A tour is coming

In the article A new voice of Sunshine, I relate the time when we discover Nana. In May 1965, she is on her first visit to Montreal to present a show with Harry Belafonte. Her popularity is still growing in Quebec and we want her to come back to present her own concert. Some newspapers even announce a week of performances at the Théâtre de la Comédie-Canadienne for March 1966. However, we will have to wait because that year Nana returns to the United States for two tours with Belafonte; one in the summer and the other in the fall.

Still hoping her return, Quebecers continue to buy her records. London Records, her company, ensures an excellent distribution of her productions. Moreover, so that her discography be representative of her international career, her albums in English, German, Greek and Italian are released.

In the spring of 1966, her third French album comes out. It includes in particular the two songs from her latest 45 rpm "L'enfant au tambour" and "Remets mon cœur à l'endroit". There are also many of her early French hits like "C'est joli la mer", "Un homme est venu", "Roses blanches de Corfou" and "Savoir aimer". They occasionally play on the radio without being released on any single.


In a letter dated October 4 of 1966, the montrealer impresario Samuel Gesser, writes to the New York agency APA (Agency for the Performing Arts Inc.) of which Nana is member. He develops plans for a tour in French Canada in January and February 1967. As Nana is in Northeastern USA at that moment, she is quickly consulted. Three weeks later, Mr. Gesser receives a copy of the contract signed by the agency and Nana. The tour will indeed take place. As during her last visit, Nana will get the big hall Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts.

The following month, her fourth French album is released. To adapt it to the Canadian market, there are three different titles from the French edition : "Ce n'était rien c'était mon cœur" and "Ses baisers me grisaient" which are hits here, and "Un Canadien errant", from our folklore. Even if London is reluctant about including it, it becomes the title. This album, witness of her first Quebec tour, will serve for long as a reference because of its title. In addition, while remaining during 21 years on the market, it will hold the longevity record for her vinyls in Canada.

Although some newspapers immediately announce the tour, the ticket sales only begins in December 1966, four weeks before, as is usual. Promotion is mostly done through newspapers, whether it be advertisements or press releases. Several posters are affixed in public places. The photo used, in black and white, is similar to the one on the cover of the American album "Songs of My Land". She stands in front of a tree trunk. By the way, the tour includes 26 concerts (22 in Quebec, 1 in Ontario and 3 in the United States).

Nana's stay begins on January 22, 1967 and will be busy. Two days later, a reception is held in her honor at the residence of Consul General of Greece, Mr. Nikolaos Diamantopoulos.

Nana is happy to return to Montreal. During her various interviews with the journalists, she recalls her first visit. She was a guest artist in the Harry Belafonte show and yet the public knew her voice. Her husband, George Petsilas, accompanied her on guitar. This year, he came with his band, The Athenians. Nana also evokes her eight years of study at the Conservatory without becoming an opera singer. She mentions Michel Legrand whom with she did a record of duets and her discovery of "Un Canadien errant". Nana sings in six languages. In her opinion, it was necessary to learn them to understand well the theme of her songs.

The same evening, Nana gives her first concert. Until February 18, she covers the province and only has four days off. Then she flies to Massachusetts and New York for three concerts. There, she performs before a predominantly Greek American audience.

At each location, the concert is presented in two parts with an intermission of about twenty minutes. This is in fact the North American concept; the star opens and closes the evening, even if sometimes there are guests. It should be noted that in Europe, the headlining artist only performs in the second part. Rising stars appear during the first one.

The program, modeled on the one of the Parisian cabaret La Tête de l'Art, in last September, includes mainly French songs, several in Greek and one in English.

Nana is accompanied by four Greek musicians-singers, The Athenians: Constantin Trouptsios (bass guitar), Spyridon Livieratos (drums), George Petsilas (guitar) and Philippos Papatheodorov (guitar). During the second part, she lets them perform alone for a while on stage.

The most memorable concert of the tour is undoubtedly the one of January 27. That evening, Nana performs her first full singing recital on a big stage, at Place des Arts in Montreal. She must manage at the same time her stage fright and her fear that the public would not come. Indeed, a snowstorm paralyzes the metropolis. From the back stage, Nana watches the arrival of the spectators. But fifteen minutes before the curtain rises, the hall is almost empty. Her manager reassures her and explains to her that Quebecers are accustomed to storms. He's right because new people continue to take place. And, after 90 minutes, the 3,000 seats are almost all occupied. The concert can finally begin.

Throughout the evening, the exotic music of The Athenians and the sweet voice of Nana warm up and comfort an audience who braved the weather. Everyone is delighted to rehear Nana's radio hits. Her interpretations, especially those songs of her country, don't fail to fascinate the spectators. Nana moves little and only speaks to introduce her Greek songs and to present her musicians. Beyond her talent, the journalists praise her simplicity and her modesty.

For several months, a tour is coming. In early 1967, Quebec is at the heart of that decisive event for Nana's artistic journey. Since she left Greece, her stage experiences were occasional: she performed three times in Paris, did two tours with other artists in Germany and four with Harry Belafonte in North America. This time she presents her own tour with her musicians. This is a first. From now on, Nana will do the same wherever she is demanded.

 

QUEBEC 1967