To love life and not to fear death

“Zorbas had taught me to love life and not to fear death”, wrote Nikos Kazantzakis in the prologue to his famous novel on the life of his friend Alexis Zorbas.

“….And suddenly when he was losing his voice and words wouldn’t contain him any more, he was rising up jumping on the rough pebbles on the edge of the water and start to dance”

These words somehow had come to me when I was watching a video of the last appearance of the singer Grigoris Bitikotsis.

Gregoris Bitikotsis was one of Greece’s great singers and in the year 2002 as he was in his 80th year, there was a big concert of honor to him in the Stadium of Peace and Friendship in Piraeus.

Bitikotsis was than many years after his last public appearance on stage, not in a very good health. At the end of the concert the participants call him to the stage:  “Ella Grigori!..come on Grigoris!”

Being supported he goes up the stage. He begins to sing the following words about the death of the mangas of  Votanikos neighborhood in Athens and all his weakness vanishes… (A mangas was a special man figure in the culture of Greek folk before the war):

The mangas of Votanikos died on Sunday

and the girls and all the friends of his heart cried for him

 

The mangas of Votanikos, the best guy

In the bouzoukias, in the taverns nobody will see him anymore.

 

Always he made beautiful celebrations and never was bad

And all loved him in Votanikos

 

 

The Mangas of Votanikos, the best guy

In the bouzoukias, in the taverns nobody will see him anymore.

 

The mangas of Votanikos had a great life

He will be missing now from the feasts and form the mangases.

 

The mangas of Votanikos, the best guy

In the bouzoukias, in the taverns nobody will see him anymore.

And when words are finished Grigoris begins to dance….his last Zebekiko, his last appearance on stage…..and as you see this  great old man singing and dancing you feel that maybe  Death is less frightening…

Tou Votanikou o mangas-The mangas of Votanikos

Words: Lakis Tswlis

Music: Grigoris Bitikotsis

2 Responses to “To love life and not to fear death”

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