A Singer of the Great Masters (B)

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This is the second part of the story about the singer Manolis Mitsias. The first part is at


“Most of collaborations become through my personal relationships, through relationships with people I cultivated. From the beginning I knew what I wanted … You know, I chased things out of ideological basis too. I am interested in authors who are always democratic. With one who was somewhat contrary to my political views I didn’t seek to cooperate.”


Mikis Theodorakis


With Mikis Theodorakis Mitsias began to collaborate in 1974, after three years in which he had made “one album after the other”.

Manolis has been sharing Theodorakis’ leftist views and was revealed to his music in the 60s, when he was participating as a teenager in political marches at Thessaloniki. That year,1974,  he was taking part in performing Theodorakis’ songs in Zoon club, and released a second version of the Marvelous songs’ cycle “Popular songs” (Τα Λαϊκά).From then Mitsias became one of Theodorakis’ favorite singers; songs and albums would be released in the decades to come (till 2009).

The “Song of exile” or,” Moon you put spell on me”(Της ξενιτιάς – Φεγγάρι μάγια μου ‘κανες, lyrics: Errikos Thalassinos) was released in 1962 sung by Grigoris Bithikotsis.

“A person, away from home, feeling lonely in a foreign land, asks Heavens to send a bird back home. The bird, symbol of freedom is his way of preserving contact with the loved ones, of keeping in touch with everyone and everything he’s left behind…”.  In my opinion this is one of the greatest zebekiko ever written.(English caps in all videos)




Akis Panou

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In the mid 1970s Mitsias made few more albums with leading authors like Hristos Leontis, Linos Kokotos and Lefteris Papdopoulos

In 1977 he made the album “Present” (tense-Παρών), with songs written by Akis Panou. The hit of the album “The madman”(Ο τρελός) was released in 45 rpm and sold 100,000 copies at a time when the 45 was vanishing as a music product.




Thanos Mikroutsikos, Alkis Alkaios and “Love song” (Ερωτικό)



In 1982 Manolis Mitsias recorded “Love song” as a guest in the album “Embargo” (Εμπάργκο) of the poet Alkis Alkaios and the composer Thanos Mikroutsikos. Manolis had found this song especially important.

This is a love song with strong images. But love for whom? People find many answers and maybe this is the beauty of the poem, that everyone finds different things. One views Antigone as the center of the poem, maybe a love to a real woman named Antigone, maybe about the mythological character who defied the unjust laws of her time regarding the burial of her dead brother, and maybe a combination of the erotic feelings and the admiration to the woman-revolutionist as in Alkaios’ “Rosa”*

Another view which I find more convincing is that it is a strong, painful love song for Greece and the Greek people. One can see in the text hints and metaphors to events in the history of Greece after WWII: Civil War, persecutions of the leftists, immigration, sticking to Western culture, foreign intervention…

And our friend Kat feels that this song refers to the average Greek, who is dazzled by everything the western culture has to offer (in the 1st verse), and day by day loses contact with the traditional, ancient values of his country;”a never-ending quest for answers, for freedom, for the pure and innocent feelings of the past.”(in the 3rd verse)

With a canoe you leave and you wander

at the time that the rain roughens

You are sailing to the land of the Visigoths

and you are fascinated by Hanging Gardens

but slowly saw your wings

Salty water has covered your naked body

I brought you from Delphi fresh water

You said that your life will be split in two

 and before I had the time to deny you

the key to paradise got all rusty


The caravan is galloping through the dust

and is chasing your crazy shadow

How to calm the mind with sheets

How come the Mediterranean to be tied with ropes

Love, that we use to call you Antigone

Which dreamy song has taken from you your shine

and in which galaxy to find you

Here is Atiiki a gray quarry

And Ι am nothing but a cheap shooting range

where foreign soliders practice by while cursing






 Kraounakis, Lina Nikolakopoulou, “Never” (ποτέ-1984)


This song is from Manolis’ only album which got gold. The album is “Undivided” (Εξ αδιαιρέτου), in which took part the (then) young writers Stamatis Kraounakis (music) and Lina Nikolakopoulou (Lyrics). Some people urged Mitsias not to sing it because they thought some lines are too much erotic, but Manolis insisted and it became a success.


These two posts are about Manolis Mitsias’ work till 1984. Needless to say that Mitsias has been still active from then in recordings with top authors and concerts.We hope to tell about it in the future.

*About “Rosa” of Alkaios/Mikroutsikos see the post at









I would like to thank Anastasia Thanela and Katerina Siapanda who helped me a lot in these two posts on Mitsias


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