Maria Elena Kyriakou with soaring ballad ‘One Last Breath’ will go on to fly the Greek flag at the massively historic 60th Eurovision Song Contest this May. After topping the public and jury voting of the EuroSong Final airing 4th March, our female soloist’s melodic track will go on to represent Hellas, our tune, is obviously more of a slow speed feel than the bulk of their efforts recently. Tony Neophytou reviews the highlights leading up to selecting our 36th Greek song representative to date…
It’s 10 year’s since the advent of the winning ‘My Number One’ of Elena Paparizou with almost consistently unbroken Top 10’s, and it goes almost without saying the Greek nation has strong back-bone in Eurovision successes and results.
The 31-year-old singer actually is a Cypriot born and bred in Larnaca and co-writes with Efthivoulos Theocharous and lyrics penned by Vaggelis Konstantinidis, and Evelina Tziora. Her record label Minos-EMI Universal is bidding obviously, for a decent result wise outcome which is aiming at realising qualification hopes for the team.
She is a doubtlessly very pretty and classy and is evoking much in the way of feeling in her song. The whole thing starts a little silently with emotive piano, and peppered with strings adding to the atmosphere of our tune, which steadily builds in a fairly solid progressive ballad way.
In my opinion our effort has qualifying potential to the final all the way from the first Semi-Final where it’ll be battling really hard from it’s specifically, 6th draw for a rightfully deserved place for the finale night.
Cypriot Maria is the reigning champion of ‘The Voice’ after proving triumphant for last year’s Greek talent show format. Maria Elena also this March initiated a long run at the Posidonio which is a very popular bouzoukia in Athens, appearing with Giannis Ploutarhos and Kostas Martakis all the way to August with only the mini-‘break’ for Eurovision interceding to affect Maria’s domestic music schedule this spring.
Our hosts Mary Sinatsaki and Ntoretta Papadimitriou for two hours of the transmission live at the Enastron music hall. They sung with former entrant, Freaky Fortune ‘Rise up’ in the interval act. Celebrating, the biggest moments of Greek entry’s ever was Boys and Noise cover rendition to Antique’s ‘Die For You’ rekindling our memory banks of 2001’s Top 3 result that year.
First act was C:Real with ‘Crash and Burn’ their lively rock-pop style entry was fusing solo bouzouki in the bridge section of the track to give that Greek touch.
Thomai Apergi and Legend, with ‘Jazz Kai Sirtaki’, all Greek language song was certainly full of happy feeling, insipidly fun, with very fast, rousing bouzouki featuring at the very climatic break-down of the up-tempo number.
Hopeful Barrice presented his Greek pop ditty ‘Ela’ combining… lively bouzouki Sirtaki in the break.
Shaya’s ‘Sunshine’ was a fairly up-beat effort fusing strong elements of Greek Clarinet with a very exciting bridge part of the track – just all Klarino. This reviewer, LGR dj, is adding the lively cut to the track-listing favourites of this year’s summer hits.
Elena Paparizou almost inevitably sung a new mix of ‘My Number One’ with all five of the competing artists relieving, in a small way, that occasion, sweeping us back exactly to the momentous win. Paparizou also covered Austria’s entry ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ and new track releases ‘Love Till It’s Over’ and ‘Aggeloi Den Klanei’.
The video footage of Bessi Agyraki, Elpida, Alex Kostala, Constantinos Christoforou and Elena Paparizou also a highlight gave our competitors really top tips for how to succeed in the song contest itself.
Thanos Kalliris and Kings covered 1987’s ‘Stop’ number and Giorkas Lorkas with his ‘Watch My Dance’ zeimbekiko filled entry of 2011 was joined on stage by the Children’s SOS Choir for his act. The event specifically re-united boy-band One with the Cypriot’s highly-ranked Top 6th result with the ‘Gimme’ song.
The jurors consisted of Nikos Ksanthoulis, composer and director of music at NERIT, composers Mixalis Oikonomou, Giorgos Niarxos and Tzik Nakasian, also Litsa Piskera (former public relations of ex-ERT), Reggina Kouri public relations of Mad TV, and formerly Greek act Marianna Efstatiou in 1989 and 1996 also composed the full judges that night.
Cypriot John Karayiannis proved his ballad savvy mettle with a modest performance of ‘One Thing I Should Have Done’.
Greece will compete in Semi-Final one on Tuesday 19th May, jostling for one of the Top 10 relevant qualifying places in the Final airing on Saturday 23rd May at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna.
Article written by Tony Neophytou
The military parade marking the anniversary of March 25, the Greek Independence Day, has concluded in downtown Athens.
Festivities are currently underway with traditional dances, music and high spirits, despite the rainy weather.
