Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 February 2015

Nana in tribute to 'Big Jim' ahead of her farewell concert

Diva Nana Mouskouri (73) is due in Belfast on Sunday on her farewell tour before retiring from the stage.

And the singing legend has revealed that she thinks Ulster promoter Jim Aiken, who died eight months ago, was a man in a million.

Mouskouri says so in her autobiography Memoirs (Weidenfeld & Nicolson £18.99) which will be published here to coincide with her concert at the Waterfront Hall.

And her respect for Big Jim, whose passing last February after a brief battle with cancer saddened the province, shines through.

"Infatuated with artists and performers and capable of spending the night glueing posters to walls if he felt the publicity people hadn't done their job," she writes.

But in the next sentence Nana showed that she didn't really know Jim all that well at all.

Describing her first visit to Belfast in the troubled year of 1972 she relates: "Jim insisted on being my driver and while I was there he practically gave up smoking and drinking whiskey to avoid offending me."

What Miss Mouskouri isn't aware of is that Jim Aiken was teetotal all his life.

But that visit in '72 to sing at the King's Hall definitely left an impression on Miss Mouskouri.

She writes about the checkpoints she was stopped at on her way from the airport, the body searches of her audience, the terrible acoustics - and the cold.

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