Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chairman George goes to PRISON

I’ll be doing time in JAIL this weekend. Will go to Bordeaux Prison in north Montreal to a smaller prison called Maison Tanguay. It is a prison for women. They will be showing Chairman George there for 12 women inmates , and I’ll do the surprise entrance right after. I’m very curious about that . Never been to a jail before ! Don’t know what to expect … I would like to meet the women , talk to them , ask them about themselves . It is being organized by Docs Entre Elles, by Aleksandra Zajko whom I met at the Rencontres Intl de Doc de Montreal last November.
Very admirable. Signing out , CG

Granny and the case of the mysterious dentures

Granny is doing really well. Has a wicked sense of humour. And guzzles wine and ouzo like there’s no tomorrow. Also raids the fridge and we’re realizing how huge blocks of ementhal and jarlsburg cheese suddenly vanish overnight . Her metabolism rivals that of the steam engine , amazing . Also a great act . Regularly she does a Shakespearean piece where she imploringly complains of a major trauma, that she swallowed her lower dentures. Then one night we heard a sound and discovered her denture under her bed. When confronted with this reality she became quiet , could not contest that .
Love you , Granny.

Granny Rescue Mission accomplished !

Done, fait accompli! My famous Granny from CG and I finally arrived at our cozy home in frigid snowy Ottawa just several short hours ago after jointly conducting the international Olympic flight from Athens to Montreal with aplomb and good humour.

On the plane my grandmother was good spirited, humourous and occasionally combative asking me constantly for a cigarette even after I asked plane crew to tell her directly in Greek that ‘apagorevetai’ (not allowed). She has mild amnesia so immediately after she forgot and asked me for another ciggy. I said I could offer her a cigarillo or Havana cigar but she declined . She would say things like ‘now we will turn into birds and fly’ just before take-off, or eyes blazing to me ‘how shameful of you’ when she over-heard me joke with other passengers that she was constantly asking for ciggys. Then times of beautiful tenderness when she would press my hand against her face and kiss my hand. I love you Kouki.

My sister and I escorted her from my sister’s apartment in Athens early this morning at 6am by taxi convoy. The tricky part was to persuade her to dress and leave the apartment. But we managed great after we fibbed by saying that we were going to visit our folks down the street. We had arranged for wheelchair assistance at both ends in Athens and Montreal. For a week my sister Steph hosted Granny, Kouki that is, in Athens. Everyone is realllly happy that we pulled this off. My sister over the phone from Athens: ‘George you are phenomenal, you deserve a medal.’ The issue of my grandmother left in Athens to fend on her own for a long time had been festering and we had now done the right thing. My folks tonight had a wonderful pork dinner and perfect lemon merangue pie for us when we walked thru the door … my Granny walking in from the Ottawa deep freeze appropriately dressed in a light coat and barefeet in slippers.

Great spirits – alls well !

December Newsletter !

December 2005 Newsletter

In this issue:

  1. New CD ‘George from Athens to Beijing’ **nominated** for Best World Music in Canada
  2. CTV presents CHAIRMAN GEORGE – Sunday, December 18, 1-2 PM
  3. CHAIRMAN GEORGE a hit at Montreal film festival in November
  4. Back from Fall tour in CHINA : Beijing, Yichang and Nanjing
  5. Watch out for ‘Chairman George and the Ministers’ : ready to rock in 2006

Details:
1)
New CD ‘George from Athens to Beijing’ Nominated for Best World Music in Canada for 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards (inaugural event) Saturday, December 10th MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION – Gatineau, Québec, www.canadianfolkmusicawards.ca

Produced by George Sapounidis and Jeremy Moyer, this CD consists of Greek and Chinese songs with dialogue exerpts from the CTV/BBC television documentary ‘Chairman George’ . A fine gift for the Christmas season. CD available by contacting george.sapounidis@rogers.com or at www.eyesteelfilm.com

2)
CTV presents CHAIRMAN GEORGE
Sunday, December 18, 1-2 PM *** repeat national broadcast ***

