Lisa Condit spoke with Pavlo about “The Santorini Tour”, his culture and background, his special guests on tour and more! Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Lisa: Thank you all for joining us for Behind the Scenes at The Hanover Theatre. This is Lisa Condit and I am thrilled to be here with Pavlo. Pavlo is performing at a fundraiser to support the Alzheimer Association sponsored by Infinity MedSpa. That’s coming up in December, so exciting! Pavlo in Concert “The Santorini Tour,” again, sponsored by Infinity MedSpa on Sunday, December 4, coming to our main stage. Welcome, Pavlo.
Pavlo: Hi, how are you? Opa! I feel happy.
Lisa: I feel happy talking to you, too. This is going to be fantastic.
Pavlo: I’m so excited.
Lisa: You’ve been busy, busy, busy. I know you recently had a special on GBH, but you’re also on what some people might call a whirlwind tour with 30 to 100 concerts coming up really soon. So, tell us all about yourself. I’m fascinated by your background in that you have such amazing blends of Greek, Spanish and Latin music. It’s going to be fantastic.
Pavlo: My parents are from Greece. I was born in a very exotic city called Toronto.
Lisa: Oh, Toronto is exotic.
Pavlo: I live in Florida, go figure. Since 1998, I’ve been basically on tour for 25 years. I grew up listening to flamenco music and Latin music because my father loved that style of music, but I also grew up in a Greek family so there was Greek music. So, without knowing, I connected and combined all that stuff; fast forward to 17 albums later. This is what I do, it’s a Mediterranean style mix of music. It’s been quite the journey, and we’re still on it.
Lisa: It’s definitely not ending anytime soon. Thinking about Greece and all the pictures I’ve seen, it’s definitely on my bucket list to get there. I am struck by the white buildings, and it’s very clean, fresh blue skies; that’s what I picture when I think of Greece. Then I think of Toronto and I think of white, but I think of white snow, not necessarily white, sunshiny beaches.
Pavlo: I’ve done four major PBS television specials, and the last one was actually in Greece on the island of Santorini. That was my backdrop if anyone saw it on television, the white and blue houses behind me. It was a dream concert of a lifetime. We’re bringing that to Boston and I can’t believe it. We’re bringing that right to your theatre.
Lisa: Well, Worcester is a little bit different than Boston, Pavlo, but you’re going to love it even more. I promise.
Pavlo: Yes, of course. It’s the only show we’re doing in the area and it’s going to be right there at The Hanover Theatre. I’m really looking forward to this.
Lisa: We are so lucky to have you. I’m looking at our show page right now and of course, we do have some tickets still available on our website at TheHanoverTheatre.org. So reasonably priced, the tickets start at just $30. You do have a very limited pre-show meet and greet. The photos are available with autographs and a chance to chat with you, Pavlo. You’re accessible!
Pavlo: Yeah, very accessible! We’ll dance, we’ll hug; whatever it is we do at meet and greets, that’s what we’ll do. Honestly, I just I love meeting people. That’s really at the core of what I do. I travel around the world playing concerts, but my favorite part is just connecting with people.
When I leave my meet and greets, I almost feel like we’re family. People are taking the time to watch me and listen to me play. How lucky am I? I don’t take that for granted.Pavlo
Lisa: I love it. I love that graciousness. Attitude of gratitude is a soft spot for me. So, tell me how you got started. I know you were talking about your family influences. What musical instruments did you start with? Tell me a little bit about your musical journey and how you blended everything into this unique Mediterranean sound.
Pavlo: I started playing guitar at the age of 10. My dad was a huge influence in me growing up because he loved music and he was a music lover. He would expose me to flamenco we go out and see Paco de Lucia and Jose Feliciano. I’ve actually worked with Jose Feliciano and done a tour with him. So, you can imagine how happy and proud I was introduced my father to Jose. It’s been such a beautiful journey that way. My mother listened to Greek music in the household. Without knowing, I combined my love for Greek, flamenco and Latin to create what we now call Mediterranean style.
Lisa: It sounds fantastic. I’m picturing a lot of hugging, a lot of laughing, a lot of singing and a lot of dancing. It sounds like a fantastic household to grow up in. Tell us about where you’ve been, some of your favorite concerts and some of the lessons you’ve learned while you’ve been on the road.