President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos attended the parade along with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Parliament Speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou and ND leader Antonis Samaras.
This year’s March 25 festivities marking Greek Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation are different to what Greeks are used to. The ‘alternative’ festivities resemble a Balkan feast with a number of parallel events that include Greek traditional songs and dances in downtown Syntagma.
Cyprus marks Greek National Day with island-wide celebrations
Cyprus celebrated on Wednesday the Greek National Day, with religious services and pupils` parades in all major cities throughout the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus.
Celebrations in the capital, Nicosia, centered around the Panayia Phaneromeni Church, in the old part of the town, where a commemoration service was attended in the morning by the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, the President of the House Yiannakis Omirou and representatives of political parties, of the military leadership and of the Greek Embassy.
The service to commemorate the begin of the Greek independence struggle, in 1821, was officiated by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, while MEP Costas Mavrides has addressed the panegyric of the Day.
Later on, President Anastasiades attended the pupils` parade, in front of the Embassy of Greece, in Nicosia, and afterwards he addressed a reception, hosted by the Greek Embassy to honor the Day.
Similar celebrations were also held in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and other smaller towns.
Article written by PROTOTHEMA/CNA
On Friday 17th April, LGR Club Nights will be hosting a Mingle & Meet singles night @ Flames Restaurant and Shisha Lounge in North Finchley.
Meet and greet in a romantic and chilled atmosphere. Sit outside in the heated Shisha Garden and enjoy Habibi Shisha, where all guests will receive £5 off Shisha pots.
Guests also have the option of taking part in our mini speed dating section, which will be hosted using single’s of similar ages. Alternatively guests may choose to enjoy a few drinks whilst LGR DJ’s play Greek & English music for your entertainment.
Feel free to bring friends, (single or otherwise) to have a cocktail with and help you get talking to other eligible men and women.
This event will be held at Flames in North Finchley, 3 Leisure Way, High Road, Finchley, N12 0QZ. Free parking, free wifi. Doors open from 8pm till late.
Our online ticket shop is now closed. Tickets will also be available on the door of the event, subject to availability.
To buy tickets for this event please visit our events page: Over 25’s Singles Night tickets from Skiddle.
Sell tickets online: Skiddle Promotion Centre
Article written by London Greek Radio
Cyprus Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides (pictured) has expressed Nicosia’s disappointment and regret for the fact that not all fellow EU member countries offered their support regarding the violations of the country’s sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by Turkey.
“Solidarity among partners is a two-way street. On the issue of Ukraine, Cyprus has consistently participated in the EU consensus, actively supporting the EU position, even though it has entailed a significant cost for the Cyprus economy at a time when it is recovering from the blow suffered by the March 2013 Eurogroup decision. We expect the same solidarity from our EU partners on issues that are of vital importance to us,” said Christodoulides during an event held at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on Wednesday evening.
He called on the European partners to ask themselves “what it says about the credibility of the EU and whether it is acceptable that there was such a strong reaction by the EU vis-à-vis Russia in the context of the Ukraine crisis, while the EU has opted for a very cautious approach when it comes to Turkey’s – a candidate country’s – actions in Cyprus, an EU member state.”
The Government Spokesman was addressing an audience of British parliamentarians and members of London’s Cypriot community. He started off by providing a comprehensive summary of the way the latest round of talks on the Cyprus issue has developed, strongly criticising Turkey for its actions over the EEZ of the Republic. As he noted, these actions left President Anastasiades with no other option but to suspend the Greek Cypriot side’s participation in the negotiations. “It is abundantly clear that Turkey’s actions, in the midst of the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement, serves only to seriously undermine the negotiating process and raise more serious doubts as to Turkey’s commitment to reaching a settlement, and contributing concretely to this direction,” he added.
Christodoulides stressed that the Greek Cypriot side has made it clear that it is ready to return to the negotiations provided that Turkish provocations seize. He pointed to a number of proposals by President Anastasiades that would allow the negotiations to resume, which “were unfortunately rejected by the other side.”
With regard to the recent visit by the President of the Cyprus Republic to Russia, the Government Spokesman said it was part of the long-standing practice of keeping all permanent members of the UN Security Council duly and equally informed of the latest developments. “A small country like Cyprus, with 37% of its territory under military occupation by Turkey, cannot afford to ignore any of the permanent members of the UN Security Council,” noted Nikos Christodoulides.
He also referred to the traditionally proactive and supportive role Russia assumes in the Security Council when Cyprus is discussed, contrasting this to “difficulties” Cyprus often faces with the stance adopted by other UNSC permanent members.
