Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Psarantonis and the end of mythologised Greek singers
Last month, concert-goers in Athens threw yogurt and water over singer Giorgos Dalaras half way through a performance. They also shouted abuse at him, called him a traitor, a Pasok lackey and apologist, and branded him a prime representative of the system that has dragged Greece down to where it is at the moment.
Now, the Greek yogurt and water throwing people are, of course, Syriza hooligans, who have been responsible for all sorts of violence and vandalism for decades and have significantly contributed to and exacerbated Greece’s decline. But I'm not interested in Syriza, even if their yogurt and water throwers may have a point about Dalaras, not so much that he is a Pasok lackey – he may well be (I, for one, however, greatly admired Dalaras’ efforts in the 1980s and 1990s to boost the morale of Greeks in Cyprus with some wonderful concerts and records) – but he was undoubtedly at the forefront of the tawdry cultural phenomenon in Greece in which singers were unnecessarily revered or ‘mythologised’.
In fact, this notion of ‘mythologised’ singers is not mine, but something I heard Photini Darra – a very talented singer of a new generation – refer to on NET news the other evening. Darra was saying that she hoped the era of the ‘mythologised’ singer in Greece was over. Anyway, this is just a preamble, which I wasn’t expecting to make, because what this post really wanted to draw attention to was a remarkable version of the demotic song Σαράντα παλικάρια, sung by Psarantonis, I came across recently; and what I wanted to point out is that Psarantonis is the antithesis of Dalaras (at his worst) and the mythologised Greek singers and no one would ever throw yogurt or water over him.
(Above is Psarantonis singing Σαράντα παλικάρια live, while below is an mp3 version with better sound).
Σαράντα παλικάρια, από την Λειβαδιά
Καλά και αρματωμένα, να πάνε στην κλεψιά
Στο δρόμο που πήγαιναν, γέροντα απαντούν
Ώρα καλή σου γέρο, καλώ στα τα παιδιά
Που πατέ παλικάρια, που πατέ ορέ παιδιά
Θα ΄ρθεις καημένε γέρο, να πάμε στην κλεψιά
Δεν ημπορώ παιδιά μου, γιατί είχω γεραθειά