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The Light, the Heavy and In Between

November 4, 2022

In the late 1940s and 1950s, there was a rapprochement between the two main genres in Greek music. The rebetika  and the laika of the common people and the light, western music of the established classes. On the one hand, the bouzouki music of the simple people, through creators such as Tsitsanis, Hiotis Mitsakis and others adopted elements of Western music, scales, rhythms and more softness. And on the other hand, rebetika rhythms such as the hasapiko and the zebekiko were integrated into the light music. As a result, the bouzouki music aroused curiosity and interest among all social strata, including the established ones who had not yet abandoned their western music.

The one who lived and created in these two musical worlds is the lyricist Kostas Manesis (Κώστας Μάνεσης 1917-2002). He began his career in the late 1930s when he wrote lyrics for light music, but the main part of his work was after the German Occupation and until the early 1960s. In these years, he wrote lyrics for light music, in the rhythms of tango, waltz, etc., as well as for Rebetika and Laika. With the changes in music fashion in the 60’s his presence as a lyricist ended, but not in Greek music. He was an editor and publisher of periodicals about music, in which he wrote biographies and important articles.

In Rebetika, especially fruitful was his collaboration with Yannis Papaioanou, which yielded beautiful and important songs, the most prominent among them being, in my opinion, “Five Greeks in Hades” (Πέντε Έλληνες στον Άδη) about five Greeks who arrive in the afterlife and do  a party there as only Greeks know how to do.. .

I  have made a playlist of 22 of his most beautiful songs ( in my opinion) from all genres. I put next to each other the bourgeois light and the popular heavy and what are in between… two styles that came together in the head of Kostas Manesis…

The list of songs:

1. Αλλα μου λεν τα μαται σου-Your eyes tell me something different-(music: Theodoros Derveniotis)-Poly Panou

2. Μίλα μας και μη μας αγαπάς-Speak to us even if you don’t love us (music: Spiros Koronis and Markos Philandros)-Yannis Parios

3. Η Πειραιώτισσα – The girl from Piraeus (music: Y. Papaioano) – Angela Orfanou

4. Ας μην ξημέρωνε ποτέ -May the dawn never rise again (music: A. Hatzichristos) – Haris Alexiou

5. Ένας αλήτης πέθανε -One homeless died- (music: K. Kaplanis)-Yorgos Dalaras

6. Πέρσι τέτοιον καιρό -At this time last year- (music: I. Iannidis)-Stella Greka

7. Εσύ θα μετανιούσεις – You will repent – (music: Y. Papaioano) – Odyssas Moskhonas

8. Η νοσοκόμα-The nurse (music: Y. Papioannou)-Trio Sabi

9. Παραβλεψε λιγάκι – Ignore a little (composition: Spiros Koronis and Markos Philandros)-Viky Mosholiou

10. Άσε με, άσε με-Let me, let me-(music: Y. Papaioannou)-Jim Apostolo

11. Ποτέ δε θα ξεχάσω τέτοια μάτια – I will never forget such eyes – (music: Lycorgos Markias) – Margarita Zorballa

12. Για τις γυναίκες ζούμε όλοι  – We all live for the women – (music: Nikos Gounaris) – Nikos Gounaris

13. Τι ωραια που είσαι απόψε   -How beautiful where you are tonight-(music: Spiros Koronis)-Ioannis Philandros

14. Σ΄ άλλους δρόμους θα βαδίσω  – In other ways I will go (music: V. Tsitsanis) – Yota Lydia

15. Γιατί άλλαξες γιατί– Why did you change, why?(music: Stelios Kermitis)-Eleftheria Arvanitaki

16. Η γυναίκα που ψηφίζει   – The woman who votes (music: Apostolos Kaldaras) – Rebtien band

17. Ήταν γραμμένο, στη ζωή, να σε γνωρίσω–It was written, in life, to meet you-(music: Mimis Katrivanos)-Arleta

18. Να μπορούσα να γίνω  – I wish I could be – (music: Potis Polimeris) – Third Los Tres Amicus

19. Πέντε Έλληνες στον Άδη-Five Greeks in the afterlife (music: Yannis Papaioannou)-Glykeria

20. Πώς θα περάσει η βραδιά -How will the night pass – (music: Yannis Papaioannou) – Yiorgos Tzortzis

21. Μάτια, γαλάζια ακρογιαλια – eyes, blue beaches – (music: Alekos Georgiadis) – Krystal

22. Τι σου `κανα και μ΄ εγκατέλειψες-What did I do to you that you left me-(music: Giorgos Zebatas)-Christos Menidiatis, Sofia Papazoglou and Agni Kalomno

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