A pianist friend from Greece told me four years ago that Alkinoos is "the best new musician Greece has right now." And my Athens cousins gave Alkinoos a thumbs up long ago.
The beauty of Alkinoos is that he is an anti-star. And his music and lyrics are his own - those of a lover-rebel. Even the album art is a family affair - his father is a painter.
From Cyprus, the singer is in his 40s. Just as he is not afraid to show his grey hair, he is not afraid to express a feeling in a weird octave. Sometimes there are English horns, recorders or a stringed instrument. It makes you listen. And the words and instrumentation deliver.
His new album, "local stranger," is a best-of CD that I picked up at his only NYC show last night. It's presented in English, lyrics all in Greek, and it is really mellow and accessible and addictive, even if you don't know Greek. Favorites songs:
Afternoon at the Tree (apologies for the YouTube remix)
All Love Dreams Of
This Changing World
You can buy it on Amazon!
Alkinoos plays small venues when he tours; I only heard about the show from a last-minute, local poster. He raps, does a waltz, includes bouzouki, and even tries some orchestral arrangements.
Some critics can't relate to the rock component in some of his songs, but Greek youth have been getting hard rock in volumes for decades. Those same kids also hear traditional music. One more lesson in the hodge-podge that is Greece.
Alkinoos ended last night's show with an acoustic, un-microphoned Cypriot lullaby that his grandmother once sang to him.
Post show, we went out for salad, Halloumi cheese and a Cypriot ground-pork-and-mint meze you sprinkle with lemon.
Here is the Alkinoos Ioannides tour schedule.