There is a lot more to Thanae Pachiyannaki than just her amazing personality. She is tall, smart, speaks eloquently and, perhaps most importantly, loves coffee, making her perfect for an interview. As the manager of two family businesses, there is a lot of responsibility on her young shoulders, but in spite of this she comes across politely and I am immediately put at ease by her friendly nature.
At 28, Thanae’s duties include the running of two family businesses – Tunes, a music store that also runs music schools offering tuition, and Eurodiet Gulf, a dieting centre.
Tunes was started 25 years ago by Thanae’s Greek father and at the time it was the first music store in Oman. “It happened that my father was looking for some musical instruments for my sisters and wasn’t able to find them anywhere in Muscat – that’s when the idea for Tunes came to him,” Thanae says of the shop’s origins. Twenty-five years later and the store is running “beautifully well”, with several branches spread across Muscat.
Music and singing are longstanding passions for Thanae, who says: “I’d always wanted to sing and that is exactly what I have been doing for all these years. Ever since I was a little child, I have been singing and both my parents have encouraged me tremendously,” she says.
In her family, Thanae is the one who has followed her father’s ambitions into music, her other siblings are doctors or do things completely different to what she is currently pursuing. “Although all my siblings were taught music, it’s only me who has actually followed it through until now. Other siblings of mine are into totally different fields,” she says.
In fact, Thanae has taken her passion for music to a whole new level with her band Pulse and Soul, which performs at different hotels and events throughout the country with Thanae as the lead singer. “I can sing well, but I can also play the violin badly,” she laughs.
She also holds free open mic sessions for aspiring singers and musicians at Tunes regularly. “I am very passionate about encouraging young and aspiring singers, for them to be able to sing confidently with some support from us. I do it for free and I’m always looking for support from people to help us out with these sessions because they are really important,” says Thanae.
Musical passions aside, Thanae also enjoys keeping fit. “I lost 22kg and my father also lost a lot of weight. Ever since then we have been into diet and nutrition because we want to encourage healthy eating in the country.” This led them to open Eurodiet Gulf, a health and wellness centre based in Qurum.
Because of all these commitments, Thanae is often unable to find time for herself, but is satisfied when she sees that her work is making a difference to people’s lives.
As a result of a busy schedule, marriage isn’t a real priority for Thanae just yet, but she does confess a soft spot for children. “I love children and they are amazing to have. I would want to have them at some point in life, but at the moment I am not really sure when.”
With an Omani mother and a Greek father, Thanae speaks a little bit of her mother’s language and understands Greek, but is fluent in English thanks to her studies at the Sri Lankan School Muscat and a childhood during which friends and family would often speak English around her.
She is also keen to create a different image of women in the country along with the help of other young Omani females. Thanae is an advocate of trying her hand at things that are slightly unusual for women in society and being outgoing.
In Thanae’s opinion, music is very important to all of us and believes it is something that needs promoting. “I think music is something that teaches all of us a lot and there are a lot of young children who are trying their best to excel at it. We are trying to push them with our schools and the open mic sessions we do. Hopefully, one day everyone will have a much better understanding of music.”