I am Labros Filippou (Λάμπρος Φιλίππου) and I am a Greek born Countertenor Artist, Actor, Director and Teacher of Drama, based in NYC. I also write poems and compose songs.
All under one umbrella: freedom of expression.
The realization of creating came late. My connection with art, however, was a familiar feeling that traced back to all my earlier years, growing up in a small village and being inspired by raw tradition, folk culture, and real people.
During my time in the States, one of my core focuses has been the foundation of LFacting, my Drama & Stage Performance teaching program about freedom of expression and creativity with no borders.
I keep exploring deeper and deeper into life and art, so as to always enrich my repertoire as an actor in cinema & tv, a music performance artist and a theater maker.
The Greek audience and critics say good things about my out-of-the-box philosophy from my career with YIANNEIS, that I miss deeply in the rainy days, WORLD DOG, that I appreciate today more than ever before, and the beautifully darkly cinematic IAVVV, that was my transition to a next level.
I also collaborate with musicians from the underground, avant-garde, world music, traditional folk and electronic music scene.
In 2018, I introduce to the Los Angeles audience, for the first time ‘The Peasant’, an assemblage of everything I had been creatively on stage till that moment.
“Countertenor operatic vocals meet the most instinctive side of human nature, the one that looks more like an animal than a civilized person. He likes to combine the East and West feel, the Old and New sound, the Divine and Animalistic nature. Filippou likes to go up on stage leaving his ID out of it, so that he becomes a new person every night. He invites you to a complete renaissance experience.” I’m looking forward for the New York Times to write this anytime soon. 😄
The first show took place at the legendary Roxy Theatre, L.A. Then, I presented The Peasant in my hometown, Karditsa (see cover photo), in front of my old schoolmates, my neighbors, my father & mother, my brother & sister, my little nephews and my 80year-old gradma (the beauty in that cover photo). Then, Athens and New York (DROM, Barbes Brooklyn, Golden Fest Brooklyn and more).
AtBC was born during my time in Los Angeles, when I had to re-define myself, spending much time alone and literally having no-one to play music with, since I was still new in town. So, I started playing with myself… I mean, looping my vocals!
I play no instruments, so I only had my voice to play with. This was completely new for me and absolutely crazy in a few ways. It was also very therapeutic. I realized that it worked the same way for other people, too.
Today, I’m based in NYC and I often travel to Greece, where I come from.AtBC offers avant-garde performances and psychedelic sound-baths.
I named the project ‘And They Built Churches‘, after my friend John told me about a dream he had: ‘I dreamt of you. You were on stage doing something like an ecclesiastic rock music performance, singing hymns and people playing percussions and other instruments, that soon became huge and toured around the world. I also dreamt about the name of the project: “And They Built Churches”, John said. Funny story, huh?
Erinyes was the first album for AtBC, created with voices only, completed early 2018. It healed me.
And They Built Churches debut in the US was in May 2019.
“An audiovisual performance. This act is a live dialogue. A bi-directional improv work.
Melodic lines from the Byzantine musical womb and Countertenor vocals will meet with Shamanic voice drones, animal voices and rhythmic patterns. A liturgy about oneness.
The algorithmically generated images evolve and shift between ambiguous shapes and the human form, in an elegant interplay between synthesis, metamorphosis and image decomposition.”
I feel that this project is the epitome of my inner skills, whatever that means. It makes me very happy.
@Creative Code Art VR Festival (New York, USA) (Online)
KALIMERA means ‘Good Morning’ in Greek. This is a collaboration of AtBC & Sarantapozarousa. It freshened me up! I can’t wait to see this thing growing.
“Have you ever thought about how your voice would look like, if you could sing and your story would be sketched on the wall?
Daring, political, romantic, psychedelic, impossible, real.”
A Live Synthesis of sound and visuals about love, regeneration and the revelation of the soul.
Late 2017, I go on stage with a few top quality producers of the electronic music scene, offering a show with freestyle spoken word poetry. Singing vocals and poems I wrote, introducing the project Voukefalas, named out of my nickname as a poet and lyricist. The event takes place in Athens, GR.
Back in 2018, in Greece, I perform with the most beautiful and talented guys from the folk, traditional music scene, in Thessaloniki, GR, where we put together the folkest and most traditional fair, only it seems and sounds as if it came from the future. Two lead vocalists, percussion, clarinet, kanun, guitars, violin. This one was like a dream come true for me.
With Julia Kent (Antony and the Johnsons), for ‘Alismono‘.
With Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch for the beautiful soul Daphnis Kokkinos and his solo, ‘ADDIO ADDIO AMORE’, where I composed and sang part of the music.
Composing and singing part of the music for the performance “Free At Last” of the incredibly talented dance duo, Danae & Dionysios, presented at the Theater Rotterdam and Athens & Epidaurus Festival.
In 2008 I was given the ‘Best Singing Performer’ award at the Hellenic National Music Festival. I gave this prize as a gift to an Italian painter I had just met at a gala, as part of a gift exchange game for New Year’s Eve. I got a compass instead.
I starred in successful tv series and movies that traveled in great festivals around the world (Venice Biennale, Tokyo, Palm Springs, Thessaloniki, Moscow etc.). In my early career I was casted a lot as a character actor for very unique roles. In my first experience ever on set I was a transvestite nun. My first guest performer role in Hollywood was ‘Snow Demon’ for a family show on Netflix. Always a pleasure to transform.
Oh, I also act as a hand model, from time to time.
My debut as a cinema director was with Element. A short film I co-wrote and co-directed. Music was composed by my own World Dog and Stelios Faitakis’ artwork was the final piece that completed the project.
I collaborated for several years and toured around Europe with my mentor and theater director, M. Marmarinos, performing in well renowned festivals, as an actor, performer and countertenor. The first play I ever performed at, was Leoncavallo’s ‘Pagliacci’ (Herodium Ancient Theater in Athens, GR), directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
I directed the performance ‘Anthem to Liberty‘ based on D. Solomos’ ‘Hymn to Liberty’, at the Athens & Epidaurus Festival. The critics wrote: “Sex-Violence-Guts with the accompaniment of music!” and “The nationalistic fervor drifts, Some of the viewers take part in the violence: The nationalistic hysteria lures them, the National Anthem becomes the means for imposing fascist mentality.” Or even “Denunciation of fascism and nationalist exploitation of the nation became clear using quite simple means. The persona of L. Filippou during the musical part of the performance also brings to mind ‘The Wall’ of Pink Floyd, which functioned as a clear explanatory intertextual reference.”
My soft spot lies with teaching. Since 2009, I have continued to give seminars to actors, directors, performers, musicians, singers and other professionals who implement their artistic and oratory craft via their voice, body, and the spoken word. I founded LFacting in Los Angeles, in 2015. From the moment I started teaching, I became a better artist and human being, because I learnt how to listen better.
Throughout my career, I have given lectures, seminars, concerts and performances for universities, philanthropic organizations, schools for children with special needs, rehabilitation programs, and I am always open to new collaborations with organizations and groups of people for whom equity and free expression equals life itself.
Check out my Workshops for ALL program and support if you feel like it. Thank you.
Countertenor artist, Actor, Director and Teacher of Drama
NYC / ATH, 2021