MICHALES LOUKOVIKAS – bio
MICHALES LOUKOVIKAS, born in a Thracian musical family, was taught music by his father, with whom he made his first professional steps at 15, as a musician (accordion, guitar) and singer, taking an interest in various genres: varied world music, rock, music based on poetry, songwriting, theatre and film music, rebetiko, especially the school of Smyrna, and modal music.
Studying in Thessaloniki, he directed student musical ensembles, and later participated in rebetiko and popular musical groups. He was a member of the Eurydice company, writing and producing plays for various genres (theatre, puppetry, shadow plays), where he also composed or selected musical themes. Besides, he contributed to the soundtrack of the film Stories of a Honeycomb (1981), by Nikos Vergitsis, as a composer (theme music), singer and musician.
He graduated in English Language and Literature from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and worked as a teacher and translator of English, publisher (Research publishers), and journalist (Macedonia, Thessaloniki, and Angeliophoros newspapers, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) radio stations), specializing on the international arena, and culture (news, analyses, chronicles, music, art, education, and editorials). He wrote texts on music for special publications, and collaborated on radio educational programs (texts, selection of music, presentation).
Wishing to delve into the differences between the Oriental and Occidental music, he focused on the modal tradition, folk or classical. Turning points in his research were his acquaintance with Ross Daly in 1987, and his participation in the International Musicological Symposium at Delphi on Mediterranean music in 1988.
A series of articles on cultural exchange in the Mediterranean, entitled Mediterranean Paraplus (a term similar to Periplus, Thessaloniki newspaper), evolved into a successful radio program lasting for more than twelve years (1998-2010, 9.58 fm, ERT3). It followed programs such as Flamenco: the Rebetiko of Andalusia, where he adapted Donn Pohren’s The Art of Flamenco, indicating the similarities between the two genres. In addition, he took part, together with other musical producers of the radio station, in the album Radio… com+positions (2002).
He worked as a musician with the composer and musical producer Paris Paraschópoulos for the theatrical play Alexandria–Athens (2003), on the Parallel Lives of the poets Constantine Cavafy and Kostís Palamás, produced by the art company Aktis Aeliou, Thessaloniki. He also teamed up with the writer, researcher and songwriter Thomás Korovinis in concerts.
A result of his research in modal music was The Gold in the Sky (2008), a West-to-East musical voyage based on Ares Alexandrou’s poetry, featuring 35 distinguished musicians (such as Manos Achalinotópoulos, Giorgos Andreou, Ross Daly, Kyriakos Gouventas, Andreas Karakotas, Harris Lambrakis, Kostas Theodorou, and Eleni Tsaligopoulou). He presented the Gold (voice, piano, accordion) in the Small Theatre, Thessaloniki, in company with K. Theodorou (double bass, guitar, percussion).
His meeting with Amélia Muge in the “Internet sea” led to a productive partnership, initially with his English adaptation of her songs in Uma Autora, 202 Canções (2009), and then with her Portuguese version of The Gold in the Sky poems, in the bilingual book-disc O Ouro do Céu / Ares Alexandrou por Michales Loukovikas (2011), presented in the bookstores Buchholtz, Lisbon. Amélia and Michales appeared for the first time together in the same hall, playing in company with the pianist Filipe Raposo in 1910.
Adapting ancient and traditional songs, as well as composing originals on line, Amélia and Michales carried out their Periplus / deambulações luso-gregas (Luso-Hellenic Wanderings in the international edition, 2012), with the poetess Hélia Correia, the singer E. Tsaligopoulou, and the vocal ensemble Outra Voz, as special guests. Periplus was presented in Guimarães (Centro Cultural Vila Flor), Lisbon (Culturgest), Sines (Festival Músicas do Mundo), Thessaloniki (Demetria Festival, Womex), Athens (Ianos bookstores), and Rio de Janeiro (Festival Tão Longe, Tão Perto, on music and poetry, at the University of Brazil, in four concerts, two of them together with the ensemble Música Surda.
Michales participated in Amélia’s work on Amália Rodrigues’ verses, Amélia com versos de Amália (2014), as artistic co-director, composer, arranger, and with Amália’s verses adapted into an English version. He also took part as a guest in Amélia’s concerts in Alte (Algarve), Auditório Carlos Paredes (Benfica, Lisbon), and City of Traditions (INATEL, Lisbon).
