Introducing: Athens

Fofi Tsesmeli | Co-Director | Media Specialist, DJ & Music Consultant

How would you describe the music scene in Athens?

One may say that Athens is a city that never sleeps. The Athenian music scene is very vibrant with many events being held every week all over the city, local and international electronic music festivals setting foot in the country and cultural foundations investing in numerous ways in the industry. We have a lot of knowledge and connections in the local scene, experience and connections on media & communication, knowledge on business development and more, with which we want to contribute to

Virginia Vassilakou | Co-Director | Project Manager, DJ, Producer

Why did you want to form a chapter in Athens?

Fofi has been a DJ, radio producer and music editor specializing in the electronic music scene for the past 25+ years, so she has experienced first-hand the “weird” times when women in such positions were a rarity and also the difficulties a woman had to face in order to achieve, maintain and support a career. Needless to say, she scarcely found people that she could look up to. As a result, almost three years ago, Fofi decided to launch a project called HER, which is about female empowerment and support in the (electronic) music scene, which she is currently running with Virginia, who is a relatively new member of the music scene, but faces the same issues and has the same wish; to change the current equality conditions. Fofi was initially referred to by Lydia of Lydia Laws PR Agency and by Blond:ish, about 2 years ago, when the project had begun taking form.

Until now HER Project has organised events with all-female lineups, inviting international DJs as main acts and local ones as supporting acts. The goal is to create awareness of the existing inequality and to showcase new local talent at the same time, hoping to make the “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it” motto a reality that will influence and inspire more talented ladies to get involved in the scene. HER invited VONDA7, Skin of Skunk Anansie, and Kim Ann Foxman in two of the most notable venues of the Athenian scene, and it supported the “Women In Techno_logy” multimedia event at the highly established and acclaimed Athens Concert Hall: it was the debut of techno music in its premises with an all-female lineup, one of whom was Fofi. HER also participated in Sonar Athens this year and will be part of two local festivals.

At the same time gender inequality has been rising in Greece, with laws being passed by the Parliament which are against basic human rights, with anti-abortion campaigns popping up, all adding up to a big and unsettling social crisis. Now, more than ever, it is the critical moment when we have to take action through collective actions, however big or small, if we want to create a serious impact.

By becoming a part of the community we are more than eager to learn from their know-how and network, as well as connecting with other initiatives, artists, professionals, individual women, etc. It will help us fill in blanks we are missing, exchange knowledge on current trends and situations and become part of such an important collective movement towards equality, for which we have been working hard and have strong feelings for. We also want to inspire more and more women in Greece to join the community, connect with like-minded people and become more active in voicing, advocating and defending their rights.

Maria Tsolaki | PR, Media Consultant, Arts Manager

What are your hopes for Athens?

shesaidso.Athens was launched in April 2020 aiming to bring change to the current status of women in Music and Arts, which is characterized by poor representation and exposure, very few opportunities and prevalent sexism. Even though things are progressing globally, change does not follow the accelerated speed of other countries. The general motto of #shesaidsoAthens lies in the idea that talent surpasses and undercuts genres, gender, age, nationalities and solely focuses on inspiration, collaboration, diversity and inclusion.

Its general purpose is, through coordinated efforts, initiatives, networking, resources, knowledge and experience, to create a platform of professionals from all fields who will overturn the known status and pave the road towards equality.



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