece, in Nicosia, and afterwards he addressed a reception, hosted by the Greek Embassy to honor the Day.
Similar celebrations were also held in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and other smaller towns.
Article written by PROTOTHEMA/CNA
On Friday 17th April, LGR Club Nights will be hosting a Mingle & Meet singles night @ Flames Restaurant and Shisha Lounge in North Finchley.
Meet and greet in a romantic and chilled atmosphere. Sit outside in the heated Shisha Garden and enjoy Habibi Shisha, where all guests will receive £5 off Shisha pots.
Guests also have the option of taking part in our mini speed dating section, which will be hosted using single’s of similar ages. Alternatively guests may choose to enjoy a few drinks whilst LGR DJ’s play Greek & English music for your entertainment.
Feel free to bring friends, (single or otherwise) to have a cocktail with and help you get talking to other eligible men and women.
This event will be held at Flames in North Finchley, 3 Leisure Way, High Road, Finchley, N12 0QZ. Free parking, free wifi. Doors open from 8pm till late.
Our online ticket shop is now closed. Tickets will also be available on the door of the event, subject to availability.
To buy tickets for this event please visit our events page: Over 25’s Singles Night tickets from Skiddle.
Sell tickets online: Skiddle Promotion Centre
Article written by London Greek Radio
UN Secretary General`s Special Representative for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide (pictured) will hold a series of meetings on the island on Monday and Tuesday.
Eide will be received on Tuesday morning by President Nicos Anastasiades and later on he will meet Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglou.
On Monday afternoon he is meeting a delegation of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team in the buffer zone, and on Tuesday afternoon he will meet the Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and his team.
As part of his outreach to other actors who have a crucial role to play in efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement, Eide will also host an event for women civil society representatives and media from both communities.
According to CNA sources there are “indications but no decisions or agreements” for the resumption of negotiations in April, if NAVTEX is terminated and Turkish vessel Barbaros leaves Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone.
In such a case, it is noted, the Greek Cypriot side is ready to return to the negotiating table.
In October 2014 President Anastasiades suspended his participation in the talks following a Navigational Telex or NAVTEX, issued by Turkey in October last year, as Turkish seismic research vessel “Barbaros” violated the Republic’s exclusive economic zone.
Repeated calls for the withdrawal of “Barbaros” went unheeded by Ankara, which announced in January the NAVTEX`s extension until April 6, 2015.
Cyprus Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides (pictured) has expressed Nicosia’s disappointment and regret for the fact that not all fellow EU member countries offered their support regarding the violations of the country’s sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by Turkey.
“Solidarity among partners is a two-way street. On the issue of Ukraine, Cyprus has consistently participated in the EU consensus, actively supporting the EU position, even though it has entailed a significant cost for the Cyprus economy at a time when it is recovering from the blow suffered by the March 2013 Eurogroup decision. We expect the same solidarity from our EU partners on issues that are of vital importance to us,” said Christodoulides during an event held at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on Wednesday evening.
He called on the European partners to ask themselves “what it says about the credibility of the EU and whether it is acceptable that there was such a strong reaction by the EU vis-à-vis Russia in the context of the Ukraine crisis, while the EU has opted for a very cautious approach when it comes to Turkey’s – a candidate country’s – actions in Cyprus, an EU member state.”
The Government Spokesman was addressing an audience of British parliamentarians and members of London’s Cypriot community. He started off by providing a comprehensive summary of the way the latest round of talks on the Cyprus issue has developed, strongly criticising Turkey for its actions over the EEZ of the Republic. As he noted, these actions left President Anastasiades with no other option but to suspend the Greek Cypriot side’s participation in the negotiations. “It is abundantly clear that Turkey’s actions, in the midst of the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement, serves only to seriously undermine the negotiating process and raise more serious doubts as to Turkey’s commitment to reaching a settlement, and contributing concretely to this direction,” he added.
Christodoulides stressed that the Greek Cypriot side has made it clear that it is ready to return to the negotiations provided that Turkish provocations seize. He pointed to a number of proposals by President Anastasiades that would allow the negotiations to resume, which “were unfortunately rejected by the other side.”
With regard to the recent visit by the President of the Cyprus Republic to Russia, the Government Spokesman said it was part of the long-standing practice of keeping all permanent members of the UN Security Council duly and equally informed of the latest developments. “A small country like Cyprus, with 37% of its territory under military occupation by Turkey, cannot afford to ignore any of the permanent members of the UN Security Council,” noted Nikos Christodoulides.
