Echo For Democracy

Τhe continuous rise of fascism in the contemporary European field, as well as the events of the recent condemnation of the Golden Dawn in Greece, inspired musicians, living in Greece and Germany, to compose original music pieces, creating a collective sound gallery. The project aims to strengthen the common and solid voice for democracy and opposition to nationalism, shut-down borders, and fascist crimes.

In 2019, the dramaturgs Ioanna Valsamidou (GR) and Sarit Streicher (DE) initiated research based on the contemporary representation modes of fascism in Europe, on the contemporary use (and public image) of former concentration camps in Greece and Germany, as well as on the aspect of collective silence of the European generations after the War. Exploring bridges between the past and the present, enquiring into the collective responsibility towards the future, they collected various fascistic narratives and examples from today’s reality in the two countries, seen in diverse practices of extremists and political parties in the European parliament and institutional positions.

Amongst others, the case of Golden Dawn in Greece has been of exceptional interest. Registered as a national socialist party since 1992,  it managed to enter the parliament in 2012, to be voted to the level of the third party in the country until 2019, and to be represented in the European parliament with one sitting member today. Positions included territorial claims against neighbouring states, as well as policies against refugees.

In 2013, the assasination of Pavlos Fyssas,  a Greek musician and hip-hop artist under the stage name Killah P, by a member of Golden Dawn, lead to six years of trial, involving all members and leaders of the party. The case was co-investigated together with other crimes, related to attacks on immigrants, politicians, and left-wing activists. On the 7th of October 2020, Golden Dawn was officially announced a criminal organisation, under the verdict of the greek juries. On the day of the announcement of the verdict, in the core of the pandemic, more than 30.000 Athenians (photo analysts talk about 55.000) occupied the streets around the court of Athens.

The dramaturgs invited musicians, sound artists, and singers, living in Greece and Germany, to raise a common voice against fascism, closed borders and crimes in Europe. The recent condemnation of Golden Dawn and the audiovisual documentation from the moment of the announcement of the verdict served as raw material for the composers who created original works, to address the common demand for a democratic coexistence in Europe.

The sound gallery is an open digital platform, where sound artists can add in the future their own footprint in the resistance against rising neo-fascism.

Concept, Realisation: Ioanna Valsamidou

Artistic Collaboration, Research: Sarit Streicher  

Sound Composition: Frau VonDa, Vasiliki Mouriki, Emma Naughton, Dana Papachristou-akoo.o collective, RUSNAM, Nikos Angelopoulos, Jan-S. Beyer & Friederike Bernhardt, Dimitris Brendas, Mikes Glykas, Manolis Manousakis, Eleftherios Veniadis, Jörg Wockenfuß

Collaboration in Research: Katerina Christodoulidou, Moschoula Kiri, Alexandros Lavranos

Special thanks: Artemis Chrysostomidou, Nadine Lipp, Kostas Chatzigeorgiou, Alexis Nonis, Foivos Vlachos 

The project is presented with the financial support and under the aegis of the  Ministry of Culture and Sports of Greece.

ECHO FOR DEMOCRACY

Eleftherios Veniadis | Berlin, Germany / Athens, Greece
Nanourisma / Lullaby
Poem by Fotis Angoules (1911-1964)

For mixed 4-voice choir and solo soprano
Choir: Kissi CHOR – Berlin, conducted by Anita Rennert
www.kissi-chor.de/
Soprano solo: Fanny Rennert

Lullaby

My child, I kiss tenderly
your angelic eyes
with the paternal kiss,
which is sweet as honey.

Have a peaceful sleep
and in a sweet dream,
see a fair life
and people as angels.

Rockabye, my child,
colorful butterflies, the dreams,
will come, rockabye
in your flowery soul.

Sleep and many are awake
for you, my child, now,
to turn the village into a garden
and the country into a flower garden.

Νανούρισμα

Γλυκοφιλώ, παιδάκι μου,
τα μάτια σου τ’ αγγελικά
με το φιλί το πατρικό,
πού είναι γλυκό σαν μέλι.

Να γαληνέψει ο ύπνος σου
και μέσα σ’ όνειρο γλυκό,
δίκαια να σου φανεί η ζωή
κι οι άνθρωποι σαν αγγέλοι.

Νάνι, παιδάκι μου, θα `ρθούν χιλιόχρωμες, κοιμήσου, πεταλουδίτσες τα όνειρα, στην άνθινη ψυχή σου.

Κοιμήσου κι αγρυπνούν πολλοί για ‘σέ, παιδί μου, τώρα, να κάνουν κήπο το χωριό κι ανθόκηπο τη χώρα.

