Stavros Kougioumtzis,The Free and the Beautiful


This is the last chapter on Stavros Kougioumtzis.

Part A is at

Part B is at

It must have been the 12th of March (Θα `ταν 12 του Μάρτη-1976)

We are still in the 1970s. “Ordinary Sundays”(Λαϊκές Κυριακές) is the only album that Kougioumtzis had made with Haris Alexiou. Few creative motives were gathered in this album. Kougioumtzis the composer, poets free of censure after the fall of the dictatorship and Haris Alexiou who was “trying desperately to build artistic repertoire with social ballads, although she was already glorified in Smyrna and folk music”, and in this song there was the poet Mihalis Bourboulis (Μιχάλης Μπουρμπούλης) who was making his first steps in song writing with Kougioumtzis as a coach.

The song describes a farewell scene in a railway station  between a girl and her soldier; he never comes back and dies. The date of the farewell, 12 of March, was chosen according to Bourboulis mainly because of music and word’s rhythm. As fate would have it, Kougioumtzis himself suddenly passed away on the same day, 12 of March 2005, 73 years of age. This version is by his daughter Maria Kougioumtzi. (Source:, see original video by Haris Alexiou in the appendix. English caps in all videos)

Fools and angels (Τρελοί και άγγελοι -1986)

From the end of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1980s Kougioumtzis reduces his participation in albums, still creating beautiful songs for Vikiy Moscholiou, Antonis Kalogiannis, Dimtris Mitropanos and his wife Emilia.

So when Dalaras suggested renewing their cooperation after 11 years, he found Kougioumtzis quite skeptical. “I did not know what else I could write after so many successes that we had together.” However his creative powers sprang again, songs began to come one after the other and the album became almost immediately gold. We will have three songsof the album.

The lyrics of title song were written also by Kougioumtzis as a monologue of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) to a fellow Greek poet .Dylan Thomas was self-destructive, deeply and awkwardly romantic and always carried a sense of unfulfillment in his work. He tries to save the fellow-poet from this and the destruction that he himself has experienced, or even provoked. The song ends metaphysically, like in Thomas’ poetry: he is going straight to the moon…

The red dress (Το κόκκινο φουστάνι), sung by Eleftheria Arvanitaki (Ελευθερία Αρβανιτάκη) just at the time when her career began to soar, to become one of Greece’s important singers. Stavros Kougioumtzis was quite conservative in his style. But here, I feel, he glances a little to the more modern…even if the original version is more “innocent” than in this video.(Lyrics: Kostas Kindinis)

The last song of our story on Kougioumtzis is this rhythmic song with lyrics of Manos Eleftheriou- The free and the beautiful (Οι ελεύθεροι κι ωραίοι ) which we can say on our hero-Stavros Kougioumtzis.

After that album followed a silence of 11 years; he returned to Thessaloniki in 1988. Emilia said about this silent: “He was not the brutal professional who will continue to write just for writing. But when he felt he had to give something important, he wrote in ’97 the song cycle “Hymns of angels in human rhythms”( Ύμνοι αγγέλων σε ρυθμούς ανθρώπων)”. These are songs of the Byzantine tradition that were performed in the concert hall and an album by Giorgos Dalaras and Emilia. The last album he had written was in 2001, four years before his death, “The world rained”( Έβρεχε ο κόσμος) which was sung by his daughter Maria and Giorgos Christodoulou.


 “As a citizen as I am, for years now, I feel a concern for what is coming and for what will come.  For years we bet with a hollow optimism and house of cards visions […]. We walk into a blind street, without reference marks, no traffic signs. In our quest for a better life, we have forgotten what life is. “


Haris Alexiou in “It mast have been 21 of March”(Θα `ταν 12 του Μάρτη)


I would like to give warm thanks to my friend from Thessaloniki Katerina Siapanda for opening my eyes about the lyrics and giving explanations which were the base for these three chapters about Stavros Kougioumtzis. Thanks Kat!

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