He also referred to the traditionally proactive and supportive role Russia assumes in the Security Council when Cyprus is discussed, contrasting this to “difficulties” Cyprus often faces with the stance adopted by other UNSC permanent members.
As for the intense media scrutiny the President’s visit received, the Government Spokesman commented that the reports “often ignored the fact that in all meetings President Anastasiades pressed the EU’s united and principled stance on the Ukraine crisis.” Referring to the agreements signed in Moscow, he said that the Agreement on Military Cooperation updates and codifies the ongoing framework of operational cooperation between the two countries, and that the MoU on Naval Cooperation spells out existing naval aspects of this cooperation in an implementing document for improved operation purposes on a case by case clearance by Cypriot authorities, already provided to the Russian fleet.
Christodoulides also spoke about Cyprus’ central and decisive role in promoting security and stability in the turbulent region of the Eastern Mediterranean, highlighting the key role the country is playing in tackling terrorism – by supporting form the very beginning the coalition against ISIS and contributing in the international community’s efforts in every possible way.
He made a special reference to regional cooperation and synergies created with Cyprus assuming an active role in building them and noted the potential of the hydrocarbon discoveries in the EEZ of the republic of Cyprus: “They have the potential of transforming the island into an important pillar for implementing the EU’s policy to enhance energy security by securing alternative supply corridors.”
As for the country’s economy, he said that the full implementation of an ambitious economic reform and consolidation program, along with the sacrifices by the resilient Cypriot people, is yielding tangible and positive results sooner than expected. “We have not yet reached the end of the road, but we are certainly approaching the end of the economic crisis,” said the Government Spokesman.
The event was hosted by a number of MPs from all major parties in association with the President of National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Peter Droussiotis.
Droussiotis said in his introductory speech that Turkey remains defiant – “an occupying force unwilling to take the steps which will bring unity to Cyprus as well as stability to the island and the wider region.” He added that Turkey seems intent to undermine the settlement efforts, as demonstrated by its illegal incursions into Cyprus’s EEZ. He also accused the international community of applying double standards in reference to the reaction over the Ukraine crisis and in comparison to the reaction against Turkey.
Labour MP Gareth Thomas praised the Cypriot government for the way it has approached the talks and said that although Turkey has an important role to play in terms of regional security, it has to do its bit to help reunify the island.
David Burrowes, a Conservative MP in north London, said that the UK has a heavy burden and responsibility to try and find practical ways in seeking a solution to the Cyprus issue, and he also highlighted the importance of returning Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.
Jim Sheridan from the Labour Party raised the question of the contrast in the international response to the situation in Ukraine and the one in Cyprus and Sir Alan Meale, also a Labour MP, wondered what is the point of being part of the EU family if the rights of one member are not safeguarded by the rest.
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The UK Minister for Europe has reiterated his government’s full support for all UN Security Council resolutions relevant to the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.
David Lidington was responding to a question posed by the north London Conservative MP David Burrowes, a long-standing friend of Cyprus, regarding steps taken by the Foreign Secretary “to support the return of Famagusta in accordance with the UNSC Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992).”
In his written answer the Foreign Office minister stated that he understands the strength of feeling about Varosha, the present state of which reflected the consequences of the continued division of Cyprus.
“We fully support all relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 550 and 789. We have raised this issue with the Turkish Cypriots and with the Turkish authorities,” read Mr Lidington’s answer.
He added that he remains convinced that, ultimately, a comprehensive settlement is the best chance of resolving these complex issues. “The UK will continue to support the UN-led negotiations which will address the questions of Varosha, Famagusta and other issues related to a comprehensive settlement,” he continued.
He also stated that the British government welcomes confidence building measures between the two communities, as they can have great value in fostering reconciliation and facilitating a comprehensive settlement.
He specifically referred to a meeting he hosted at the Foreign Office on 2 March at which Chambers of Commerce of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities were represented by their Presidents, both of whom spoke about the way in which a settlement would increase the prosperity of everyone on the island.
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The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will address the Cypriot community at an event hosted by the Conservative Friends of Cyprus on Tuesday 24 March in north London.
The free event, which is open to supporters of CFCyprus, will include a speech from Philip Hammond outlining the Government`s position on Cyprus and highlighting the steps taken since David Cameron became Prime Minister to strengthen bilateral ties with the Republic of Cyprus.
