She was a kind of a manager I love to work with when organizing the festival. First contact was her letter about the band she manages. I liked the idea of the band, so after my request she sent me all the promo material, including three albums and an interview published in fRoots.
I love getting original CD of the band and not a burned copy. I need to touch and read the sleeves, the design, the lyrics, the text describing the band. All that matters to me. I loved the sound of the greek mixture Kristi and Stathis weaved around. Reading the interview in fRoots helped me get to know them better. So, Thalia and me continued in forthcoming months to exchange e-mails, slowly going from dry byrocratic items to normal human e-mail conversation about our countries, our friends, musicians we work with, way of life.
All seemed so natural and easy going with her. I started to feel I've known her all my life although we've never met face to face.
So, finally I couldn't wait for the band to arrive with her to Solin. Just a few days before their arrival she said she didn't feel well, so she might not be able to come. Sad, I thought, but still we'll have other opportunities!
We never had.
Her desease developed quickly. On this day, exactly one year ago, I received a phonecall from Kristi...
However strange it might sound to you: I've felt her presence in the future months so strongly that...I think some of my feelings, behaviour, decisions, I've had in those days were connected with her. Somehow, like she was getting the Bigger Picture from Â«up thereÂ» and wanted to help and direct and comfort all her friends together.
I know she never left us.
So long Thalia. This candle today spreads the light and warmth around, like you used to and like you still do.
Radio listeners in the UK will possibly remember Thalia Iakovidou from guesting on Charlie's show talking about Greek music, and also several times on Lucy Duran's World Routes on Radio 3. I can't remember when I first met her - probably at a Womex, certainly for quite a few years she was part of our socialising crowd going round checking showcases in the evenings. We became big email soul mates, often banging conversations around between Athens and London in the small hours, workaholics anonymous . . . She did a wonderful job managing Kristi Stassinopoulou. Didn't seem to have a care in the world, roared around Athens on her motor bike, smoked like a chimney, always had time for enthusiasms.
Then her emails stopped coming in August 2004, which seemed strange but it's summer and people go away on holiday . . . We have an occasional world music dining gang in Crouch End which Thalia had joined on several occasions when in London. Exactly a year ago today, we were together and Paul Fisher suddenly, for no reason, dropped into the flow that he'd just seen Kristi in Spain and had been told Thalia was sick. I got seriously spooked, and as soon as I got home I emailed Kristi to ask after our friend. First thing in the morning she rang with the terrible news that Thalia had died the night before - at exactly the time she had entered our conversation in London.
Just over a month later at the very start of Womex, Antonija introduced herself - for some reason that seemed inconsequential. Later that evening, I was standing at the first showcase thinking how sad and different it was going to be without Thalia around, and at that point Antonija re-appeared next to me and mentioned Thalia's name. We went to the bar and ended up talking - babbling more like it - for about 5 hours, and she and her partner Mojmir have since become among my very best friends.
antonija wrote:like she was getting the Bigger Picture from Â«up thereÂ» and wanted to help and direct and comfort all her friends together.
Which in the end was the only way we could explain it: after she'd gone, she wanted to put all her kindred spirits together who hadn't yet had the chance to meet. As I said to Antonija that first night we met, I don't believe in any of that weird stuff, but there was no other explanation . . .
RIP Thalia. A year on, we celebrate everything you gave us, and I thank you for new friends and a whole vista of new experiences yet to come.
Ian, what is also "strange"...for so many years we've both been attending WOMEX, but never really got to know each other personally...and when we finally met it turned out we've had so many things is common ;-). I bet it is so with many people that go to WOMEX for the same reason: to meet people with similar interests, to share -there are simply so many people there and so little time for all of them to meet :-).
But then again - those who need to meet will meet. Regardless of the crowd and time.
And some might just have an invisible friend who puts them together ...
And then...you introduced me to Eliza Carthy and to Andrew Cronshaw and enabled our audience at Ethnoambient to witness Andrew's great concert and next year, hopefully Eliza's.
It is really not a problem today getting in touch with great music, but what I've always minded is the way this music comes to me. I do prefer getting to know musicians or more about them beforehand. Thalia, not only was connection for music from Greece, but also from GB (through you), as far our festival is concerned. A true networker.