Pavlo: I’m basically a touring artist, so I’ve done over 3000 headlining concerts since 1998. I normally tour in about 10 different countries every year. The one thing I found is that music truly is the universal language, there’s no question about it. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Japan, if I’m in Germany, if I’m in Mexico, Canada, Greece or the U.S., it connects us because I am primarily instrumental music. People sit down and enjoy each other’s company, they enjoy all being in the same room, whether it’s a 2,000-seat venue or 5,000.
That’s the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned in my life, that music truly connects people anywhere you are in the world. I’ve been lucky to be able to do that, to go around and basically play the music that I’ve written over my lifetime.Pavlo
Pavlo: I’m still pinching myself, because I can’t believe that I get to do this every day. It’s crazy, so it’s going to be a spectacular night.
Lisa: I love it. It is going to be fantastic. I hear you are bringing some talented guests, so tell us a little bit about who else is going to be taking the stage with you.
Pavlo: Well, this is going to be a one-of-a-kind performance because this is not going to be anywhere else on the tour. We have Lazos Ioannidis, who is viewed as the world’s greatest lyra player, which is an upright violin; it’s a Greek and Turkish instrument. I’m flying him in from Toronto. We also have Grenville Pinto, an extraordinary violinist who is flying in. Then, of course, my band; it’s going to be a massive show. Worcester is the only city that we’re actually having all these particular guests with us.
Lisa: It sounds fantastic. Is there a part of the show that you really enjoy? I know you said each show is different and it’s going to be one of a kind, but is there one particular signature piece that you like to do or something we can really look forward to?
Pavlo: Yeah, there is! I play music from all of my albums, but every night, I always play a song called “Café Kastoria.” Kastoria is the town where my parents are from in Greece. So, I always perform that song every night, no matter where I am and I’ll usually go into the audience. Sometimes the song is two minutes long, and sometimes it’s seven minutes. It depends on what happens when I go into the audience.
Lisa: Oh, boy, this is total interaction here.
Pavlo: Yeah, that’s my shows. Honestly, I call my concerts “feel-good concerts” or my music is “feel-good music.” It’s about enjoying each other. Obviously, I have world class musicians on stage but it’s more than that. When people come out to see my concert, I’m just trying to give them every ounce of energy that I have my body that night.
It’s about just putting out positive energy and making everybody feel good. When people leave my concerts feeling good, that makes me feel like I’ve done something good with my life. That’s really the core of a Pavlo concert.Pavlo
Lisa: Yes, I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it just from the way you’re describing all that feel-good energy. You obviously have a lot of charisma, you’re amazingly talented and you’ve traveled the world. This is a one-night-only with the world-renowned Pavlo. He’s performing live in concert at The Hanover Theatre as a fundraiser to benefit Alzheimer’s research treatment, which is also really special. I know that our friends at Infinity MedSpa feel very strongly about that cause and wanted you, Pavlo. They didn’t want anybody else to do this with them, they wanted you. I know that they feel really blessed and really happy that you are performing here in Worcester at The Hanover Theatre. Again, it’s going to be December 4, and the show starts at 4pm, so it’s a great time to bring the whole family, this is going to be a wonderful experience. Tickets start at a really reasonable price at $30 and go up to the $125 meet and greet tickets. A lot of our artists are not as accessible as Pavlo is with the photos, the autographs and a chance to chat with Pavlo. I don’t think we can promise that with everybody. I can tell it’s going to be high energy. I can tell everybody is going to be happy and I am so pleased that you are coming to our theatre. Everybody, definitely go online because we have some great seats still available at TheHanoverTheatre.org. Pavlo, it’s such a pleasure to talk to you. I feel I feel happier already and I think everybody listening does, too.
Pavlo: Thank you! It is an absolute honor to speak with you and I just cannot wait to get over to Worcester. It’s the second last concert of the year for us, so it’s going to be spectacular.
Lisa: Second to last concert in New England’s second largest city. It has a nice ring to it! Pavlo, can’t wait to see you there.
Pavlo: Worcester, I love it!
Lisa: We love you. Everybody, stay tuned. We’ll be back with more Behind the Scenes after this quick break. Pavlo, we’ll see you on December 4.