Sharon Vaughn from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom and Stano Simor from the Czech Republic represent diverse music scenes in their respective nations with their contributions duly noted across the year. Their aim in joining this feature is to see what lies beneath each track of this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we edge towards the mid-way of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Greece whose broadcaster, ERT has been drawn in slot number #9 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled Alcohol is Free is co-written by Stathis Pachidis and Ilias Kozas whilst the vocalists will be none other than the group, Koza Mostra featuring. Agathon Iakovidis.
Ilias Kozas, as the lead singer of the band Cabaret Balkan, one of the best Greek Balkan Bands, in their most creative period. Kozas had a restless mind with many significant collaborations, and he sought a more personal way of expressing himself. He realised his goal by forming the band Koza Mostra, which became one of the most famous Balkan, ska bands in Greece. Christos Kalaitzopoulos, Born on February 22nd, in Ptolemaida, Northern Greece. He started studying accordion with Aleksandar Tchuev. He has twice won the first prize in the Greek Accordionists competition and once the second prize at Star Ways, Kragujevac. Co-founder of the group “Los Mujeros” he participated at a very young age in several gigs such as Schoolwave 07, 08, 09.
Vassilis Nalbantis was born in Kozani. He had the opportunity to play and record as a full member or guest artist, with bands and orchestras from almost every music gender: A funk-reggae band called Orchestra Sonora, the Balkan-swing band Melios Balkana Mama, pop-RnB band Elements, surf band Meanwhile in Mexico, reggae band Global Vibe, electronica-dub trip-hop band Auditors Domination, and the Balkan-ska-punk band Koza Mostra. Alex Archontis was born in Thessaloniki, on May 23rd, 1984. In 2005, he joined Cayetano’s live band and performed all over Greece. Succeeding the tour with Cayetano, he joined the band Emigre as a session musician and he participated in the recordings of three albums. Finally, in September 2011 he met with Ilias Kozas and joined the newly formed band Koza Mostra.
Stelios Siomos was born in Thessaloniki, on December 16th, 1980. He discovered his passion for music at a very young age and he formed his first band James Down playing soul, funk music and participating in local gigs. Further down the road he joined Koza Mostra where he performs as a musician. Agathon Iakovidis is devoted to rebetiko music, loyally serving it since 1973, refusing to sing any other –even more popular- styles. He is a keen collector of vinyl records of rare rebetiko recordings. In 1977, Iakovidis created the Rebetiko band of Thessaloniki and he released two records. In 1981 he moved to Athens, where he worked with famous musicians such as: Kostas Papadopoulos, George Koros, Vassilis Soukas, Lazaros Koulaxidis, Nikos Filippidis, Nikos Chatzopoulos and many others. He has toured all around Greece, Europe and USA.
Greece organised a national selection in conjuction with MAD Television for this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest due to financial constraints. The idea was to bring about record labels to contribute artists and this was the case in the four entry selection process. In the meantime, the nation is one of the most success in the international competition especially since 2001 when the group Antique took to the stage with the song Die for You finishing in third place. A couple of years later, in 2005, Helena Paparizou who was the lead singer of the aforementioned group took the crown with the song My Number One just ahead of Chiara who is currently making headlines in Malta for her track Żarbun. Following eight consecutive years in the top ten, the country did not sustain such a positive outcome in 2012 with Aphrodisiac by Eleftheria Eleftheriou finishing in seventeenth place with just sixty-four points.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: The title will probably go down well! Only managed to get the chorus lyrics – I presume the rest is about booze. Good mix of ideas. Truly ‘Madness’ Booze, bouzoukis, kilts and ska – great combination.
Sharon Vaughn: Fun and well performed but too frantic for the listener to receive the full impact
Stano Simor: Up-tempo “SKA” song. This type of song normally works because the people act funny. Title of the song is well thought out as well. Singing melody is more near the Russian songs rather than Greece though. It seems to me that this could very well be the intention of the group and the nation, to try and lure Eastern Europe. Don’ t think it can jump to the top positions.