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Athinorama - Eleftheria Arvanitaki & Lavrendis Maheritsas - "United Power"

We went to… VOX!
Eleftheria Arvanitaki & Lavrendis Maheritsas
"United Power"

by George Haronitis, Athinorama Magazine 13th February, 2003

 On the occasion of a collaboration (either in discography, or on stage) of artists with a strong identity and personality such as Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Lavrentis Maheritsas there should be a balance where one should highlight their common aspects and not their differences and special characteristics of each one of them. This is something that the audience should understand and accept - and this is what happens at "VOX" ever since December when the show of Eleftheria and Levrendis started.

I have watched the joined performance of Eleftheria and Lavrendis three times  and I have the sense that their common presence is not lost even at those parts of the show where each artist is on stage alone and together only with his or her band, playing for his or her very own fans. But at "VOX", there is not an instant that the unity is lost and that attention is distracted! This is the magic of a performance that is marked by a high level of creativity.

 From the very beginning one is fascinated by the sound - and, trust me, this is not very common although it should be. The arrangements - the core (in a sense) feature of a music project - is something that Eleftheria Arvanitaki knows very well and the talented George Zachariou (responsible for the arrangements) knows that even better. It doesn't take much to make an aesthetic magic: you just need the right colors...

 The music, the very beautiful set of Manolis Pantelidakis and the opening presence of Eleftheria ("There is no love without pain", "Wave after wave") open the door to a world that is surely ours. The steady voice of the newcomer Isaias Matiaba is a very good bridge for the Bob Dylan-like rock feeling of Lavrendis - who plays with his own band and is accompanied by the female singer Elissavet Karatzoli. This is a song-making feeling that is typical of Lavrendis Maheritsas and that is expressed by him in a consistent, sensitive and successful manner for many years now. This feeling is perfect both for this club and this collaboration.

 After that we smoothly go to a very beautiful solo section of Eleftheria Arvanitaki - a section that is a continuum of her last year performance ("Istoria Palia", "Akti", "Efiges Noris", "Kathreftizo to nou", "Tis Kalinichtas ta Filia" etc.) including songs that will always be 'ever-green' and 'all-time classics'. Lavrendis' "Didimoteiho Blues" is of course an all-time classic, too, his performance is definitive, and the rock feeling gets rougher and even more urgent. The follows their duet in "Me to idio mako" and right after that there is a game including pop and laika songs that aim at 'clarifying' the artistic descent and the influences of Lavrendis and Eleftheria: Songs of "The Charms", songs of the wide screen by Manos Hatzidakis, laika songs and… fun! I often say that all songs that Eleftheria re-performs are given a 'second career' and, most importantly, they acquire higher standards (no, my friends, I am not exaggerating!): Classic songs of Stavros Xarhakos, laika of Zambetas and Plessas etc. they all become brand new!...

 The jazz part of the show - that Arvanitaki familiarized us with at her last year performance - follows very naturally - and aims at cooling us down (supposedly). Having an enriched wind instruments team accompanying her, Eleftheria is literally flying and the show gets even hotter! This is a direction that Eleftheria should pay extra attention to and even work on it separately. This is my point of view and I have the guts - and the gall - to say it out-loud.

 At the final part, the two artists are together on stage - and they both perform their top songs - and even though it's been about three and a half hours since the beginning, you feel you want more and more and more… It is the chemistry, it is the quality, it is the feeling, and it is the knowledge… And we are all happy: Eleftheria, Lavrendis, us. Mostly us.

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