I am Labros Filippou (Λάμπρος Φιλίππου in Greek) and I am a NYC based, countertenor artist, character actor, Greek singer, director and Teacher of Drama & Stage Performance. All under one umbrella: freedom of expression.
I also write poems and compose songs.
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, the core focus has been the foundation of LFacting, a 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 his repertoire as an actor in cinema and a music-theater performance artist, creating projects of wide range of vibrations and frequencies. A no genre music-performance act and a clear calling to the audience for a universal experience about oneness.
Or that’s what they say..
The two projects I founded in the U.S. are ATBC and The Peasant.
The Greek audience and critics say good things about my out-of-the-box philosophy, from my career with the totally subversive YIANNEIS that I miss deeply some rainy nights, the absolutely out of this world WORLD DOG that I appreciate today more than any other moment in the past, and the beautifully darkly cinematic IAVVV that took me to the next level, as well as new collaborations that started blossoming with musicians from the underground, avant-garde, world music, folk and electronic music scene.
The Peasant _ #th3paesant
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 and of it, so that he becomes a new person tonight. He invites you to a complete renaissance experience.’
The first show took place at the legendary Roxy Theatre, May 2018. Then, I presented The Peasant in my hometown, Karditsa (see cover photo), one of the most weirdly and existentially centering and grounding shows of my late years as an artist, asI performed in front of my old schoolmates, my neighbors, my father and mother, my little nephews and my 80 year old gradma (the beauty in that photo). Then, Athens and New York (DROM, Barbes Brooklyn and more).
ATBC _ #andtheybuiltchurches
My new baby and one of my most deep and delicately put artistic moves ever is the album Erinyes, an album created with voices only, completed early 2018. A healing music experience.
I go on stage for the first time with this new project late 2018, giving a very special show in Athens, GR.
I named the project ‘And They Built Churches‘, after my friend John tell me about a dream he had last night: ‘I dreamt of you. You were on stage doing something like an ecclesiastic rock music show, 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. It’s And They Built Churches’, John said. Funny story, huh?
And They Built Churches is a hyperrealistic existential journey. A build up of looping voices where everyone is invited into a conscious tuning of human senses and the Universe. A Byzantine, avant-garde, trippy rock music performance.
And They Built Churches is the continuation – the expansion of ‘Erinyes’ album.
Looping byzantine and classical countertenor operatic voices meet with rhythmic psychedelia, drones, electricity and electronic arts.
And They Built Churches debut in the US was in May 2019.
An audiovisual performance. This act is an online live dialogue. A bi-directional improv work during the quarantine days.
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, of my highest frequencies, of the purest psychedelia of my mind. It makes me happy.
Voukefalas _ #voukefalas
Right before that, around late 2017, I go on stage with a few top quality producers of electronic music and I put some freestyle narrative himself, speaking out loud my poetry for the first time like that and singing some ethereal, I guess, vocals, introducing the project Voukefalas, named out of my nickname as a poet and lyricist. The event takes place in Athens, GR.
The folkest folk _ #panegyri
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 is a dream come true for me (find out why, looking through the third paragraph of this page once again).
Working with Julia Kent (Antony and the Johnsons), for ‘Alismono‘.
Working 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, in 2019.
In 2008 I was given the ‘Best Performer’ award at the Hellenic National Musical Performance Festival. I gave this prize to an Italian painter I met at this New Year’s Eve gala as part of a gift exchange game. I got a compass instead.
CINEMA & TV series
I starred in successful tv series and movies that traveled in outstanding festivals around the world (Venice, Tokyo, Palm Springs, Thessaloniki, Athens etc.). Most of my early career in the movies was a character actor’s career, with very unique roles, probably because of my intense and edgy stage performance profile. In my first experience ever on set, I was casted as transvestite nun. Only a couple or so years later, I was casted to play a transvestite character again twice, in a feature and a short movie. My first role in Hollywood was the ‘snow demon’ part in a family show on Netflix. Always a pleasure to transform 100% using my vocal and somatic skills.
Oh, I also act as a hand model from time to time.
‘Element’ short movie
My debut as a cinema director was Element. A short film I co-wrote and co-directed. World Dog project the music project that inspired the creation of the film and Stelios Faitakis‘ art work was the final piece that completed the project.
I participated in movies that took part in important film festivals such as Venice, Tokyo etc., and starred in tv series. Throughout my collaboration with the theater director, M. Marmarinos, I took part in several theatrical performances, as an actor, performer and countertenor touring around Europe. The first play I ever performed in was Leoncavallo’s ‘Pagliacci’ (Herodium Ancient Theater in Athens, GR), directed by Franco Zeffirelli. A very special experience. I remember the maestro asking me to become a Picasso painting on stage. He later said that I did it.
In the summer of 2013, I directed the performance ‘Anthem to Liberty‘ based on D. Solomos’ ‘Hymn to Liberty’, at 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.” And 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.
I have been teaching online since I moved to the States, but the true revelation happened during the first quarantine, March 2020, when I had to find ways to teach online. Instead of adapting to the new conditions, I created a new teaching experience for me and my students. Give it a try.
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 the vision of free expression equals life itself.
Countertenor artist, character actor, Greek folk singer, director and theater teacher.
NYC / Athens, 2021