Archive for May, 2016

Stavros Kougioumtzis on Love and Society

May 20, 2016



The first part of Kougioumtzis story is at

We continue Stavros Kougioumtzis’ story and we are at the mid 1970s. The six songs in this chapter are from two albums by Kougioumtzis-Dalaras, the “Small cities” (Μικρές πολιτείες) of 1974, and “In the high windows” (Στα ψηλά τα παραθύρια) of 1975, which was the 5th and the last album they made together in the 1970s. 11 years would pass until their next cooperation.

The birds of the Underworld (Του κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά-1974)


It is a song full of pain for the homeland. The lyrics were written by the poet Manos Elefteriou (born 1938) with whom Kougioumtzis began in 1974 a fruitful cooperation for 19 diamond songs .The lyrics are full of allegories; one can sense fear, agony, lost of hope and disappointment.  These feelings are for the beloved Greece- the “sleepless bride” who is “wearing the Cyclades as earrings”, that had lost 13 centuries of its past, and for its ordinary people who are struggling for everyday life without any hope to overcome obstacles in an environment of social and political decay.

 Giorgos Dalaras sings here with Eleni Vitali and Glykeria (press cc for English subtitles)



Three love songs and Anna Vissi


Two songs of the first album are Performed by the 17 years old Anna Vissi (Άννα Βίσση). She was born near Larnaka, Cyprus; already at her teens she gained popularity in her homeland and as she was 16, in 1973, all the family moved to Athens. In 1974 she was a fast-runner. She signed with Minos and from tourist souvenir records and second voices for others she moved quickly to Theodorakis, with Dalaras in the album “Eighteen Little Songs of the Bitter Homeland” (Δεκαοχτώ λιανοτράγουδα της πικρής πατρίδας) and in Kougioumtzis’ album. Anna and Giorgos were appearing in the Plaka and they were a couple. People were speaking about wedding but her relationship with the 25 years old singer ended. “I do not think Dalaras knew me as a person” she said few years ago but stressed: “I have the best memories of my relationship with Giorgos”.  Those time she begun working with the composer Nikos Karvelas (Νίκος Καρβέλας), who became later her husband. With him she turned into pop and the big show, becoming well- known internationally and giving up the popular art songs (Laika) which she had been singing beautifully and many would say that they are her best.

Here are two original recordings of two songs. (No translation; maybe blocked in Germany. In the appendix there are other versions for the songs, with translations)

“Thirsty at your door” (Δίψασα στην πόρτα σου)

Lyrics: Manos Elefteriou



“I love you” (Σ΄ αγαπώ)

Lyrics: Akos Daskalopoulos


In the 1975 album “In the high windows” she sings with Dalaras “In the years of patience” (Στα χρόνια της υπομονής).

The song was created from three different songs that Kougioumtzis selected from a notebook of Manos Elefteriou. Kougioumtzis wrote: “Manos asked me puzzled: “From these parts what would you do?” “I’ll do a song.” “Are you crazy? These verses have nothing to do with each other. They are three different things!. If you get one from here, another from there we will get a sound thrashing!” “Do not fear,” I said smiling, “there is no such danger.” Indeed, not only we did not get thrashing, but we made a great and lasting success with the then in her teens Anna Vissi”.

In the video here the composer’s daughter sings to her father, short time before his death.



On society with cynicism and sarcasm

“It was five it was six” (Ήταν πέντε ήταν έξι) and “Everything is perfect” (Όλα καλά) are social/political songs that Kougioumtzis wrote also the lyrics. Many times Dalaras sings them one after the other in his concerts.

In “It was five o’clock” the speaker is weeping about his own destiny, but as time passes he focuses on the insignificant and the artificial modern world, being indifferent to the suffering of other people which, cynically, is a lever for some people to get good money.


“Everything is fine, everything is perfect” is said in sarcasm.  In the first verse it is, again, personal distress and in the second, again the speaker turns into social complacency. The lines in the third verse, “And a flag on a balcony/changes colors and kills me” seem to be political. It can be the Cyprus tragedy which happened in 1974 or political change of power or even hint about immigration.


The third part of Kougioumtzis’ story is at


Here are other versions for two Anna Vissi’s songs with English subtitles and, hopefully, available in Germany.

“Thirsty at your door” (Δίψασα στην πόρτα σου)-Aspasia Stratigou


A beautiful version of “I love you” (Σ΄ αγαπώ) by Dimtris Psarianos



Many thanks to Katerina Siapanda!




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