One of 2016’s surprises is definitely the release of Sissi Rada’s ‘Pragma’ through Inner Ear Records. Berlin-based Sissi Makropoulou & her band is something unique: The ethereal sound of harp along, the ideally mild electronics and a rare indie ethos are basic components of this genuine piece of art. Certainly not for everybody, but those of you who are keen on a different and special sound, then you ought to pay a visit to Six d.o.g.s. on December 17th, since this is going to be a night…to remember! Surprises also included…  

Hi there! Feel free to introduce Sissi Rada (project?) to readers

Hi there readers. Are you reading? enough? well this is Sissi Rada. Sissi Rada is a persona. She stands for freedom, respect, ‘featherheadedness’ and honesty. She is addressed to exactly these kind of personas who strive for these virtues.

Studying your Facebook profile, I read that you started taking harp lesson at the age of 11. How did this come about, while most kids choose the guitar, the piano or even the violin? Was there a mentor?

I started indeed with the piano when I was 6 I think, since I had the luck to come from a family that values culture. But when I was eleven, I was taken with my school-class to a music school in Voula to get acquainted with the instruments. There a handsome man named Thodoros Matoulas, who was about to be my first teacher, played the harp. I was mesmerized. He was also dressed in total white I remember… it was like a dream! I went home and asked my mum if I could start taking harp lessons. She waited a bit to see if I honestly meant it and after I persuaded her, she took me to him. He taught me how to play music with the heart and I was very lucky to have started with him. When I was 18 I changed to Maria Bildea who was about to become my life-long mentor. She still orders me to keep playing music when I have those self-destruction attacks and feel like giving up. You see playing music is most of the times a hard thing. But then these few but rewarding moments appear. They last only a few minutes, maybe hours, if you are lucky… But they beat the other ones! So you keep doing it feeling thankful. I owe these two harpists everything.

You recently released your debut album ‘Pragmavia the probably best Greek label Inner Ear Records. How did this collaboration come about? Why didn’t you choose a German label?

Finding a label is very hard. Even Inner Ear rejected us at the beginning. I have sent the album to some labels in Europe. Most of them said “It’s marvelous what you do, but we are afraid to sign you because you don’t belong to a genre”. “Thank you. That’s what I like about it” I always answered. Labels are an extinct species. They cannot survive the new culture of music-listening. Most of them are shutting down or turning to promotion agencies. Artists and labels can only profit nowadays from live concerts. So I was convinced that our album would have stayed on our shelves, since I had my own classical career to follow and didn’t want to lose more time knocking on doors indefinitely. But then one afternoon Inner Ear suddenly offered to release my work. ‘Pragma’ is an album that has been sheerly financed by the ethos and generosity of a pool of musical friends. And I like to see the release of it, as a result of a global fairness. Happy thought isn’t it?!

Is Sissi Rada a project or a personal vehicle? On your social media accounts is clearly mentioned as a band. Would you like to talk about how come to collaborate Max Trieder (production, guitar, keyboards), Tom Krause (drums) & Eugen Rolnik (bass)? 

Well it all started with me composing songs in my room, approximately 8 years ago, because I couldn’t play the harp due to an injury. One day I thought I should find someone to record them in a studio and produce them. I met Max Trieder in the University in Detmold, Germany, who was studying Tonmeister. I thought he was cool and didn’t look like the other proper students of a conservative Music Academy that I was used to. So I asked him. He listened to my songs and found them interesting. After the recording sessions, I was so happy to have found someone who understands what I mean, puts it in his head and heart and boosts it. He asked if I should play the songs live. I said “ well then we need a band. Do you want to be in a band with me?”. And he said yes. It was a great moment. He then started to write his own songs for us  where I would sing melodies and write lyrics. My favorite Sissi Rada song was written by him. Tom Krause came later after Max’s initiative. He was also in the same University, also a Tonmeister and an amazing drummer. He used to play in metal bands and this fat, angry sound that he has, makes me melt. As for Eugen Rolnik, he came last year to the band, also after Max’s incentive. He comes from another world that I have so much respect for: Jazz. So all of us 4, different in many ways, fit in this puzzle. There should be no genres in music. Just directions.


You have been living and creating in Berlin the past years. Which would you point out as the main differences between Athens & Berlin. Is Berlin the ideal cultural city everybody talks about?

Athens is a city that everybody is in love with. No matter who you ask. Yes Berlin is a hype, but Athens is a habit. Right now Berlin enjoys the right conditions to flourish: young blood, money for the arts, history to respect and pluralism in many forms. In Athens we have none of the above. I don’t know if it’s because of the economic crisis. Let’s ask our parents what they think. And then do the opposite.

Your latest video ‘Your Laptop’ is an immaculate piece of art. American site Vanyaland, that premiered the video, wrote some really nice words about it but also your music in general. Did you expect this critical reception then?

Laptop Video was conceived by Meletis Koropoulis, whose aesthetic conception is an immaculate piece of art.  Constantinos Caravatellis and IOWNYOUISEEYOU also helped in producing it. Like I said, this pool of ethical and generous friends, that we have the honor to collaborate with, has made Sissi Rada what she is.

On 17th December you are playing live at Six d.o.g.s. presenting your debut! Should we expect a full band performance?

Yes totally! 4 happy people on stage! And the iconic singer-songwriter Foivos Delivorias will be joining us for some songs, sung differently than usual. Well, we like not being usual. We hope you too.

What’s next for Sissi Rada then?

I will start practicing the harp 5 hours a day from Monday on for two solo harp recitals I have in Germany beginning of summer. Sounds far away but it’s not… I need to finish adjusting for harp some works of Tschaikowski. I say they need to be finished till February (still thinking out loud my new years’ resolution). On the meanwhile the collaboration with Kadebostany and his new album is moving forward. And we are writing songs for a new Sissi Rada album. I hope we won’t need again 2 years to complete it. Oh and I almost forgot my mix for my kind of best music released in 2016. My favorite task of the year! Need to start already…Going now, bye!

Photo credits: Meletis Koropoulis/Constantinos Caravatellis

Christos Doukakis