In 1977, Greece participated in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Solfege Lesson" with Bessy Argiraki, Paschalis, Marianna Toli, and Robert Williams, Lyrics by Sevi Tyliakou and music by George Chatzinasiou. The Greek quartet took the 5th place with 92 points, and the song made a big success in Greece and allover across Europe. The song was recorded in other languages.
Bessy, Paschalis, Marianna and Robert had already their own path in the music scene of Greece. In 1973 Bessy was awarded in Thessaloniki Festival with the song «Electronic Age». That was the beginning of an international career plenty of awards. In 1978 awarded at the Festival of Poland wins the first prize and the same year at the Festival "Golden Rose” (in Stadium of Athens) makes the surprise again by winning the first prize. In the same festival a Japanese record company gave her the awards of interpretation and the opportunity to sign a contract. The same company assigned her the representation of their country in a Japanese Festival.
The '80s began with huge success for Bessie Argiraki. In 1980 she obtains the acquisition of the first prize in a Czechoslovakian Festival. In 1981 she wins the second place for Japan in Japan with the song "Toshihiko", the same year she releases her first Japanese album under the label of "Watanabe Company" and makes significant sales in the country. The success of the album was already prescribed because of the love that the audience have shown to Bessy, the girl with the beautiful voice. That year the songs of her record reached the top 8 in the Japanese charts. In 1983 unfolds once again her immense talent by winning once again the first prize in Japan with the song "Gypsy song» in French.
The 90s brought many successes to Bessy, in 1992 she won the first prize in Lithuania with the song "Never happened", and the same year in Ireland conferred the award for best appearance and in the International Festival of Turkey in 1995 wins the first prize again. The Apotheosis for the "Golden" voice came in 1997. She awarded with the special prize of FIDOF (International Organization Festival) in a special ceremony in Cannes for the numerous successes in international festivals that she has been participated across the world.
The sweeping Bessy Argiraki is undoubtedly THE "Gold" Girl, a female treasure, not only on stage, but mostly Bessy is a real "storm" of emotions, capturing everyone with her gorgeous shiny eyes full of love. The ultimate "Positive Energy", the unique, the incomparable, the seductive, but most of all human being, Bessy Argiraki.
These words are few to enclose the enormous talent of Bessy, is impossible to be able to describe all the emotions that creates her voice, on stage is really a transformation, not just an artist that sings lyrics, is a woman who incarnates, in an extensive range of emotions, all the shades of lyrics and music.
At the inauguration of our digital "home" 12 Points, the beloved to all us Bessy Argiraki present some of her precious time for us to share memories, thoughts, feelings that established her in the musical firmament.
Well, let's take things from the participation of Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1977 which still resonates till nowadays as one of the most successful songs of our country in the institution. How this "myth" started?
Thank you very much for the pleasant surprise and honor to be the first artist to host your site. I am very happy that for this question because Eurovision was for me the biggest milestone in my career. I was very young then, a little girl, and singing was my passion, at that time the only thing that I had on my mind was: go out in stage and sing. As a little girl I could not figure out the size of this thing called Eurovision or the honor to represent a country. The song was chosen by the national television organization and our excellent musician, George Hatzinasios, one of the biggest talents in Greece. His melodies have filled our hearts and souls like no other. Chosen artists for the song was firstly my beloved, Paschalis, Marianna Toli and Robert Williams, I was the last that enters group to “catch” the high notes.
How do you feel about representing "little" Greece in "great" Europe and how you experienced all this from the eyes of the “little”, then, Bessy with the 5th place in the final of the competition?
Unfortunately, that time it was very difficult for Greece, it was a country trying to stand on her feet, and Europe was another world in another level. We started from Greece with very good reviews for the song, for the originality of the music, our presentation on the scene, but most off all for the wonderful lyrics of Sevi Tiliakou. The lyrics were really ingenious because of the refrain. In addition, the first thing that we learn from the very first music lesson is music notes, is the only universal language for humanity. Even not knowing what Greek language says in song, the chorus is understandable by everyone, because the lyrics are the notes of music. It is really beautiful and fascinates me many times when I hear even today young children sing it; they learn it in chorus, in conservatories, even in schools choirs. And this is the true value of music, to be timelessness, and truly was a big honor for me putting a little brick in this myth. Returning to your question, about the 5th place, truly, I can tell you that although I was very glad with the 5th place, I waited and all waited that we could get a higher place. We left Greece with the best reviews, and till the last time we “played” in the first places on Eurovision, but as we all know this contest is reversals.