Manolis Manousakis | Athens, Greece
Fascism in Silence
The rise of a right-wing, crypto fascism mentality in Greece since the beginning of 2005 led to a massive support of Neo Fascistic political parties like Golden Dawn. Regardless of the violent, anti-democratic, and massively aggressive character of its policies and party members, Greek society stood in silence. Major political parties like Syriza and New Democracy which ruled for a period of time used them either by seeking support in the parliament or by involving right-wing politicians in their government. Thus supporting, in practice a right-wing governance. In the minds of the people (voters), this became a normality. Neo-fascistic Ideas intermixed with orthodox Christian believes and nationalistic aspirants became the main characteristic of the voter of Golden Dawn and other smaller parties. The divisiveness of Greek society and its political leaders led to the beatification and normalisation of these Ideas and behaviours. As citizens, we stood silent and took no responsibility against the atrocity that was taking place. Violence, racist segregation, attempts to kill became silently an accepted practice.

In 2018 I recorded a rally, which opposed the memorandum between Greece and Northern Macedonia. Golden Dawn Members with visible fascistic symbols stood at Syntagma square along with other groups with flags, Priests with Christian banners, groups with identifiable nazi symbols, families with small children all sung proudly the national anthem at the same time when Golden Dawn members were screaming out loud their own nationalistic anthems.

Thinking back in time I can’t take off my mind that seven years ago a Golden Dawn Member, Roubakias had murdered Pavlos Fyssas (Killah P). A  Greek musician, notable for his participation and performance in musical projects, as well as for his anti-fascist activism.

In 2020 the final decision of the trial led to a demonstration where more than 20000 people rallied in order to support Magda Fyssa and pressure for a trial decision that would give justice to the Killing of Pavlos Fyssas. Recording the rally I realised how silent we were throughout these years. Golden Dawn was an active political party and they even elected a member in the EU parliament. They were active in local politics and participated as elected officials in municipalities all around Greece.

In my piece Fascism in Silence, I am using recordings from the rallies creating a soundscape composition. Anthems, songs, police brutality become sound material for a piece which aims to give justice to democracy by condemning “apathy”.

Jörg Wockenfuß | Braunschweig, Germany
But We Hear Them Sing
The rather unknown song ‘Chaidari’ by Nikos Gounaris (music) and Kostas Kofiniotis (lyrics) was recorded by the musicians Natasa Papadopoulou and Panos Tzavellas in the 1970s. My intention was to enter a dialogue with the Greek musicians through this song, which relates to the cruel German occupation time in Greece and the suffering in the Chaidari concentration camp. In this dialogue, the speech of the Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin was invited as a symbol of a liberal idea. The resulting echo of October 7th, 2020, became a musical examination of the German-Greek culture of remembrance.

Used samples: To Chaidari by Natasa Papadopoulou & Panos Tzavellas, The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin

German spoken words: Sarit Streicher

But We Hear Them Sing

One morning they will send you
to the afterworld.
They will send you to hell
if you are not reprieved.
During the dark slavery
fetched the merciless Germans
the young Greek men
and brought them to Chaidari.

And every day they fetched
from this prison in hell
beardless boys to shoot
them.
Young men who couldn’t see previously their
Mother.
But you could hear them sing
because they knew their brothers
would live free.

They were beaten mercilessly
every corner of the prison
holds many tortures,
that we cannot imagine.

But still do not cry, my mother
through the bars of slavery
freedom appears like the dawn.

Μα τ’ Άκουγες Να Τραγουδούν

Καθώς στην άλλη τη ζωή,
θε να σε πάν  ένα πρωί,
στην κόλαση σε στέλνουνε,
αν δε σου δώσουν χάρη,
κι εκεί στη μαύρη τη σκλαβιά,
πάνε του κόσμου τα παιδιά
οι άκαρδοι οι Γερμανοί,
τα στέλνουν στο Χαΐδάρι.

Και κάθε μέρα αποκεί,
στην ματωμένη φυλακή,
παίρνουν παιδιά αμούστακα
για να τα τουφεκίσουν,
χωρίς τη μάνα τους να δουν
μα τ’ άκουγες να τραγουδούν,
γιατ’ ήξεραν τ’ αδέρφια τους
ελεύθερα θα ζήσουν.

