March 25, 2021

Translated by: Maria Galanopoulou

We are celebrating Black History Month by proudly promoting Greeks of African-Arab descent!

Born in December of 1986 in Athens, Marina Satti is one of the most distinct voices of the Greek female pop music scene. And even though we know her as a recognized musician and a formidable performer, there are very few who know of the double racial pride she carries, since she comes not only from Greece, but also from Sudan. As she herself has said: “My father, who is from Sudan, had Arabic channels constantly on and he listened to Arabic music, that I used to shun back then, but which I now love. I mean he listened to contemporary Arabic songs, as well as older, big Arabic orchestras with violins, very dramatic, Umm Kulthum and stuff like that. Back then I used to say “God, I cannot stand it anymore”, and now that is all I listen to.”

Raised in Heraklion, Crete, classical piano kept her company right from the age of seven, while, as a teenager, she started studying classical singing, as well. In 2004, she sails to Athens to study Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens, as well as classical singing, jazz, theater, and dance at the Higher Drama School “Veaki”, at Kentriki Skini (English: Center Stage) Drama School, and at Philippos Nakas Conservatory. And while the awards are received one after the other, her scholarship as an exceptional music talent will give her the opportunity to specialize in synchronous orchestration and production, as well as in cinematic music at Berklee College of Music. In America, Marina encountered very different music sounds, appreciated Greek folk songs, while she also dared to dive into the sea of the sounds of her ancestors, eventually discovering her music identity. Her international collaborations in more than 15 countries in the realm of the music industry (Patrice Rushen, Peter Herbolzheimer, Zebra Omnes, etc.), her representation of Greece in the European Jazz Orchestra and her concert at Kennedy Center (Washington DC) with the World Jazz Nonet, along with her participation in the vocal band The Singing Tribe foretold her abilities as an artist early. In 2016 she establishes and conducts the a capella polyphonic band fonés, with which she ended up reaching New York, and the female choir chóres, a pilot group of 150 women of 13-55 years of age.

But Marina Satti is something more than a musician. She has given her voice to the dubbing of characters such as Moana and Ariel, and, in the context of the Festival of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, she organized a dance-and-music performance, YALLA, in which the music traditions and contemporary sounds of more than 10 countries are united in a harmonious on-stage performance, while she has also acted in the largest productions of Greek cultural organizations (Once, Erotokritos, Shrek The Musical, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.), along with television roles (Steps, C4). In the same year, she releases a cover of the Smyrnean song “Tha Spaso Koupes” (English: I’ll Break Cups), and in the following year she releases “Mantissa” (English: Fortuneteller), which is inspired by the polyphonic songs of Epirus and rapidly climbed the Greek and international charts. In 2018, she was voted “Female Musician of the Year”, proving to us that, rather than a short-lived firework, she is a star that propels culture forward at every opportunity, promotes and empowers women, and publicly speaks out against fascism.

Smyrnean (adj.): related to or originating from Smyrna, a prominent Greek coastal city in the Anatolian peninsula. Nowadays, the city belongs to the Republic of Turkey.

Epirus is an administrative region of northwestern Greece.