A (still) songwriter is waiting for the bonus that has been delayed for months



“Everyone knows that, for many months now, the art world has been hit hard, perhaps more seriously than any other sector of the economy. Artists and cultural workers have made – and continue to make – countless appeals to the state to get over their problems. The financial problems of many of the cultural workers have already turned red. Some have no income, not a single euro, all these months, I’m talking about the period from the first quarantine until today. The situation is tragic, we hear about artists who go to meals or who have been left without a cell phone, without the Internet… “, says Thomas Fotis, well-known singer-songwriter, performer himself, but also a guitar and vocal teacher. Poster by someone live by Thomas Fotis with his collaborators. Thomas Fotis, originally from Epirus and the Fotiou family who has its own history in traditional music and Epirus, has learned in recent years to work hard and on many fronts to make ends meet beyond. Always, his object remains music, but this means that in the mornings he has lessons, in the evenings he plays or makes guest appearances, in between he rehearses and studies, seeks collaborations and closes his lives on his own. He appears in music scenes and small shops in Athens and the rest of Greece and his daily life looks like that of most musicians in Greece at the moment. With their instrument in hand, they make their way, and of course, this road is not paved with rose petals. As Thomas Fotis explains, “there were very few lucky people, including me, who worked in the summer. Our work, anyway, is distinguished by relative insecurity and night owl hunting, and the lockdowns have made the situation even more difficult. “For months now we have been waiting for the allowance promised by the Ministry to artists, we have registered in the Register of Artists, which is important, because in this way we will achieve a large accurate registration of the artistic potential of Greece, we decided to live in a terrible economy He continues: “Many of us already teach. Apart from the music scenes and the dining areas where we could do no live, the schools, the conservatories were closed… It is not a given that all the institutions take lessons online. Let’s say, my good friend Lamprini Lambrou, musician and lyricist, regularly teaches her lesson through zoom at the Arta Conservatory. Therefore, if you are not a teacher in a field that covers the internet topic, you lose from there! There are many of our colleagues who, on the verge of illegality, continue some private lessons, to relatives and close friends, from where they receive small amounts that allow them to eat and take a pack of cigarettes. What should they do, that is? ”Indeed, the question that arises is clear: How will artists live? The hopes given by some announcements and promises of the Ministry of Culture proved to be empty. As Thomas Fotis states: “The economic misery of our industry is a given, the psychological pressure is great – for the whole world, but now we are talking about workers in culture. We are asking for help from the state, we are also asking for a clear timetable for what they intend to do with our cases. We were the first to lose our jobs, we felt unnecessary and undervalued. We teamed up under the roof of the supportive Art Workers movement, but the truth is that we did not achieve much. This month is difficult. Will there be only one? When will we be able to work again? How will we live? I know people who wither and who, out of pride, are ashamed to ask for help. You know, artists are not all bohemians and such. I say how I am. Some, however, have children, a family relies on them. In other words, should one apologize, nowadays, for choosing to follow this professional path? “All artists and related professions are waiting for the lockdown to be lifted soon.” We hope that the country will open long before the holidays, because it during the season we play, show up, communicate our work to the world and, of course, make a living that allows us to get a gift for our partners, our children, to do something more for ourselves. We tend to forget, now, this… something more. ”Thomas Fotis also mentions the problems faced by the creative industry: lyricists, composers, writers, who for so many years received some income from their intellectual work. As he notes: “This income was cut, of course! Not that the coronavirus is solely to blame here, but it has further intensified the already problematic situation of organizational rights, because in which stores will their songs be heard and in which theaters will their works be performed? Since everything is closed… The State must listen to them, of course. Do not consider them non-existent or invisible. In general, I wish the difficulties to pass as soon as possible and I suggest that we remain as solid and strong as we can, artists and more. We will continue to give our fight on a daily basis. But we are human too. We are leading to exhaustion, now, mentally, but also physically and the wise I mean… »



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