She chose to go by an alias that alludes to the myth of Alcyone, a bird that symbolizes hope, struggle, and love; a bird that carries its wounded pair on its shoulders, according to Plutar


Music is the language of dreams and dreams are life

Text: Eva Kousiopoulou

Performer and songwriter Alkyone first drew the spotlight when she uploaded a cover of the traditional folklore song “Xenitemena mou poulia” on her YouTube channel, hitting more than 128,000 views to this day. She went on to release three singles, as well as a cover of the song “Aeriko” by Thanasis Papakonstantinou, with whom she is touring all over Greece this summer. Her cover of “Xenitemena mou poulia” was my company during an unforgettable trip to Zagorohoria, reminding me how little I used to appreciate these folklore traditional songs as a child. I suppose that the generation of city kids I belong to has always been somehow distant to this kind of music. Having lost my father, whose origins are to be traced in these parts of Greece, I can now recall these songs with love, fully aware that we carry them within our genes. Nevertheless, I never cease to be amazed every time I come across young musicians so closely bonded with the traditional Greek music, such as Alkyone.

Alkyone’s debut album, titled Exit Sign and featuring her own songs, was released last May, rightfully earning a place in the 2023 best-of list, whereas anyone who had the chance to attend a live performance of Alkyone and her band describes it as nothing short of a unique experience. In the most recent news, Alkyone’s cover of “Aremu Rindineddha”, a tender old Grico song of Southern Italy, was released in the beginning of August 2023. “Myself and everyone involved in such projects, we do this work out of love. If this song serves as a springboard for someone to embark on an outward journey that departs from the inside, then our joy is doubled. After all, music is one big journey.”

Alkyone has been singing ever since she can remember herself. Her first reach-out experience through singing came at the stunning age of five years old, when she took the microphone at a wedding party and, without her parents having the slightest clue, asked to perform the traditional song “Milo mou kokkino” before all the guests. She opts writing her lyrics in the English language, which allows her – at least for the time being – to express herself better both as a lyricist and as a musician. However, she has not ruled out the possibility of writing her future songs in Greek, a language she regards as a treasure waiting to be explored. “For the moment, English lyrics, in a bizarre way, offer me a larger margin from experimentation. I feel that writing my lyrics in English also changed my take and approach on Greek songs.” What position does music hold in her personal universe? “Music is a form of connection both with the inner and the outside world. I believe that human life devoid of music would be completely different. The way I see it, music is the language of dreams and dreams are life.”

Alkyone is immensely grateful for teaming up with Thanasis Papakonstantinou, but most of all for having had the chance to meet in person “Mr. Thanasis”, as she calls him. “He is one of those people you always have so much to learn from, even if he has no intention of teaching you. He is pure at heart and unassuming, with a mind that yearns for knowledge and a soul that yearns for creation. In my eyes, he’s a man who firmly refuses to lessen his standards, both music-wise and with regard to his moral ideals; a truly rare quality of character, as ideals may very well end up becoming an unbearable burden. However, in his case they have triggered a wave of love received by so many people: it’s his ideals and his vision of a better world that the audience cherishes the most in his songs. His profound love for nature and all creatures that inhabit this world has only made my appreciation for him grow even stronger.”

Our next topic is the warm response from the audience, the flares going off and the grandiose feast staged by thousands of fans in every concert given by Thanasis. Here’s what she has to say: “As far as I am concerned, the lighting of flares during a music concert is just a sloppy, unnecessary and very often dangerous recent trend. To have a good time you just need to feel it in your heart and be present, nothing more. From my standpoint, anything else may only distract you and ruin the beauty of the moment.”

As for the concerts alongside legendary Maria Farantouri, hosted in Munich and Zürich, she qualifies them as life experiences. “I felt like taking a walk while holding hands with time. In a way, this image is not far from reality, as Maria Farantouri is a keeper of precious stories, which she generously shares through her songs. Whenever she sings, all these stories seem to take shape right before your eyes, as if she’s illustrating them on an imaginary canvas.”

What was the glue element between her and the musicians of her band? “A common ground on the way of seeing things is always helpful. Most of all, I think it’s the common principles, the respect and the mutual love towards music. We’re a bunch of dreamers. Sakis, Thodoris, Stephanos, Alex, Tolis, Minas are genuinely happy
while playing and writing music and I think that deep down they are dreaming of making this world a little brighter. It’s important to have a good chemistry with every person you’re working with, a common language of communication and a sense of candor towards the people and the music. Sotiris, with whom we’re working together in the studio, Mr. Alexandros, who oversees everything like a father figure, Alexia, Dimitris. All these people have become an extension of my family. Consider how much more effective you can be while working in an environment full of people with whom you have reached the point of loving each other. All selfishness goes out of the window, egoism regresses and togetherness prevails.”


