MICHALIS ANTONIOU: “Ohrid Fest” is a “Magical Rendez Vous”, a blend of culture, music and friendship!
Mister Michalis Antoniou,You are one of the biggest friends of Ohrid Fest, from Europe. Tell us at the beginning, how did You come to this festival?
-It was back in 2003. All starts when i saw somewhere an article for Tose Proeski. Then i start collecting informations about Tose and Macedonia in general. After i met in person Tose i also met via him a lot of nice people and among them Valentina. A year later Valentina brought me in touch with my dear friend Grigor Koprov which he invite me to take part in Ohrid fest.
Did You remember the first invitation you received and the first coming?
-The first invitation i received to visit ohrid was back in 2003 when Tose invite me to attend a very big concert of him take place in Ohrid in June that year. I still remember and it is still a question to me how he recognize me when i exit the plane as he didn’t saw even a picture of mine before. That was our first met. We had only a telephone conversations before. As for Ohrid fest my first invitation was back in 2004 from Grigor Koprov via Valentina.
How many times did you come to Ohrid Fest and being a jury member? Which songs and singers sang your songs?
-I’ve been to Ohrid fest 6 times and i was competing in the festival with 8 songs.
2004: Charis Detis representing Cyprus with the song Stavrodromia ton Angelon
2006: Debbie Scerri representing Cyprus and Malta with the songs To Mantato and Perfect Timing
2007: Alexander Romasewsky representing Russia with Quiero Saber
2008: George Zittis representing Cyprus with the song Ach Tzie Myrizi Anixi and Elena Voskou representing Greece with the song Rapsodia
2009: Nikolas Paraskevas representing Cyprus with the song Nomizis and
2010: Pavlos and Maria representing Cyprus with the song Aperanto Galazio
You also performed in back vocal one year. How did this happen?
-That was back in 2008. It was an emotional song written for my country. I couldn’t let the singer alone on stage thats why i decide to add to the song the backing singers and give the people to understand the message of the song.
Most importantly, based on Your wish, the Grand Prize of the Association of American Composers was given to You at Ohrid Fest.
-Yes that happened in 2004 when the International Federation of Songwriters vote me as the Best Composer of the Year 2004. It was my wish the award ceremony to take place in my beloved Ohrid and during Ohrid Fest. For that reason I ask the Federation to give the Honor to award me in Grigor Koprov.
What impressed you in this festival, in this city?
-The festival by its own its for my a “Magical Randez-vous” and i can describe it as a confluence of culture, music and friendship. As for the city…. AMAZING. A city to fall in love with.
As well as the festival director Grigor Koprov, and you are a Eurovision author. Which songs for Eurovision You made?
In 2004 I represent Lithuania with the song Whats Happened to Your Love.
In 2011 I represent Cyprus with San Angelos Sagapisa
In 2004 I was candidate to represent Malta with The Land of Legends
In 2008 I was candidate to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina with the song Angele
In 2012 I was a candidate to represent Moldova with a A ray of sun
You also had Your own festival where the Jury President was well known Anne Marie David, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. Igor Uzunov won one of your Passport to the World .Tell us something more about it.
-In 2011 my festival Golden Melody was held in Cyprus. Yes my dear friend Anne Marie David was the president of the jury. It was a very nice time with 21 beutiful participations. As for Passport to the World that was my first International music project include 21 songs from 21 different countries of the world. Among them Macedonia was represented by Igor Uzunov and the amazing song Postojam (I exist). A song that stole the hearts of the critics and the audience.
We come to the most important – big friendship with Tose Proeski. Tell us about that topic, everything we should know.
-Tose Proeski… I can write a whole book for him. As i mention before i met him in 2003 and till the last moments of his life our friendship was very strong. We met lot of times. We share only good moments. We share thoughts. We use to talk each other very often for his career, his plans his music, his songs, his family. He was the most polite person i ever met. He was sacrificed for everybody. He was very generous and his heart was more precious than a diamond. Unfortunately we lost an angel on earth. I will never forget his last words to me few days before his loss. We were enjoying our coffee somewhere in Skopje. It was if i remember well friday. I had to catch my flight back home and he had to leave for Croatia. He told me…. My friend GOOD BYE AND I HOPE THAT I WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE YOU AGAIN. I was socked. I answer him. What are you talking about. Of course we will met again. And his reply was I HOPE…..
In honor of Toshe, Bosnian opera singer Zeljka Katavic Pilj sang a song that You have composed, and the Eurovision song in 2011 is for Tose, composed by You, again . You also performed a concert in his honor. That friendship is forever, right?
-I will never forget him. I will translate some of the lyrics of the song i wrote for him and represent Cyprus at the Eurovision contest in 2011. I use to think than the angels live only in our minds, i as so wrong cause they do live among us and are hide. My heart is like an empty room since you walked away come back I’m waiting here for you my destiny, my way….
You live and work in Dubai for a long time. Last year, due to problems with visas at Ohrid Fest, the singer from Lebanon Jad Alayli did not came, to sing Your song. Will you come this year for the jubilee-25 years Ohrid Fest?
-Well thats true. But if I get an invitation of course. Why not. Love to be there again.
From Your first arrival You already have an open invitation, and the team of “Ohrid Fest 2018” awaits you!
(macedonian version here)
Valentina Gjorgievska Pargo