Τα χτύπαγαν με απονιά
του Χαΐδαριού κάθε γωνιά
κρύβει βασανιστήρια
πού ο νους σου δεν τα βάνει

άλλα ν’ άκους κι άλλα να λες,
κι όμως, μανούλα μου, μην κλαις,
απ’ της σκλαβιάς τα σίδερα
η λευτεριά χαράζει.

Frau VonDa | Berlin, Germany
Το Θραύσμα / Die Scherbe/ The Shard
One might well say that a man’s living humanity decreases to the extent that he renounces thinking.
Hannah Arendt

A short sound piece, composed of found audio material, music quotations, and collective recording bits.

The music theater collective FrauVonDa//storytelling in music, juxtaposes sound layers of the most diverse origins, mixing historical with contemporary sound elements, militaristic soundscapes with liberation songs and in the process touches upon the rightening proximity of good and evil, of liberation anthems and the sounds of manipulative seductive power mechanisms – a meditation on the fragile, difficult, contradictory, and perpetual process of democracy, baptized in ancient Greece. It was then that the very first judgment votes were carved into tiles.

Concept: Claudia van Hasselt / Lotte Greschik / Marianne Heide / Nicolas Wiese

Editing and mix: N. Wiese and C. van Hasselt

Follow FrauVonDa’s digital advent calendar on anghu.org

Mikes Glykas a.k.a. Flykid of Yponoia | Athens, Greece
In a New Neighborhood
It was a night in 2009 – I was a college student and I was living in Pasalimani. The sun hadn’t risen yet. I was arriving home when I saw from afar a big  -dressed in black – company putting posters all over Sotiros Dios street. I noticed that all the street walls were full of posters of  “Chrisi Avgi” (Golden Dawn), I also noticed the glue was still wet. The posters were advertising: “Kick out the illegal immigrants”. I understood. I turned my gaze again to the spot they were standing before. They had gone. Ι decided to remove all the posters from the walls and throw them away. So I did. I didn’t feel any fear. I was lucky.

That night, such as many other nights, I could have been in the position of Pavlos. You could have been in his position too. Every one of us could have been in that position.

7 October 2020: The Three-Member Court of Appeal found the neo-fascist party Golden Dawn guilty of running a criminal organization.

But even before that day, all of us, who have been fighting in the streets all these years, knew what Golden Dawn was, we had seen those faces before anybody else did. We knew that they were ready to murder. They were ready to murder anytime.

About the song

My first inspiration was an older song by Manos Loizos “The accordion” in which the first lyric says “In my old neighborhood, I had a friend..”.

The main idea of the song is the trauma of my generation that comes from the murder of Killah P. There is a pain that justice can never heal.

Lyrics

Time has passed, but not the pain.
In front of the beast no one alone,
no one will be left alone.
We’ll keep refreshing your memory for as long as you forget.
The beast woke up, it won’t calm down,
my life is marked by the same stamp.
The beast woke up, it won’t calm down,
The same stamp marks my life.
And now, in a new neighborhood, but old,
still in the same war as before,
against the Führer’s bastard generation.
We don’t know how to play the accordion, we know how to break eggs.
The slogan on the wall is still there, it’s not erased
it will stand even when the target is frayed.
My neighborhood is children who are addressed as brothers.
They burned their identities since they all have the same worries.
They fight with words and hands
and in difficulties, they did not draw knives.
My neighborhood, kids painting slogans,
directs, crosses, and aces deliver lessons,
on bars, they hide lyrics and poems,
La Haine and Die Welle escaped the waves.
On the night of October 6, instead of saying goodbye, they said:
“Good night and see you in the morning in the appellate court!”

Chorus

In my old neighborhood all the good guys,
butt fascists to change the way they think.
In the new neighborhood all the good guys,
beat the fascists to break the eggs.

A conviction for two murders.
We have been giving second chances for years.
The last one will be the worst.
Fascism does not repent in prison.
Count up the deaths since ’83,
and quit with equal distances from violence.
And do not condemn me,
by all means, I protect lives. And don’t mention me
in the same breath as those who want a Greater Greece.
Hipster-fascism has in his bastion yes-but-men.
And even if the civil court ruled – oh miracle-
conviction doesn’t heal the wound of my whole generation,
that as long as we rap for whatever we want to say,
we count our number to find the next victim.
These soils have names,
80 years and blood and corpses,
that’s why in every neighborhood there are some guys
so that the fascist does not reach your house.
And if everything was democratic and fair,
the stabs in Nikaia would never happen.
And if everything was democratic and fair,
the stabs in Nikaia would never happen.

In my old neighborhood all the good guys,
butt fascists to change the way they think.
In the new neighborhood all the good guys,
beat the fascists to break the eggs.

