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“We all have a fusion of sounds inside us,” says Greek singer and musician Eleni Arapoglou

"We all have a fusion of sounds inside us," says Greek singer and musician Eleni Arapoglou

"We all have a fusion of sounds inside us," says Greek singer and musician Eleni Arapoglou

It’s music’s biggest night. The Recording Academy handed out its 63rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night in a virtual ceremony.

The winners were chosen by 11,000 voting members of the Recording Academy.

Greek singer and musician Eleni Arapoglou is a member of the New York-based Rosa Vocal Group who appear as special guests in Croatian-American vocalist Thana Alexa’s song “Ona,” from the album of the same title.

“We became very close with Thana Alexa while recording,” Arapoglou told Kathimerini. “The project is about female empowerment and in Croatian, ‘ona’ means ‘she’,” she added.

That album was in the running for best jazz vocal album and improvised jazz solo at this year’s Grammy Awards.

“Although we only appear in one song, when we heard about the nomination we felt it as a group achievement; we felt that we were a step closer to something of our own too” Arapoglou continued.

Unfortunately the album didn’t win.

Rosa is dedicated to exploring the traditional songs of Serbia and the Balkans and comprises a group of female vocalists who met at Berklee College of Music in Boston in the United States. It is not, however, Arapoglou’s only project.

Apart from Berklee, she also studied theatre and dance at Tufts, runs workshops at Carnegie Hall and is a teaching artist for its program Lullaby Project, works with El Sistema Greece and has performed at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Park Avenue Armory.

She is also looking forward to releasing an album at the end of the year in collaboration with composer and pianist Jake Sherman. It does not have a title yet and, if Arapoglou had her way, it wouldn’t even have to be put in a specific style.

“Given my influences, I have come to terms with the fact that the album will not belong to a specific genre and this is something incredibly liberating,” the Greek singer said.

“When you finish Berklee, there’s always a fear if you’re doing things right. No matter how much you learn in art, there’s a specific formula between right and wrong you still linger with after college. There can also be a clique, in jazz especially, which will question whether your music is interesting or complex enough. The point, though, is not to try and impress but to play and write songs that bring you joy and peace,” she added.

Collaborations with Sony Music Mexico’s Leonel Garcia on the piece “Ella,” as well as her references to fados, flamenco, Argentinean and traditional Greek music, confirmed the mix that Arapoglou is after.

“With so many platforms offering music from all over the world so effortlessly, no wonder we all have a fusion of sounds inside us,” she says. “I see a lot of artists getting in touch with others individually, through social media and not at the initiative of the recording labels. So, what we get is a mishmash of many different art worlds.”

2021 Grammy’s- Best Jazz Vocal Album
  • Ona — Thana Alexa
  • Secrets Are the Best Stories — Kurt Elling Featuring Danilo Pérez (WINNER)
  • Modern Ancestors — Carmen Lundy
  • Holy Room: Live at Alte Oper — Somi With Frankfurt Radio Big Band
  • What’s the Hurry — Kenny Washington
2021 Grammy’s- Best Improvised Jazz Solo
  • Guinevere — Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah, Soloist Track From: Axiom
  • Pachamama — Regina Carter, Soloist Track From: Ona (Thana Alexa)
  • Celia Gerald Clayton, Soloist
  • All Blues — Chick Corea, Soloist Track From: Trilogy 2 (Chick Corea, Christian Mcbride & Brian Blade) (WINNER)
  • Moe Honk — Joshua Redman, soloist Track from: RoundAgain (Redman Mehldau McBride Blade)
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*More on GCT: “I sing straight from the heart”: singer Mariah K follows her passion for music
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