Alexandra Petropoulos speaks to the lead singer and guitarist of Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand about his Greek heritage and the rebetika music that helps him connect with it
He may be easily recognised as the frontman of indie rock band Franz Ferdinand, but more than that Alex Kapranos is a man of many talents and tastes. If you haven’t already stumbled across his Guardian food column or book, Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand, you may be surprised to learn that he is an elegantly poetic and engaging writer, and on evidence of his readings and my recent interview with him, he’s also an excellent storyteller. And if that wasn’t enough, he has an insatiable interest in global sounds – a veritable 21st-century Renaissance Man.
Despite his deceivingly fair complexion, Kapranos is half Greek and grew up feeling connected to his father’s Mediterranean roots. “I’m in a funny situation because I feel very attached to my Greek heritage but I don’t speak Greek myself and so this music is really key for me to connecting with that side of my background and personality.” The music he is referring to here is rebetika, the urban music born of the lower classes, particularly of Greek gangsters, in the 1920s and 30s.
One of the tracks chosen was The Ogyatanaa Show Band’s ‘Disco Africa’. To read the full interview and find out which tracks Alex chose, pick up a copy of the latest issue.