Arts & Literature
Music Across Borders – A Chat with Sakis Gouzonis
The sounds of music are everywhere. From nation to nation they express their own unique value to the world. No matter what language we speak, all we have to do is listen; for when we listen, we hear. Are you really listening? Let us hear from Greek musician Sakis Gouzonis about his work and passion for music.
Michel: Please tell us briefly about your life and background in music?
Sakis: My name is Sakis Gouzonis. I am 36 years old and I come from Greece. I am a composer, orchestrator, arranger, producer, and performer of electronic and cinematic music. Up till now, I have released six studio albums: First Contact (2008), New Earth (2009), The Tree Of Life (2010), Ultimate Love (2011), Vast Victory (2012), and Spiritual Unity (2013). Music is the best way to express myself and communicate with the world. It moves me in a unique and powerful way. I can’t imagine my life without it. I am also an English teacher in Greece. As an English teacher, I have always loved the power of words. Great speeches, poems, lyrics, novels, and short stories have touched and moved many people throughout the human history. People frame words, and words in turn impact people. This relationship has always been of interest to me.
Michell: When did you begin to realize that you had the gift of a musician? Who were some of your major influences?
Sakis: Usually, people are attracted by seeing certain people exercising a specific gift. But that was not the case with me. No one in my family was a musician, and I had never been to a concert before. Then one day, I found some cassettes at my parents’ home with Christian music on it, which I had never heard before. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with all the beautiful melodies and wonderful orchestrations. When I was about twelve years old, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. When I touched my first electronic keyboard for the very first time, I felt a strange power all over my body. I instantly understood that music is my gift. I can still remember myself sitting at my parents’ home in Elassona, Greece, spending countless hours every day playing and composing music. I had the innate ability to play music by ear. I didn’t feel the need of attending a music school. Later, I was influenced by some of the greatest electronic and cinematic composers, such as Yanni, Vangelis, John Williams, Danny Elfman, and many others.
Michell: Do you learn lessons from life through the music you produce?
Sakis: Greece has a very long and rich history. It is the homeland of many world-renowned personalities, monuments and ideas. Who hasn’t heard of Socrates, Pythagoras, the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Olympic Games, or democracy? Since it is located at the junction between the east and the west, Greece is a country of diverse cultures. And because Greece is a country of diverse cultures and traditions, it is not surprising that its music is just as varied. Due to the Greek assimilation of many different influences of the eastern and western cultures of Asia and Europe, there is always something on offer for every musical taste. Music is indeed a big part of Greek culture; it is an integral part of people’s everyday routine. It is highly regarded and present in all private and public festivities. Music in Greece is also related to other sciences, such as mathematics and philosophy, thus it is one of the important subjects in young people’s education.
Michell: Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?
Sakis: I consider myself to be a creative musician. Being a creative musician has helped me find not only a perfect way to process my own emotions and to develop positively as a human being, but also a perfect way in which to share that positive experience with other people around the world in a way that empowers them. In making music and performing live, I always experience a very powerful exchange of positive energy. I now know that music can inspire us all to make positive choices in our lives, and to create stronger, more active and more compassionate global communities. Creativity and spirituality go hand in hand. Since I am a creative person, I am also a spiritual person. Through the act of creating music, I am communicating with my soul, and the final music product is the manifestation of that. As I previously said, music is both left brain and right brain in nature. The left side of the brain is the logical side, while the right side of the brain is the creative side. The right side allows me to connect with my soul; it has a direct line to my soul. Music is highly spiritual, and its power knows no limits; it can make people smile or feel sad; it can make people hyperactive or calm; it can even heal wounds of the heart.
Michell: Are you involved with any sort of humanitarian projects?
Sakis: Humanitarian organizations and their members are doing an excellent job. Personally, I am not a member of any humanitarian organizations in or outside my country, but my love for other people always moves me, for example, to help the hungry and the poor, whether they live in the next house, the next city, or the next country. Lately, I have seen a lot of people in need financially, physically, and spiritually. I feel it is my responsibility to help fight hunger and poverty whenever I can. I think it is not right for one person to enjoy, eat, and waste food, while the hungry and the poor don’t know where their next meal will come from. We need to accept that it is our responsibility to fight hunger and poverty and not that of the government alone.
Michell: What is most important to you in life and why?
Sakis: Music and love. In fact, my first published music composition is called Anthem Of Love. It is included in my first studio album, First Contact. I wrote Anthem Of Love to show people through music what love is; not only romantic love, but also any other form of love. Love is both invisible and invincible. Love is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and bring you unspeakable joy. Love is strong, patient, kind, and lasts even though you may not understand or feel differently. Love never gives up, and endures through every circumstance. Love lasts through all the fear, the sorrow, the pain, the anger. Love is free, and has the power to free you from all the weight in life.
Michell: Do you have any favorite American musical artists? If so who are they?
Sakis: One of my favorite American artists is James Horner, who is popularly known for writing the music for My Heart Will Go On, the theme for the film Titanic. Horner’s orchestral works show a composer of considerable skill, capable of creating memorable and catchy tunes. His ability to infuse substantial intelligence into his music tracks is noteworthy. Another favorite artist is Elvis Presley. Although he is not with us anymore, his unique and captivating interpretations of his songs are still fascinating to many people, including me. His songs were a celebration of love and music; they were the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll. I wish I lived when he was alive.
Michell: What are some of your long-term goals?
Sakis: One of my long-term goals is to compose music for a major movie or a major documentary. Although my music has been used in short films and short documentaries, I would love to go one step further, and make my music known to a wider audience through major movies and major documentaries. I know the hard work involved in achieving this goal, and I know that many people fail, but that’s not going to stop me from working hard towards this goal throughout my music career. Another long-term goal is to have released ten studio albums (that’s one hundred tracks of original music) by the year 2017. My seventh studio album is set to be released soon.
Michell: Sakis, thank you very much for giving us your time and telling about your work.
Sakis: I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to present my music and my thoughts to your viewers.
VisitSakis Gouzonis online at http://www.sakisgouzonis.com/.
About the Interviewer
Michell Spoden is the author of Stricken Yet Crowned and is also pursuing a transitional housing project for women with an agricultural aspect. She has a degree in Business Science Administration and is finishing her bachelor’s in Project Management.