As for the intense media scrutiny the President’s visit received, the Government Spokesman commented that the reports “often ignored the fact that in all meetings President Anastasiades pressed the EU’s united and principled stance on the Ukraine crisis.” Referring to the agreements signed in Moscow, he said that the Agreement on Military Cooperation updates and codifies the ongoing framework of operational cooperation between the two countries, and that the MoU on Naval Cooperation spells out existing naval aspects of this cooperation in an implementing document for improved operation purposes on a case by case clearance by Cypriot authorities, already provided to the Russian fleet.
Christodoulides also spoke about Cyprus’ central and decisive role in promoting security and stability in the turbulent region of the Eastern Mediterranean, highlighting the key role the country is playing in tackling terrorism – by supporting form the very beginning the coalition against ISIS and contributing in the international community’s efforts in every possible way.
He made a special reference to regional cooperation and synergies created with Cyprus assuming an active role in building them and noted the potential of the hydrocarbon discoveries in the EEZ of the republic of Cyprus: “They have the potential of transforming the island into an important pillar for implementing the EU’s policy to enhance energy security by securing alternative supply corridors.”
As for the country’s economy, he said that the full implementation of an ambitious economic reform and consolidation program, along with the sacrifices by the resilient Cypriot people, is yielding tangible and positive results sooner than expected. “We have not yet reached the end of the road, but we are certainly approaching the end of the economic crisis,” said the Government Spokesman.
The event was hosted by a number of MPs from all major parties in association with the President of National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Peter Droussiotis.
Droussiotis said in his introductory speech that Turkey remains defiant – “an occupying force unwilling to take the steps which will bring unity to Cyprus as well as stability to the island and the wider region.” He added that Turkey seems intent to undermine the settlement efforts, as demonstrated by its illegal incursions into Cyprus’s EEZ. He also accused the international community of applying double standards in reference to the reaction over the Ukraine crisis and in comparison to the reaction against Turkey.
Labour MP Gareth Thomas praised the Cypriot government for the way it has approached the talks and said that although Turkey has an important role to play in terms of regional security, it has to do its bit to help reunify the island.
David Burrowes, a Conservative MP in north London, said that the UK has a heavy burden and responsibility to try and find practical ways in seeking a solution to the Cyprus issue, and he also highlighted the importance of returning Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.
Jim Sheridan from the Labour Party raised the question of the contrast in the international response to the situation in Ukraine and the one in Cyprus and Sir Alan Meale, also a Labour MP, wondered what is the point of being part of the EU family if the rights of one member are not safeguarded by the rest.
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The UK Minister for Europe has reiterated his government’s full support for all UN Security Council resolutions relevant to the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.
David Lidington was responding to a question posed by the north London Conservative MP David Burrowes, a long-standing friend of Cyprus, regarding steps taken by the Foreign Secretary “to support the return of Famagusta in accordance with the UNSC Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992).”
In his written answer the Foreign Office minister stated that he understands the strength of feeling about Varosha, the present state of which reflected the consequences of the continued division of Cyprus.
“We fully support all relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 550 and 789. We have raised this issue with the Turkish Cypriots and with the Turkish authorities,” read Mr Lidington’s answer.
He added that he remains convinced that, ultimately, a comprehensive settlement is the best chance of resolving these complex issues. “The UK will continue to support the UN-led negotiations which will address the questions of Varosha, Famagusta and other issues related to a comprehensive settlement,” he continued.
He also stated that the British government welcomes confidence building measures between the two communities, as they can have great value in fostering reconciliation and facilitating a comprehensive settlement.
He specifically referred to a meeting he hosted at the Foreign Office on 2 March at which Chambers of Commerce of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities were represented by their Presidents, both of whom spoke about the way in which a settlement would increase the prosperity of everyone on the island.
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The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will address the Cypriot community at an event hosted by the Conservative Friends of Cyprus on Tuesday 24 March in north London.
The free event, which is open to supporters of CFCyprus, will include a speech from Philip Hammond outlining the Government`s position on Cyprus and highlighting the steps taken since David Cameron became Prime Minister to strengthen bilateral ties with the Republic of Cyprus.
Many Parliamentary friends of Cyprus, including Theresa Villiers, David Burrowes, Nick de Bois, Mike Freer, Matthew Offord, Sir Roger Gale and Sir David Amess, will also speak at the event.
Jason Charalambous, Chairman of CFCyprus, has said “this will be an exciting opportunity to hear from the Foreign Secretary and MPs about Britain`s strengthening relationship with Cyprus and the steps the Conservative Party proposes to take to improve bilateral ties if they win the General Election in May.”
CFCyprus is a member-led organisation that was founded in 1991. It seeks to promote the Conservative Party across the UK and to strengthen the relationship between the Conservative Party and the Republic of Cyprus.
