April 22, 2008

Vangelis Papathanasiou & IRENA PAPAS-Odes

Artist: Vangelis Papathanasiou ,
Irena Papas
Album: Odes
Year: 1979

The music of Odes is inspired by and mostly based on tradional Greek folk songs.On ‘Odes’ Vangelis teams up again with an old friend who'd worked with him before on the Aphrodite's Child album '666'. All songs Greek actress Irene Papas sings on this album are Greek traditionals to which Vangelis adds two instrumental tracks. ‘Odes’ is one of the very few projects Vangelis has been involved in that also has any sort of literary component. Greek author turned politician Arianna Stassinopoulos, who wrote books on Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso, contributes some poems and texts along with Irene Papas, which are printed in the booklet. The latter wrote a few rather dramatic introductory lines, in which she relates how the songs were always with her from childhood, how they reflect the emotions and common destiny of the people in the communities in which they survive across time and place. This folk music is rather austere but quite evocative and uses mostly those typically Mediterranean modal harmonies. Vangelis on the whole makes sparing use of his instruments with Irene Papas sometimes even singing on her own or accompanied by a single melody-line. She hasn't got a great voice, a bit like that of Marianne Faithfull, but it’s quite effective and suits this music. And of course she speaks Greek so is able to really “act out” the songs.


"This is Vangelis' greatest work - it is a very contemporary, well advanced for its time, re working of traditional Greek folk songs from the 19th Century using electronics, operatic motifs and complex arrangements-without negating authenticity. Irene Papas is magnificent interpreter of the emotion, depth of these works. She is a master actor and a brilliant vocalist. All Vangelis' other works pale in comparison to ODES."

"Magic is the word that could describe this album! The simplicity of the melodies and the singing with the modern Vangelis'arrangements create a unique atmosphere. It is a Greek album with a particular modern color thanks to Vangelis and Irene Papas. Even if it was recorded more than 20 years ago sound so fresh and new! Highly recommended!"

"Even if this is an Irene Papas' album, I keep this record in my Vangelis' section, simply because it is the genuine music of Vangelis: like Jon Anderson used to sing for Vangelis, Irene does the same job here, and she succeeds very well. The music is absolutely beautiful and VERY expressive. There are drums & percussions that, combined with the echoed chants, give a traditional character to the music. The music is globally rather mellow and relaxing. There is a permanent echo applied on the instruments & vocals, so that it really gives a concert ambience. The music is probably sung in Greek, and the modern keyboards are not endlessly floating, so that the ancestral & folkloric dimension involved can stay in the foreground. The tracks have elements coming from many of the Vangelis' albums: they have the modern sonority of albums like Opera Sauvage and China, but they also borrow ideas from earlier albums like Earth, Heaven & Hell, Albedo 0.39 and Spiral, among others.
On "Les 40 Braves", the voice of Irene Papas and the Gregorian chants act in unison with Vangelis' keyboards: some bits remind me the majestic Mask album! There are many tubular bells sounds, which remind the arrangements of the aforementionned albums. The instrumental "La danse du feu" has a beginning pretty similar to the "Nucleogenesis" track of the Albedo 0.39 album. This album is very underrated. Any serious Vangelis' fan must have it!"


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