Thursday, 15 January 2009

Politiki Kouzina with subtitles; and Giorgos Mitsakis

I initially posted about Tassos Boulmetis' 2003 film Politiki Kouzina (A Touch of Spice) here, and someone has asked if I could make available the 'Worst Five Seconds Of My Life' clip with English subtitles, which I’m now doing. As I said previously, in the scene Savvas relives the worst five seconds of his life when the Turkish police told him he and his family were to be deported from Constantinople and that he could avoid this fate if he were to become a Muslim. So in love with the City is Savvas, so distraught at the prospect of leaving it, that for five seconds, Savvas says, he thought about the Turk's offer.

Speaking of Constantinople, I've now got an excuse to make available some more Giorgos Mitsakis songs in Radio Akritas. Mitsakis was born in Constantinople in 1921, son of a fisherman, and spent the first 14 years of his life in the City before leaving for Greece, first for Kavala, then for Volos. A few years later, Mitsakis, having improved his Greek and lost his accent, got involved in Rembetika, becoming friends in particular with Tsitsanis and Apostolos Hadjichristos, who helped him master the bouzouki. In the immediate post-war period, Mitsakis composed some classic Rembetika songs, even though in later life he said he didn't like ‘heavy’ Rembetika and was fonder of the love songs he wrote – such as Paploma and Ta Dahtilidia, both of which are available in Radio Akritas performed by Glykeria under Previous Uploads, Female Singers.

Read more about Mitsakis here in Greek.

Anyway, the four Mitsakis songs I've uploaded are all more or less in the 'heavy Rembetika' style:
1. Που'σαι καημενε Περικλη;
2. Ο ψαρας;
3. Το καπηλειο; and
4. Αποψε ειναι βαρια.

The video below is the Rembetika Kompania's version of Αποψε ειναι βαρια, with Dimitris Kontogiannis singing.

The translation of Το καπηλειο, from Gail Holst’s book Road to Rembetika, is as follows:

The Little Wine-Shop
The night is chilly and drizzling
And on the opposite corner, the wine-shop is lit up.

And outside the little taverna, a drunk without a bean
Is sitting thoughtfully in the low doorway.

He'd like to go in too and drink
But the wine-shop is poor and they give no credit.

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