Eurovision for you has been the starting point for the representation of Greece in international festivals. Have you ever thought that you will go so “high” and so “far”, and that your voice will become the “ambassador” of Greece in the biggest festivals around the world in a time when our Greece was in search of national identity?
As I told before, Eurovision was my greatest experience, the starting point of my international career. Eurovision is an internationally recognized competition with millions of Fans and huge television audience; it’s no coincidence that Eurovision kept so many years and still keeps winning the hearts of people around the world. In our conversation before this interview you reminded me my carrier, from European to global festival. I admit you catch me by surprise, reminding me that the most times that I was leaving Greece to go to a festival I was returning with an award. For me this international carrier was a chance to meet the world and represent Greece as far as I could. And now, I feel very touched and emotional; because for me it was not only my own victory but my country’s too, it was a huge honor for me all this experience. Unfortunately, Greece, as I said before, was in search of national identity, looking to stand on her feet. The festival then was very substandard, and also the Eurovision in Greece was downgraded. That was the reason for not being noticed my successes in our country. Then if someone wanted to make a career abroad was very difficult, I had the honor to convey to Japan the spirit of Greece and to acknowledge the success near the Japanese audience reaching my songs in the first places of the Japanese Charts.
How the artist Bessy Argyraki does perceives Eurovision Song Contest today, having memories of an era romantic where the competition was more elegant, with dress code and the access of audience was only through invitations of the national television?
I am very glad for being questioned for this; Eurovision 1977 was a real song contest, moreover this is the purpose, to highlight voices. The center of Eurovision must be the music the lyrics and the artists. Unfortunately for a long time, I believe that Eurovision was lost its target, the reason for its existence. The figure, the ways to direct the songs, the visual effects and who artist will look into camera more impressive than the others, was for a long time the center of the competition. Fortunately in recent years the competition has regained its essence, we hear "voices" and we admire real artists. Especially in 2009 when on the stage of Eurovision Andrew Lloyd Webber made his appearance playing the piano, Patricia Kaas also that year, then Engelbert Humperdinck, and lately we saw on stage Bonnie Tyler. This is Eurovision, and tends to become even better. I believe that from now on we will see really true talent passing the stage of Eurovision.
During your career you count 24 albums, numerous hits that made history, and collaborations with artists of high quality. What is the next step for the glamorous Bessy, what she prepares to surprise us and where can we enjoy her?
When someone reminds me of my career I get dizzy, but good one. I'm not an artiste that remains in the success, as I said from the beginning of this interview, my passion is to sing and to share with my audience all the feelings that songs speaks about; the rest come from themselves. Thanks God and my life were brought me successes, awards, records, work, but most of the entire honor to do what I was made for. But also I'm glade not to be spent, I had the happiness to be able to keep my distance from the song, to create a family, to devote myself into it, I became mother, and then when I felt that I missed a lot singing, I turned back on stage, and done it with the same passion as when I was little girl. Today I continue to sing, I work with people I love, appreciate and admire. Great happiness for me is my collaboration with the partner but most off all friend Robert Williams who, after many years of retirement from the music scene, will sing again with me. We will make a series of appearances on "Hitirio" music scene on 20 and 27 December and on 3 and 10 January, which will remind the world many old hits, duets, songs that shaped our careers. Robert will perform songs from his career in the group “Poll”, and we will also do a tribute to all our beloved Beatles, and many others. It is really a "travel through time" program.
We cannot feel but grateful that they gave us a little of your precious time; as we know that Bessie is a busy artistic and professional being. In the close of this beautiful meeting we would like to hear from the “artist” Bessy what advice would give to today's artists so they can obtain an international career with many awards as yours.
I would like to thank you again for this wonderful conversation. Like an artist I could enclose in 3 small but very powerful words all the meaning of the art of singing, Voice, Love, Passion.
Thank you for the honor to have an interview with the “priceless” Bessy Argyraki. The only thing left to wish to our readers is; to have a nice day and enjoyed our interview as we are.