Many Parliamentary friends of Cyprus, including Theresa Villiers, David Burrowes, Nick de Bois, Mike Freer, Matthew Offord, Sir Roger Gale and Sir David Amess, will also speak at the event.
Jason Charalambous, Chairman of CFCyprus, has said “this will be an exciting opportunity to hear from the Foreign Secretary and MPs about Britain`s strengthening relationship with Cyprus and the steps the Conservative Party proposes to take to improve bilateral ties if they win the General Election in May.”
CFCyprus is a member-led organisation that was founded in 1991. It seeks to promote the Conservative Party across the UK and to strengthen the relationship between the Conservative Party and the Republic of Cyprus.
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The UK Minister for Europe David Lidington (picrtured) noted for the second time in a few days the cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus on security issues as well as the unanimous EU response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, giving an answer to a Commons question on agreements signed between Cyprus and Russia.
Conservative MP and head of the APPG for Cyprus Matthew Offord the Foreign Secretary “what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Cyprus about the decision to allow the Russian military to use port facilities on that island.”
In his written answer Mr Lidington stated that the UK government was aware of reports of recent agreements, including military agreements between the Republic of Cyprus and Russia.
“It is our understanding that the military aspects represent a continuation of existing arrangements. The United Kingdom remains fully engaged on a range of security and military issues with the Republic of Cyprus,” noted the Foreign Office Minister.
He then referred to the “united message” sent by the EU to Russia that its actions in Ukraine “are in flagrant breach of international law”. He added that “all member states, including Cyprus, unanimously agreed to impose measures against Russia in response to these actions.”
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The euro area Finance Ministers meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss the way forward for the Greek programme following Eurogroup`s decision to grant a four-month extension to Athens, with a view to put forward a new reform programme.
Greek Finance Minister Yianis Varoufakis (pictured) will brief his counterparts on a set of seven reform proposals he sent to the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The meeting will take place in the aftermath of Varoufakis` comments that in case the Greek proposals are rejected, the government may consider early elections or a referendum on the proposals.
During the meeting, scheduled to begin at 16:30 local time, Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades will brief the Eurogroup on the way forward with regard to the foreclosure law, whose suspension by the Parliament has left the island`s fifth programme review pending. Georgiades will brief the Eurogroup on the fifth insolvency bill that has been approved by the Council of Ministers.
The parliament has suspended the foreclosure law on the grounds that the law should be put into force together with the insolvency framework.
Georgiades told the press on Sunday that Cyprus could conclude the fifth review by mid April.
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And officially, it’s our UK 2015 entry…
Electro Velvet comprised of Alex Larke is 35 year’s old from Welwyn Garden City, and Bianca Nicholas at 26, of Beckenham in Kent, will sing up-tempo track ‘Still in love with you‘. Newly formed pop duo, fly the UK flag, at May’s Eurovision Song Contest. It’s song-writing is by David Mindel and Adrian Bax White who were chosen in the BBC’s submission format after receiving 100’s of entries.
Their electro swing style, its 1920’s jazzy retro, mixing that with electronic music producing our up-beat track, fairly catchy with useful hook that seems to linger a little after you’ve heard it once… or twice… it’s certainly fun quirky entry, with a very exacting type of British wit and character, definitely, something of a nice effort to this year’s Eurovision which is full of very deserving ballads…
The official video looks slick, really well produced with a jazz-hall atmosphere, and their supporting cast of strong extras, injecting, the joyful spirit of definite 20’s jazz feel, all smiley and happy. The party’s in full-swing, jiving, Charleston steps… so there’s much in the way, of lively foot-work and a little fluorescent colour affect in the preview tape of our song. There you will see something almost of a BBC period set-piece staging, with our couples’ bitter-sweet love thing, certainly something which feels like it was constructed in the most light-heartedly way.
The UK’s record lately isn’t anything to rave about and all of their results are lowly, Top 20th or lesser even in fact. It’s hard guessing, or predicting result but I am ruling out winning at this gut reaction to the song. Having said that, my opinion is we have a refreshing piece of fun, pop light-relief with quintessentially, ”their” British wit and humour to Eurovision’s final line up this year.
So let’s say best of luck to Alex and Bianca who’ll be contesting the grand final on Saturday 23rd May at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.
Article written by Tony Neophytou