Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Respectable spectacles

Heavens! The bespectacled diva Nana Mouskouri is 75 years old today...

One of the world's biggest-selling artists ever, Miss Mouskouri has sold more than 200 million records worldwide in a career spanning over five decades, out-selling Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross combined - quite remarkable, really, given her "lighter-than-light" vocal style and unchallenging selection of ballads and folk music. I often think she makes Doris Day sound like Janis Joplin in comparison...

An unlikely rebel in her youth (she was famously thrown out of the Athens Conservatoire where she was studyng for illicitly moonlighting in a jazz band), she was soon tipped for success when she was "discovered" by one of Greece's top songwriters Manos Hadjidakis, with whom she formed a long collaboration.

It is for her classical, powerful voice and clear diction that she is most lauded; and she sings in many languages - French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese as well as English and Greek. Over the years the world's top musicians, including Quincy Jones and Michel Legrand have queued up to work with her.

And here's a selection of the great lady's music, starting with my favourite song of hers:

Then there's this oddity - a duet with Nina Hagen, of all people!

Here she is paying homage to Jacques Brel:

And in this bizarre clip she is entertaining a freaky puppet:

And finally, the great lady's theme tune:

Nana Mouskouri biography on ArtistDirect

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