Artist Profiles: Angélique lonatos

Angélique lonatos

Born in Athens, Angélique Ionatos left her country in 1969 and moved to Belgium, and then later to France. In 1972, she recorded as a duet with her brother, Photis Resurrections, which allowed her to win the Gustavo Beytelmann price and to give a real start to her French career. She recorded an additional record with her brother. When the duet broke up in 1976, Angélique decided to sing exclusively contemporary Greek poetry lyrics.

Her first solo record I Palami sou (vocals and guitar) won First Price of the Charles Cros Disc Academy. Two years later, she released la foret des hommes (men forest) in which she sings poems from the Greek Nobel Price winner Odysseus Elytis. Following the same inspiration, she recorded Helios o Eliatoras.

In 1984, she became acquainted with Spyros Sakkas: his voice and his charisma make Angélique compose a scenic poem by Maria Nefeli. This project ended Angélique’s solo caree. She asked her Greek friend Alexandre Myrat to direct the orchestra of the show. Maria Nefeli was staged at the Theatre de la Ville and the album, recorded live at the Sartrouville Theatre and it obtained the Grand Prix Audiovisuel de I’Europe.

Angélique adapted Monogramme, seven love poems by Odysseus Elytis, for male chorus in 1988. The orchestration was arranged by Gustavo Beytelmann. In the meantime, Angélique became an associate artist at the Sartrouville Theatre, where she stayed until 2000.

In 1990, Ionatos created the show Archipel, with Jean-Francois Roger (percussion) and Paul Boutin (cello). Once again, Gustavo Beytelmann was in charge of the musical arrangement, and Joel Jouanneau directed it. When Angélique Ionatos met the Greek singer Nena Venetsanou, she composed for 2 female voices. Encouraged by her preferred poet Odysseus Elytis, she undertook the music adaptation of Sappho (a poet from the year 7 BC) and created in 1972 Saphho de Mytilene with music by Christian Boissel. Poems were performed both in old and in adapted modern Greek (adaptation by Odysseus Elytis). The show was staged at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris. The album won the First Price of the Charles Cros Disc Academy. A long tour followed, taking the show throughout France and abroad.

With 0 Erotas, in 1993, began a long musical friendship with many musicians, like Henri Agnel (strings and percussion), Jean-Francois Roger (percussion), and Renaus Garcia-Fons (double bass). O Erotas was performed at the legendary French Olympia, during one week. At the same time, the album was released (it was Ionatos’ 10th album).

In 1994, an old friend of Angélique, Christian Boissel, recorded with her Mia Thalassa, an original work by Mikis Theodorakis, based on poems by Dimitra Manda. The show featured Christian Boissel (piano), Helene Daubry (cello) and Renaud Garcia-Fons (double bass). This show was a great success in France and especially abroad.

The year 1995 brought two new shows, chansons nomades (nomad songs) in Montreux (Switzerland) and paroles dejuillet (July lyrics) inspired by the eponymous poem by Odysseus Elytis. Her friend Spyros Sakkas participated in the project. A premiere was performed at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris and at the Theatre de la Grece du Nord, sadly celebrating Odysseus Elytis’ death anniversary. Two years later, Angélique composed la statue merveilleuse (the happy statue), inspired by Oscar Wilde’s tale The Happy Prince, which is a kind of opera for children. The creation was presented in Cannes, and then 3 shows were performed at the Nice Opera, with the Nice Orchestra. Christian Boissel composed the music. During that time, Angélique Ionatos decided to provide a more personal kind music, searching for more intimacy. In 1998, she played during 15 days chansons nomades with musician and friend Henri Agnel (percussion and strings). That same year, the eponymous album was released.

Angel’s sob came out 1999 to celebrate Mikis Theodorakis work. In the meantime, the Avignon Festival presented Wladislaw Zmorko’s show Corrida, in which Angélique participated as an actress for the first time.

In 2000, D’un Bleu tres noiry was performed at the Theatre de la Ville. Angelique’s collaborators in that occasion were Henri Agnel, Michael Nick, and Cesar Stroscio. The show was later performed during one month at the Cafe de la Danse in Paris (2001), then 5 days at the Bataclan (2002) with several special guests: Misia, Lambert Wilson, Sonia Wieder-Atherton and Juliette.

In 2003, Ionatos performed l’Alphabet de la mer (the sea alphabet) during one month, as a tribute to her favorite poets, Odysseus Elytis and Sappho, with texts translated to French. She was accompanied on stage by Michael Nick on violin and Jean-Claude Feugnet directed the musical work. That same year, Ionatos recorded Alas Pa’Volar (wings to fly). For the very first time Angélique sang in Spanish, performing texts from Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s diary, with music composed by Christian Boissel. The album was released in October 2003 and the show, strongly inspired by the record, was directed by Omar Porras at the Abesses Theatre, in October 2003.

Discography:

Résurrection, with Photis Ionatos (1972)
I Palami sou (1979)
La forêt des hommes – To dassos ton anthropon (1981)
O Hélios O Héliatoras (1983)
Marie des Brumes (1984)
Récital (1985)
Le Monogramme (1988)
Archipel, compilation (1989)
Sappho de Mytilène, with Néna Venetsánou (Naive, 1991)
O Erotas (1992)
Mia thalassa (Naive, 1994)
Parole de juillet (1996)
Chansons nomades, with Henri Agnel (1997)
D’un Bleu très noir (Naive, 2000)
Angélique Ionatos canta Frida Kahlo: Alas Pa volar (2003)
Anthologie (2004)
Eros y muerte (Naive, 2007)
Comme un jardin la nuit, with Katerina Fotinaki (Accords-Croises, 2009)
Reste la lumière (Simone Records , 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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