Andre Maia is a Portuguese Athenian singer whose impressive stage presence and exciting Fados and Bossa Nova performances have gathered quite the following. He is this week’s featured Out-of-Towner, offering us personalized views, insider experiences and know-how of Greek life.
Where on earth I am from
Lisbon, Portugal. Curiously, Athens and Lisbon are at the same latitude.
Rating my homeland vs Greece
Lisbon is a romantic city with seven hills, beautiful trees, old buildings, a river named Tejo and the Atlantic Ocean. Attention to aesthetic detail can be seen everywhere — you may see hand painted Azulejos tiles on any random corner. Athens has the Acropolis and that’s enough for me; it´s an honor to live here.
I came to Greece because…
My father is an architect and since I was a boy I would get engrossed in his many art history books, being absolutely fascinated by the Classical Greek period.
I came for the first time in 1987. In the same year, I worked in a film with Irene (Irini) Pappas and met Manos Hadzidakis, and it was like coming home.
I stayed to sing Fados from Portugal, Astor Piazzolla´s tangos, French songs, Bossa Nova, and have had the chance to collaborate with amazing Greek artists like singers Glykeria and Nena Venetsanou, actors Karyofylia Karambeti and Eleni Peta and the musicians, Marios Strofalis and Giorgos Psychogios.
I’ve fallen in love with…
The people, the Aegean Sea and Greek cuisine.
I get mad because…
I think no one is really concerned about others here. The way architecture is treated is anarchic. People don´t use their common sense to keep the city clean and public spaces aren´t kept or made beautiful, balanced and in harmony with the environment. And these are the opposite values of the classical Greeks. When I came to live in Athens, I used to ask myself: Where are the Greeks and what have they done with their precious classical heritage?
Greece in the palm of my hand…
The heart of my Athenian friends.
If I knew then what I know now…
I would do everything exactly the same way!
MY FAVORITE PLACE TO:
eat: Tzitzikas kai Mermigas, (12 Mitropoleos St, Syntagma) for delicious, homemade, traditional Greek food.
watch the sun set: La Suite Lounge Bar at the St George Lycabettus (2 Kleomenous St, Lycabettus).
party all night: I´m too old for parties. I prefer late dinners with friends.
swim: I always go to Sérifos island where I love all the beaches.
shop: Kolonaki, where you find the most exquisite shops with an astounding array of quality and style.
watch the world go by: Any friend’s balcony or a cafe rooftop in Monastiraki or Gazi with a view of the Acropolis.
read peacefully: The National Gardens – so green and peaceful!
connect with Greek culture: The new Acropolis Museum and the Athens Concert Hall.
work out: I just walk everywhere!
escape to: The Hammam Baths (17 Ag. Asomaton St, Thiseio).
feel like a local: Shopping at the “laiki” (street markets).
Photos by Nikos Kokkas
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