Music is a form of connection both with the inner and the outside world. I believe that human life devoid of music would be completely different. The way I see it, music is the language of dreams and dreams are life.


For Alkyone, music connects us with the past times and those who are no longer with us. “Nowadays I’m noticing a stream of young people that have turned their attention to traditional folklore music and I am over the moon for this sudden shift. Young people take delight in singing traditional songs in festivals, local feasts or friendly gatherings. Tradition comes out naturally, as an unforced flow, speaking of eternal and timeless things. Therefore, I take no surprise in its current revival. Music without a past is like a tree with no roots, destined to be eradicated by the first blow of the wind.”

Following my question as to whether it is possible for the children growing up in small towns who aspire to become musicians to realize their artistic dreams while making a living, her reply is more than encouraging: “In our times, anyone can achieve great things while living in any part of the world. The big city is not a prerequisite, as long as you are equipped with imagination and provided that you don’t succumb to the temptation of imitating whatever seems to be hype and catchy at that very moment. If you set out to do what you have in mind, and do it exactly as you planned it in your head, no matter if it ends up a success or a failure, you will have accomplished something that makes you happy. For the time being I am just fine where I am and I would not consider moving to a bigger city, as I fear I would lose my precious peace and quiet. Of course, I may change my mind at some point in the future, but only if I feel like it and not as a result of a compulsion. In any case, I would surely be on the lookout for little drops of nature: a forest, parks, a truly immoderate number of plants on my balcony!” she explains.

Despite her young age and the fact she’s living in Edessa, away from the city lights, she has worked alongside many top-notch musicians, with a series of international concerts under her belt. Therefore, it has become clear to her that in most countries things follow a different pace and abide by a different set of rules. “I met Greeks living abroad who rushed to exchange a few words with you as soon as they heard you speaking in Greek. I found that to be lovely and so touching! The audience abroad shows respect both towards the people who have worked hard to make a concert happen and the venue hosting the event. That’s an image I wish to see more often in our country. I really cannot understand why things should be any different here.”

Our discussion on her roots inevitably leads to her family and Alkyone stresses out the pivotal role her father and mother, a firefighter-cordeonist and a teacher, played in her life. “They have offered me support in countless and unimaginable ways and I wish that all parents would do the same for their children. Even though I did not come from a wealthy background, as we were just a normal middle-class family, my parents always made sure to save money for my music education, as they realized it made me happy. When you support a child’s dreams, then everything seems possible, even if society is trying to convince us otherwise” she explains.

“While growing up, I felt I could chase any dream I set my mind to, and I owe this to my parents, as well as to my music teacher, Thana, who taught me the piano ever since I was seven years old and has become like a second mother to me. Our parents, as well as every key figure in our lives, can only show us how to draw our own path, but the direction and the final destination of this path is a different story. What matters is to have faith in drawing the path you dreamt of and not the one imposed by others.”

Working as a special education teacher, she is in close contact on a daily basis with children, and firmly believes that the examples we provide them is a heavy responsibility that falls on our shoulders. “I honestly believe that children teach us more than what we teach them, as they are blessed with an innate sense of kindness and politeness, as well as an unspoiled gaze at life. They find joy in things that skip our attention and they do not feel shame in expressing their sorrow exactly as they experience it. They are inherently courageous and it is our duty to show the same courage so as to urge them to adopt this stand in life, even though deep down, it is us who should take lessons from them.”

Her songs’ setup, vocals and dreamlike, even dark in a way, ambiance reminded me of Kate Bush, who recently made a huge comeback with “Running Up That Hill”, a recurring song in the mega-hit series Stranger Things. Alkyone is in constant search for new music discoveries and singles out artists and bands such as Bon Iver, Sigur Rós, Florence and the Machine, Laura Marling, Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, The Lumineers, Lana del Rey, Alexandre Desplat, Queen, Lisa Hannigan et al. She is always keen on experimenting and trying out new ideas in her music, having no fear as to where they might lead her. “I never set out for a specific goal. More than often I am overwhelmed by a childlike urge to try out new things that parade before my eyes and ears, even though they initially seem to have nothing in common with my work as an artist.”

She chose to go by an alias that alludes to the myth of Alcyone, a bird that symbolizes hope, struggle, and love; a bird that carries its wounded pair on its shoulders, according to Plutarch. “I found this extract to be as romantic as hell! The beauty of the actual bird, with its blue and orange plumage, sealed up my decision once and for all” she admits with disarming honesty.

As for her future plans, Alkyone is freed from any particular expectation, placing all her emphasis on the bigger picture. “I just want to keep on dreaming. I hope to become a slightly better person than I am today, remain open to learning new things and never stop being surrounded by people I love and people that love me back. Last but not least, I wish for all of us, as a whole, to find a way to coexist on this planet a little more peacefully and humanely.

photo credit: Alexia Tyriakidou

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