All’s well that ends well.
but he does not return.
All’s well that ends well.
but he does not return.

beyer & bernhardt | Hamburg/Leipzig, Germany
Reflections
At a certain point all the populist phrases, absurd conspiracy theories, even neo-fascist ideals blur into white noise that is too abstract to grasp in a conscious mind – but then they are brutal, inhuman, criminal and they rock the pillars of democracy and humanism.

We never have to forget to fight these thoughts and actions – one way or the other.

RUSNAM | Berlin, Germany
Voices of Resistance
Voices are sounds when someone speaks or sings. Your voice gives you the right to express an opinion or feeling.

In a demonstration, the voices of resistance are the most important instruments.

In this piece voices and sounds of the original audio recording are used to develop basslines and kicks.

Dana Papachristou – akoo.o collective | Athens, Greece
The Right to Live in Peace
El Derecho de Vivir en Paz, Victor Jara

Water always wins. It also has the quality of being informed by the ear, which projects on it, other sounds that it hears or that it thinks it hears. Apart from the obvious correlation between sea and sea of people, water functions here as a rushing wave that starts from a thin drop – its main component – to become a mass that travels through the ocean to encounter the resistance of the land resembling a political rally. Furthermore, the way in which a demonstration begins is aurally described, as people arriving alone or in pairs from the alleys and side streets, until they form a solid body of people who claim collectively.

Emma Naughton | Braunschweig, Germany
Echoes of Democracy
With the given title of the project “echo for democracy”, I started to think about what democracy means to me and what it means to the world we’re living in. Generally speaking it means inclusion of everyone, equality, the right to vote, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Of course, through freedom of speech and assembly there will be many different opinions on how the ideal government, society and life has to be.

It gives space for various mindsets including fascism. People in superior positions use their power to secretly practice racism and discrimination. There is the gap which organizations like the Golden Dawn use to make their way into the heads of the nation, hidden under trivialized images, to gain acceptance and support.

I tried to create a song which on the one side tells the facts about the events that happened in Greece, but on the other side transports a message to every single person in this world to not sit still, but to question fascistic thoughts and to stand up against fascism, racism and discrimination of any kind.

Sadly, there’s no place in this world without discrimination and racism. There is no safe place for people to hide. For me, this song creates a warm environment for people to feel connected and united. It’s about the strength that we alle have together as one.

“If we would only stand together and raise our voices everyday” …
It’s not about one echo – it’s about echos of democracy – it’s time to stand up.

Vasiliki Mouriki | Athens, Greece
To Be Heard
Fire. Fire burns us from the inside. From birth till death we’re burning alive. And then while dead we’re burning again. I want to be heard. I’m trying to make my voice be heard beneath the crowd. I want to be heard. I want to be heard. I deserve to be heard. I need to be heard. Fire. People. Demonstration. The one voice becomes many voices altogether. We claim our rights. We ask for justice. We want to be heard. We want to be heard. We deserve to be heard. We need to be heard. We’re playing our music with untuned guitars and voices, without effects, without filters, with broken strings… Freedom! In every aspect of life. This is what we ask. This fight will never come to an end. We are many and united. We will win! We will be heard! As long as we know our rights, as long as we keep our heads high, as long as we don’t shut our mouth, we will always win… This fire inside our souls keeps on burning us even harder…Screaming ‘‘freedom’’.

Eleftherios Veniadis | Berlin, Germany / Athens, Greece
Emvrithia /  Εμβρίθεια / Deepness

deep and profound thought
wisdom and power
against the unreasonable and blind violence

βαθύς και εμβριθής στοχασμός
γνώση και δύναμη
ενάντια στην αναίτια και τυφλή βία

Baritone saxophone: Guido de Flaviis Bass clarinet: Spiros Tzekos

Nikos Angelopoulos & Dimitris Brendas | Athens, Greece
Simple Present
Music as an affirmative act in the present becomes the starting point in tomorrow.

Music, a world language that has no objective impact. Extremely subjective it stands in front of the human soul pure as light.

Music as an inner voice that pushes us to absolute freedom. In the liberation from place, time, color, name, religion, social class.

Music as an absolute shelter of the soul from any threat.

Music as an act and a situation in the now that extends its hands to infinity.

Just now!

Now!

Nikos Angelopoulos: mainland/island laouto, lavta
Dimitris Brendas: clarinet, kaval, gaida
Alexis Nonis: percussions
Mixing & mastering: Sakis Gikas, studio Mythos
photo by Nikos Angelopoulos ©2020