Fri, Sep 30, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Record-breaking Nana Mouskouri to say 'adieu' to her Taiwan fans

By Derek Lee  /  STAFF REPORTER

Like most ladies, Nana (who was born in 1936) is coy about her age.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW ASPECT FOUNDATION

The legendary diva Nana Mouskouri is coming to town to bid farewell to Taiwan audiences four years after she last visited Taipei. Mouskouri, the top-selling female recording

artist of all time, and a popular artist in Taiwan, will perform at the Sun Yet-sen Memorial Hall on Wednesday and Thursday.

On her Farewell World Tour 2005/2006, Mouskouri has just completed the Australian leg. She will perform in Singapore tomorrow and Hong Kong on Monday before landing in Taiwan. Afterwards, she will touch down in Seoul and other South Korean cities for four days from Oct. 8 to Oct. 13.

Mouskouri once said: "Music for me was like many rainbows, filled with many, many colors."

Adding a dash more color to her Taiwan concerts, Mouskouri will sing a popular Taiwanese folk song called White Peony (白牡丹), according to Teri Wu, news media coordinator of the New Aspect Foundation.

The song, which tells of a young girl's heart and compares it to a white peony in the garden longing for the gentle touch of love from the wind in spring, was first released in 1936 by two young local composers and was an instant success islandwide. The song's melody is still widely recognized.

A local media report indicates that many of Mouskouri's local fans fondly remember her 2001 performances in Taipei that won her many encores.

The Greek songstress captivated large crowds at her two previous performances at the Sun Yet-sen Memorial Hall when more than 4,500 people attended.

Many members of the audience were moved to tears at Mouskouri's compassionate display of friendliness and love.

Mouskouri was born in October 1936 in Canee, Crete. Her father worked as a film projectionist. Mouskouri's debut single The White Rose of Athens was released in 1961, selling over 1 million copies. After moving to Paris in 1963 she became a superstar in France with her 1967 album Le Jour Ou La Colombe.

Born with only one vocal chord and not the average two, the rare condition gives her voice a unique color and texture, which marks Mouskouri's singing out from other performers.

Throughout her four-decade-long musical career, Mouskouri has sold around 200 million records worldwide and has been awarded about 350 gold, platinum and diamond records. Since 1958, she has recorded more than 1,350 songs in 65 countries, singing in English, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish.

Mouskouri's ability to sing and speak in these major languages made her an ideal spokesperson for UNICEF. She was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in 1993 stepping into the shoes of the previous holder of the post, actress Audrey Hepburn. She was then elected as a member of the European Parliament in June 1994, but resigned in 1997 refusing to back warfare anywhere in the world.

Mouskouri became so deeply involved in her work with the UN on relieving hardship throughout the world she decided to give up her musical career for good in order to devote more of her time to philanthropic works.

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