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Laya is almost 5 years old, she has a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy which means she can’t walk, crawl or even sit on her own. The only way Laya can move is by having an electric wheelchair.
The particular wheelchair, which Laya needs, can lower her all the way to the floor so she can play with her brother, sister and other kids on the ground. It can raise her to she can watch mum cooking in the kitchen. It can even make Laya stand upright which she has never been able to do before.
This Snap Dragon wheelchair costs £25,000 and so her friends and family are desperately trying to raise the money so Laya can enjoy the summer using it.
Laya’s parents explain more about her condition:
“Our precious daughter Laya was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA 1) when she was just 8 months old. Laya is now nearly 5. SMA1 is a life limiting condition without a cure. Laya cannot walk, crawl or even sit by herself. She has very poor head control and she has extremely weak muscles. For instance a small apple is too heavy for her to hold. Although profoundly disabled, Laya’s brain is completely unaffected by her condition, she is very bright, loves to sing, read, tell stories and chat!
A year ago, her current wheelchair, Wizzy Bug, gave Laya her first taste of independence. For the first time she didn’t need to be pushed or carried, she was able to move in a direction that she chose, where and when she wanted to. We will never forget her smile on that day, it’s a memory we will always treasure. She has now outgrown Wizzy, which is a pre-school wheelchair for toddlers.
Laya is very special as there are only a small handful of children around the world with SMA1 who have survived passed the age of two. Because Laya is a bit of an anomaly she doesn’t quite fit into any specific category and so we have struggled greatly to get any charity or government funding for a powered wheelchair that will give Laya this level of independence. This is why we have decided to fundraise ourselves”.
To help change Laya’s story and assist in raising the money for the wheelchair she requires, click here to donate.
Article written by London Greek Radio
A charismatic and inspiring man walks around London with one mission and one message: To forward the smile. Angelo Pangalos inspires and encourages people to share a smile with strangers.
Some years back, Angelo’s whole life was turned upside down due to illness and it was these hard times which led to and fuel his current ethos. He reflects: “I remember I was hitting my head on the wall and I was so down that I took my pen and I wrote on my wall really big, I just want to die.”
Now, his mission is to lighten the day of total strangers. Part of this involves transforming typical tube journeys into fun sing-along experiments. With a deck of cards and a guitar he brings light to the tube journeys and engages with strangers, recognizing the importance of social interactions. Angelo finds fulfillment through this project and by sharing smiles and stories with strangers.
“When you are broken, you have nothing else to lose” he exclaims. Angelo’s purpose is not recognition or fame, nor to receive money from strangers. Simply, he aims to spread happiness around him and paint the world with smiles.
And so, we share a smile with Angelos and also share his story with you, in hope that he inspires each and every one of you, to forward a smile today.
Article written by Malvina
Red Nose Day is back on Friday 13th March and once again, the nation is gearing up to put on their Noses, pull out all the stops, and get fundraising.
In aid of Red Nose Day, Anthony Webb estate agents have organised a Buskathon on Saturday 14th March located outside their office at 348 Green Lanes Palmers Green between 10am-4pm.
With the help of Centre Stage, a local Theatre School based in Southgate and their very own Martin McKelvey, the Anthony Webb team hope to entertain the public and raise funds for a great cause.
The Anthony Webb team will be providing the entertainment and all they ask in exchange is that the local community come along and have a good time: “Please pop along to support the local talent and donate! Staff from Barclays Bank, Palmers Green, will be on hand to collect donations and run a lucky dip for the children”.
The money raised for Red Nose Day is spent by Comic Relief to transform the lives of millions of people, both at home in the UK and across Africa.
They fund over 2,100 amazing projects, throughout the UK and since the last Red Nose Day, Comic Relief has spent £99 million helping over 12 million people – this includes money raised through Red Nose Day, Sport Relief and other fundraising.
Article written by Anthony Webb
David Burrowes, a north London Conservative MP and long standing friend of Cyprus, raised the Cyprus question during a foreign policy session at the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.
“There is a country in Europe which is occupied and divided for over 40 years; that’s Cyprus. What priority is the Government giving to solving the Cyprus problem?” was the question Mr Burrowes addressed to the Foreign Office heads.
The response was given by the Minister for Europe David Lidington: “We continue to give strong support to the UN envoy Espen Eide and his efforts to bring the two communities in Cyprus together. A settlement would be in the interest of all communities in Cyprus.”
Lidington added that he welcomed the meeting hosted at the Foreign Office on Monday at which the Chambers of Commerce from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities were represented by their presidents. “They both spoke eloquently about how a settlement would help the prosperity of everybody on the island,” commented the Minister.
Article written by CNA