As far as George Dalaras is concerned, the 80’s was an era of extensive touring abroad along with performances in prominent musical halls in Europe as well as in the United States. It was within this framework that the artist embarked upon his fascinating encounters with composers, performers and musicians from around the world. With a number of them he met on stage upon international Peace and Solidarity events (the peace concert in Vienna in 1983, the Berlin concert following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Amnesty International concert in Athens) while, with numerous others he met upon the instance of personal concerts they jointly gave or upon the instance of discography works they mutually shared in Greece and abroad.
In 1987, Al Di Meola was invited in Greece to interpret three Greek songs by Manolis Chiotis, Giorgos Zampetas and Takis Morakis with his guitar; these compositions had been the outcome of the ‘Latin’ influences of the 50’s. The 1987 recordings were for George Dalaras’ “Latin” disc title. Al Di Meola, in the summer of that same year staged a concert within the framework of the Patras Festival; George Dalaras took part in this concert by playing alongside Al Di Meola and by singing these songs. In November of 1988, the two artists met again within the framework of the extensive Dalaras’ tour in the United States at the time. Al Di Meola had taken part in the two big concerts that had then been held in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Six years later, on April 1994, Al Di Meola took part in the big concert for Cyprus that had been staged in Meadowland, New Jersey inviting, in parallel, Dalaras to participate in his “ORANGE AND BLUE” record with a song that was devoted to Cyprus. In the summer of 2000, the two artists met again in Al Di Meola’s concert that was staged in the Athens, Lycabettus Hill theatre.
Dalaras’ first encounter with Paco de Lucia occurred in November 1986 in a concert that the two of them gave in the Athens, Peace and Friendship Stadium. In that concert, the two artists had performed both a Greek and a Spanish ‘Latin’ song which had consequently been recorded and included in George Dalaras’ “Live Recording” record. In 1988, two years later, the two of them met again within the framework of the two Mediterranean Music Festivals that had been staged in Madrid and in Majorca.
In 1988, the Athens Olympic Stadium hosted the Amnesty International Concert; Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman and George Dalaras had all participated in it.
In March 1989, the artist had interpreted –within the framework of the “Dimitris Mitropoulos” prize organization- Ariel Ramirez’ “Misa Criolla” conducted by Stavros Xarchakos. The composer himself had then been invited and after attending the performance, he had made the acquaintance of George Dalaras. The same piece of work was presented in the Athens Concert Hall in the beginning of 1996 while, towards the end of last year it was staged in Berlin in collaboration with the legendary Deutsche Oper Berlin.
In 1992, he took part in the Athens concert by Jethro Tull interpreting a song composed by Ian Anderson, the band’s leader. Dalaras’ participation at the time had been included in the band’s record release that included live performances by the band’s tour at the time.
Towards the end of 1995 and, within the framework of a concert held in the Old Frankfurt Opera, he became acquainted with Joan Faulkner, the famous American jazz singer. Together, in the course of that concert, they had interpreted two songs by Alexandros Karozas, a composer of Greek origin. George Dalaras met again with Joan Faulkner in September 2000 in the Conservatory of Herod of Attica accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra within the framework of the events that took place towards the support of the Acropolis museum.
In 1998-99, he collaborated on stage for a period of 4 whole months in Athens and in Salonica with Goran Bregovič, the famous Yugoslavian composer. Prior to this collaboration, there had been their collaboration on the “Thessaloniki – Giannina on a pair of canvas shoes” record release.
In May 2001, his “Dashing Asphalted Road” record was internationally released. His old friend, Al Di Meola, took part in this release along with Sting with whom George Dalaras interpreted their version of his “Mad about you” hit song. This song was once again interpreted by the two of them the same year when George Dalaras was invited to join Sting onstage in the course of the latter’s concert in Athens.
In June 2001, he collaborated with Jocelyn Smith, the famous American singer and the Ossipov Russian Orchestra in the concert that was organized in Delfi by the United Nations High Commission to honour Mikis Theodorakis.
In September 2001, two unique concerts were staged in the Conservatory of Herod of Attica in which George Dalaras performed with the French Emma Shapplin. These concerts constituted the topmost events by the United Nations High Commission for the Refugees. The High Commission, in order to further its causes, released a CD single that included a rare version of the “Spente le stele” song by the two artists.
In November 2001, he met Grzegorz Turnau in Athens in the studio; Grzegorz Turnau is one of the most famous Polish singers and a huge fan and admirer of George Dalaras. Turnau has listened to and trailed Dalaras in the concerts that the latter has staged in Poland and he has been extensively influenced by his sound as well as by his interpretation techniques. It was for this reason that he asked Dalaras to collaborate with him in a duet titled “Flower” that was to be included in his new album that was released a year later and sold over 35,000 copies in a very short period of time. He has, also, expressed his aspiration to participate, in his turn, in one of Dalaras’ next recordings.
Towards the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, he collaborated with the soprano Deborah Myers and the Cyprus State Orchestra in three large concerts that were staged in London, in Copenhagen and in Paris; these concerts aimed at promoting the cultural countenance of Cyprus.
In August 2004, George Dalaras performed two concerts entitled “30th – 40th parallel – Musical Journey to the Mediterranean” at the Herodes Atticus Odeon, with special guests Dulce Pontes, Stefanos Korkolis, Eddy Napoli, Mira Anwar Awad, Macarena Giraldez Losada, Marcos Jimenez Antonio and Compania Flamenca “Ronda Al Alba”, Halil Moustafa and Mehmet Moustafa. The artists were accompanied by a popular orchestra and ERT’s National Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Loukas Karitinos.
In parallel to having been acquainted with important musicians and performers, in the course of the recent years he has toured almost all around the world with a programme based on selected songs and ballads from the Mediterranean while, he has been accompanied by the most significant orchestras of the world. In 1997, he collaborated with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in two concerts that were staged in the Mann Auditorium. The live recordings of these concerts were released by EMI Classics under the: “George Dalaras and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra” title. Previously, he had collaborated with the Metropole Orchestra of Holland the recordings of which had similarly been internationally released in fifteen countries. Prior to the above, he had collaborated with the Berliner Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata-Orchestra of the Friends of Music, the Ossipov Russian Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Kremlin Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra and with prominent conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Nikolai Kalinin and others.
Thus, we find George Dalaras embarking, in the course of the last 15 years, upon a series of “crossovers” of his Greek musical consciousness with people, experience and creations from the international repertoire within the framework of his incessant quest in the Greek musical environs for new persons, significant songs and interesting collaborations. It is a process of selections that attempt to surpass sensationalism and to enter a framework of substantial exchange of musical and other practices and understandings. The fact is that Al Di Meola not only interprets songs by Chiotis, he also takes part in a huge concert for Cyprus and he includes a song in his record release that was devoted to the island’s cause. The fact is that, Dalaras not only comes across Ian Anderson’s ‘dissimilar’ to him sound or, tested in the atmosphere of Ramirez’ ceremony…The fact is that all these diverse personalities appear to be united, a proof that the horizons of an accomplished Greek folk singer are endless, no matter the direction he gazes at. And, finally, we are sure to experience even more interesting events in the times to com