A&E » Arts

Pavlo prevails!



David and Goliath story has a hip-hop ending

Who: Pavlo

Where: Eagle Eye Theatre (Squamish) and MY (Millennium) Place

When: April 2-3

Tickets: $15-$20

He’s the musician that’s known for the swing of his hips as much as his passionate Mediterranean guitar licks.

"I just move," says Toronto-based guitar master Pavlo Simtikidis, known to his fans simply as Pavlo. "I come from a Greek upbringing. Most guitar players either sit or stand still and it’s impossible for me to do that because I’ve been dancing and jumping up on tables since I was a kid, you know? I don’t consider myself a professional dancer by any stretch of the imagination, but I just allow myself to open up on stage and just move any way my body wants to go.

"It’s usually my hips that go side to side," he adds.

Since Pavlo’s last trip through the Sea to Sky corridor, in May 2003, he’s become known for something other than his performance skills.

Recent events have made him a pop-culture hero in an R&B sound-tracked version of the David and Goliath story.

Four years ago, while listening to the radio in his car, Pavlo happened upon the song Fiesta by R&B megastar hit-maker R. Kelly and immediately recognized one of his own compositions – Fantasia – sampled into the chart-topping artist’s track.

Pavlo immediately headed to the studio and made sure he could prove they were indeed one and the same. He then challenged the artist’s publishing and recording companies – R. Kelly Publishing and Zomba Song – to a duel with the help of a Toronto lawyer.

The case dragged on for three years, with a settlement finally reached last fall awarding Pavlo 25 per cent ownership of the song. He talks freely now, but says he kept things relatively quiet during the case since he didn’t hold out much hope of winning.

"When you go up against a billion dollar company, you don’t think you have a chance," says Pavlo. "But the bottom line is, he sampled my song without my permission. At the very least, I want to let people know that’s not cool. That was my intention. Whether I win or not, I want you to know that I know that it’s my song."

Along with acknowledgement that his work had been poached without permission Pavlo was vindicated with a sizeable financial compensation. But instead of retirement plans the shift in his net worth has made him even more dedicated to the life of a touring musician. He revels in the fact that he can play smaller venues in smaller towns without worrying about the payout or the cost of jumping on the next plane.

Add a comment