/ Daniel Cross; Mila Aung-Thwin / Québec / 2005 / english, mandarin /

Description: In Canada, he is a statistician who lives with his mother. In China, he is a pop star. George Sapounidis defies every effort at categorization. The latest film from Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin is a delightful portrait of this zany Greek-Canadian troubadour who regularly makes the trip from Ottawa to Beijing to climb on stage. His bouzouki, guitar and cell phone in hand, he sings in faultless Mandarin for a delirious-mostly female-audience. With unquenchable optimism in the face of adversity, this obsessive-compulsive who never quite grew up goes for the main chance, a spot in the closing ceremonies at the Athens Olympics. The multilingual Sapounidis, “the only Greek in the world who can sing in Chinese”, wants to deliver his own ingenuous lyrics as the Olympic torch is passed from Athens to Beijing. Chairman George follows the trials and tribulations of this sensitive, eccentric man as he beats the drum in a full-out campaign between China, Greece and Canada.

Chairman George DVD now available at www.eyesteelfilm.com

3)
The documentary film CHAIRMAN GEORGE was the official gala closing film at the ‘Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal’ on November 20. See www.ridm.qc.ca/ridm8.e/index.php

The feature version of the film, produced by EyeSteelFilm, was a grand success, receiving a standing ovation at the final screening and attracting the following media attention:

  • Montreal Gazette,
  • La Presse,
  • Montreal Mirror,
  • Concordia Link,
  • Radio Canada International,
  • CBC Radio ‘Sounds Like Canada’,
  • CBC Radio weekend show,
  • CIBL french radio,
  • CFMB greek radio (twice)
  • Global CH TV – greek and chinese programs,
  • Odyssey TV
  • Interview for Eleftherotypia-Epsilon magazine in Athens

The November 2005 issue of the Greek-Canadian magazine METOHOS features two stories with photos about George Stroumboulopoulos (CBC TV The Hour) and George Sapounidis. See www.metohos.com

Listen to Sapounidis’ interview Nov 18 with ‘Sounds Like Canada’ host Shelagh Rogers
http://www.cbc.ca/soundslikecanada/interviews.html

4)
Back from a successful Fall tour in CHINA spending 6 weeks from late Sept to early November in Beijing, Nanjing and Hubei province.

The tour started in Hubei province with Sapounidis representing Greece at the ‘Yichang International Tourism Festival’ where he performed songs in Chinese and Greek with guitar and Greek bouzouki. He then appeared with Scottish harpist and singer Katie Targett-Adams in a double bill performance that took place at the prestigious Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing on October 14. Targett-Adams and Sapounidis separately performed Celtic and Greek repertoire on harp and bouzouki in addition to selected Chinese folksongs. They joined forces at the end of the concert with other Chinese performers including Zhou Ying on violin, the ‘Musicat’ ensemble and singers Liu Xiang and Gao Dongling. Sapounidis continued to Nanjing where he performed during China’s 10th National Games and was interviewed by CCTV-5 and BTV. In the last week of the tour he performed and lectured about Olympic volunteering in Beijing : Gaobeidian municipality, People’s University, Beijing Capital Library, Beijing Concord College of Sino-Canada and for the Chaoyang district administration. He gave interviews and performed for China Radio International (3 times) and live on Beijing People’s Radio station.

5) Watch out for THE BAND: ‘Chairman George and the Ministers’ in 2006 !

George Sapounidis : vocals, guitar, bouzouki
Vince Halfhide : electric guitars
Stuart Watkins : bass, backing vocals
Ross Murray : drums, percussion

============================================
Next China visit December 29 – January 9:
New Year’s performance with symphony orchestra in Wuhan, Hubei province.

Athens : December 14 – 20.

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT
============================================

folk awards … and athens to beijing – literally …

Last night the Canadian Folk Music Awards took place  of the Museum of Civilization in Quebec across from Ottawa.  Quite a fancy affair,roughly 400 people from the folk music  ‘industry’ across Canada – the first ever CFMA.  Purpose : to celebrate the thriving folk music scene in Canada and to award the artists providing that scene who excel. ‘George from Athens to Beijing’ was nominated in the Best World Music category. Great news. The award finally went to Alpha Diallo an African artist in Canada. Congrats to him. Did feel a tinge of dissapointment tho. Had prepped an acceptance speech too.  Beautiful hall – the Great Hall , and a night of wonderful music ! Especially I liked David Francey, and also the mix between East Indian, Francophone and Gaelic , compelling and rousing.