Amélia and Michales’ latest project, ARCHiPELAGOS / Passages (2017), was premiered at the Sãο Luiz Theatre, Lisbon, in November 2017, with excellent reviews in the press. In Greece, it was presented at Ianos, Athens, in May 2018, with equal reception. Special guests in this venture were the poetess H. Correia again, the composer G. Andreou, the singers Teresa Campos, A. Karakotas, Catarina Moura and Rita Maria, the women’s traditional vocal ensemble Cramol of the Workers’ Library in Oeiras, and the Plucked Strings Orchestra Thanasis Tsipinakis of the Municipality of Patras.
The voyage goes on…
● With Friedrich Hölderlin’s Archipelago (i.e. the Aegean) as a starting point, and deeply moved with Euripides’ tragedy Orestes (408 BCE), we voyage to Syria to listen to an ancient hymn (1400 BCE) as a lullaby of… awakening, or as a lament on the Sorceress Sea and the refugees’ drama. Crossing the Mediterranean and the Pillars of Heracles, we sail around Macaronesia (Macárōn nẽsoe, or Elysium: the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde) in search of Cesária Évora.
We sail back to Greece, with Sappho singing about love (Eros) and loneliness, or to Portugal, with Fernando Pessoa’s weariness of being. From a harbour’s tavern, where João de Deus, Giorgos Mitsakis and Vasilis Tsitsanis sing of voyages with no return, we fly to imaginary islands: Utopia, Ithaca of Penelope, and Neverland, where lost kids dance a… Thracian traditional dance!
- Hélia Correia “takes us down to earth” in times of indigence, without gods or Argonauts, polis or agora, with Pan dead on the Aegean islands, in the ruin of Hellas, or in Alexandria engulfed in flames, in the antipode of Pericles’ democracy, to the accompaniment of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Marcia funebre.
In the songs of nostalgia, Tsitsanis meets Rosalía de Castro, José Niza, Armando Soares, and Violeta Parra, as Greece, Galicia, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Chile are joined together. Joys and dances of nostos follow, with José Saramago and Giorgos Andreou. Another meeting, on the sea waves, is that between the medieval minstrel Martín Codax and the rebetiko composer Panagiotis Tountas, concluding the voyage in a feast with a peculiar Greco-Portuguese and Afro-Andalusian bulería: o come, all ye faithful (to art) – you are all welcome!
Some concerts and festivals
• February 2012: Centro Cultural Vila Flor (Guimarães, Portugal).
• February 2012: Culturgest (Lisbon, Portugal).
• July 2012: Festival Músicas do Mundo (Sines, Portugal).
• October 2012: Womex (Thessalonica, Hellas).
• October 2012: Ianos (Athens, PERiPLUS).
• May 2013: Festival Tão Longe, Tão Perto (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
• October 2013: Demetria Festival (Thessaloniki, Hellas).
• November 2017: Teatro Sãο Luiz (Lisbon, ARCHiPELAGOS).
• May 2018: Ianos (Athens, ARCHiPELAGOS).
• The Society of Portuguese Authors (SPA) selected the disc among the three best albums of 2012.
• The jury of the Sopa da Pedra blogspot elected it as the best album of the year.
• The Expresso newspaper as the 2nd best disc.
• Crónicas da Terra of Terra Pura radio as the 2nd best folk album in Europe.
• Mundofonias of RTVE selected it among the best discs of 2012 in the world.
• Periplus was also nominated for the British fRoots charter with the ten best albums of the year.
• 2002: Radio… com+positions, 9.58 fm music producers
• 2003: Alexandria – Athens, Paris Paraschopoulos, Actis Aeliou theatrical company
• 2008: The Gold in the Sky, Michales Loukovikas, Ares Alexandrou
• 2009: Uma Autora, 202 Canções, Amélia Muge
• 2011: O Ouro do Céu / Ares Alexandrou por Michales Loukovikas
• 2012: Periplus / deambulações luso-gregas, Amélia Muge, Michales Loukovikas
• 2012: Periplus / Luso-Hellenic Wanderings (international edition)
• 2014: Amélia com Versos de Amália, Amélia Muge, Amália Rodrigues
• 2017: ARCHiPELAGOS / Passagens, Amélia Muge, Michales Loukovikas