Despite your huge success, some of our readers will be new to your music. How would you describe what you do?
Well, I am joined by many of the world’s best musicians in the world on the stage. They include Samvel Yervinyan from Armenia playing the violin, Victor Espinola from Paraguay, who plays the harp like no one else, and my drummer, Charlie Adams, who is one of the best in the world and has been with me for over 30 years. I really don’t know of any other show quite like ours. The music we perform has been used worldwide for events such as the Olympics, Football World Cup, Tour de France, Golf, TV commercials and movies, and we have developed a live concert that incorporates the best of my music from throughout my career. I have also written new music specifically for this tour and the first few shows have been wonderful experiences with great audiences.
What are your thoughts of Dubai and what do you like doing while you’re here?
I love being in Dubai. During my last visit we ate a lot of wonderful food, some of the best meals anywhere in the world. I have also made many warm and very hospitable new friends while I’ve been here. I had the chance to visit Burj Khalifa and went to the top. I will never forget what was the most amazing elevator ride of my life, and the building itself is magnificent. The first time I visited Dubai, an officer at the customs desk said “Welcome home.” I felt like I was coming home. The people of Dubai have always been very warm.
We hear you were the first person to be given a panda by China! Tell us more!
Almost a year ago we were touring China. It was quite a long tour and we were there for several weeks. During that time the Chinese people decided to honor me by the adoption of a baby panda. They consider this the greatest honor they can give another country. It really touched my heart because this honour is usually only reserved for nations, rather than individuals. They wanted me to pick the gender and give it a name. I picked a female and I decided to call her Santorini. Santorini means saint and Irini in Greek means peace. Santorini also happens to be a beautiful Greek island. So I guess you can say that she is the ‘beautiful panda of peace’.
You have performed at a range of historical sites including the Acropolis. Where is next on your list and why?
That is a great question as we are looking at different possibilities right now but we have no location determined as of yet. We are planning to have a historic concert and as I travel around the globe with this tour, our team will be visiting many sites to determine the best location.
What influence does Arabic culture and heritage have on your music?
When I was a boy in Greece, I has a small radio that allowed me to find radio stations from all over this world. I was influenced by Latin, European and local music. One of the stations that I listened to played a lot of Arabic music. I never tried to create my music with any particular musical influence in mind but all of my experiences travelling in the Arab world, performing and being introduced to the culture has had a lasting influence on my music that you can hear throughout my career.
INFO: Tickets Dhs290 Silver Seating (free seating), Dhs390 Balcony Seating (free seating), Dhs490 Gold Seating (free seating), Dhs 690 Platinum Seating (free seating) and Dhs1,290 VIP Seating (allocated seating); 7pm, Thursday 4 April and Friday 5 April; Dubai World Trade Centre, 050 768 6418, www.mpremiere.com.