Really busy these days – especially preparing packages to send off  to Canadian festivals for summer 2006 – wanna send off 28 packages.  Can I manage this before departing for Athens this week ? Am going to Athens on a rescue mission … to bring back Granny,  the star of CG, to Canada ! Can this work, coming thru airlines  at Xmas season … ? Stay tuned …

Then off to Beijing again at month end to do a Mason handsomely paid new year gig with jeremy and symphony orchestra in Wuhan …

fer now,
cg

Only a Greek

I liked what family friend and Montreal activist Dimitri Roussopoulos said to me during a post screening chat – “only a Greek would have the balls to penetrate Chinese culture”.

Montreal Doc Film Fest (Rencontres) Fantastic !

It was an incredible experience last week being in Montreal to watch Chairman George on the BIG SCREEN at the final gala screening Sunday night with 500 other enthusiastic invitees. It was a hot crowd, people were interacting with the film, it was wonderful. I was teary-eyed and chuckling along with everyone else. I was captivated . Very moving. Dan fooled the entire hall by declaring prior to the screening that I had left the building to return earier that day to Ottawa. Then i came out as the credits rolled to play a greek and chinese song and there was this enormous collective gasp , people just gaping at me astounded with big smiles. Then a standing ovation, completely unexpected , completely from right field ! I stood there admittedly rather perplexed. What an astounding reception for an astounding film. The warmth and welcome and buzz I felt all week from the organizers, and filmgoers and the many print and radio journalists I shall not ever forget. And the opening credits on this theatrical version are the coolest ! I wanna see it again ! Dan and Mila I love you. Cudos to EyeSteelFilm and everyone there. Music IS like crack !

CD to Premier Maguinty in Beijing

late night in beijing , catching up , tired , writing this knowing gotta go finish packing down the street at the university hotel. but good time tonight at the swank kerry center hotel complex where i went with attractive date tabatha to take part in a canadian networking reception. loud crowd , large jazz bar , great miles davis sounds from the 4 piece band . we from ontario were given little canadian flags and minutes later in walked ontario’s premier maguinty with entourage. the first person he comes up to is yours truly , shakes hands , suave , and i chat with him amicably , tell him what am doing in china , and offer him my new CD , ‘george from athens to beijing’. He offers : ‘you are a good-will ambassador’. Pleasant chat with his wife just after that . photos to show too.

taking the long haul flight – first time beijing to toronto – cool . six weeks in china , much done , much accomplished , doors open , hearts opened . roles on many fronts to be played . to be continued !
is this an escape for me , a fantasy trip here ?  maybe , but a meaningful one . a british girl in an expat bar the other night saw my cctv piece and says to me – ‘you’re the first foreigner i’ve seen sing in chinese. everone else is learning chinese but for business. i don’t mean to sound cynical . thank you for writing a song in chinese about the olympics.’ (i declined to defer to jeremy for writing credits, prefering to enjoy the moment).

night before bocog music meeting

its monday night in bj, at eh usual war games internet cafe. got up today at (shame) 12 noon, good sleep, then set to taking bag full of laundry to campus launderette, and then … yes … guess what … phone calls. priority – bocog. called the guy in charge of bocog music mr wang pingjiu, and asked him directly for a meeting to give him my new CD and chat. he was responsive but i couldn’t understand his bj dialect so he passed me to his bilingual girl assistant and bang – yes, they offered me an appointment first thing in the morning, 9:30 am. wham, bam, thank you m’am. so – tomorrow morning meeting. gonna go dressed in red with bouz and guitar and CD and press and kick ass. gonna propose open and close ceremonies spot. why ? cuz am the only greek hoo sings in chinese. and they probly saw the BTV and CCTV pieces. interesting.  office is on same floor as li bei. maybe i’ll pass him in the hall. anyway, cool . will let you know what happens !

gotta sign out before the desk girl finds out i’m not playing war games and kicks me out of the cafe.
luv, g.