Home Music intervention Songs of my tribe: From Eskenazi to Elly Kokkinou

Songs of my tribe: From Eskenazi to Elly Kokkinou


Last year before the start of the pandemic, I was apprehended by an older acquaintance singing to my children the lyrics to Roza Eskenazi’s immortal song: Πρέζαόταν πιεις. “Σαν,…. (Once you’re high you immediately become….), I grated, scratching my baglama, my offspring dancing all around me.

“Stop! What are you doing?” She screamed. “It’s terrible. Think what you teach them! But it stems from your stupid obsession with rebetika. Seriously. The songs of the slums and the drug dealers. And I’ll tell you what. This is from a place of arrogance Modern Greek music is too low for you, but it’s downright unhealthy What’s wrong with Elli Kokkinou, for example?

My interlocutor, who until the age of 40, made fun of everything Greek, discovered Elli Kokkinou during her first trip to Mykonos after her divorce. She became a fervent convert to the cult of all Greek popular music and returned to Australia tanned by several degrees of Karoten, insisting that Thanos Petrelis and Elli Kokkinou were the motherland’s answer to Brangelina.

“Kokkinou, while not without aesthetic merit, is a problem for me,” I thought.

– Here we go, sniffed my interlocutor derisively. “Why? Not intellectual enough for you?

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The fact that my taste for music is considered intellectual hurts me deeply, given that my favorite song is “Σ’αγαπάω κοίτα” by Zafiris Melas, in its original incarnation: “Nerelere gidem”, as sung by Ibrahim Tatlises, and I stood up to defend myself. :

“That’s not it. It’s that I find the ritualization of harassment in modern Greek popular music and the tacit acceptance of psychotic behavior deeply disturbing.


“Well, take your Kokkinou idol’s song” Δεν Γίνεται “for example and analyze the lyrics: και εγώ εκεί λέω.”

Consider it now in English translation: “It is not possible, It is not possible, for me to let you go so easily. / I will become your shadow and I will stalk you. / In every place and every moment I will be there, I tell you. “

While I’m sure there are individuals of all genders who would love nothing more than to have a crazy Elli Kokkinou following their every move, due to my innate paranoia, I’m not among them. them. Section 21A (1) of the Crimes Act 1958 is quite succinct on this point, providing: “A person must not stalk another person. Although the person is not defined in said section, and a legal argument could be made as to whether Parliament intended to include in the definition of the term “person”, various seedy Greek singers, the prohibition remains. “

“Oh, give me a break,” my interlocutor huffed disdainfully, ringing the komboloi she had bought from a periptero on Ios and has been wearing as a bracelet ever since. “One song and you took it out of context. It’s a song about loyalty and love. It’s a generational thing and you are a man. You wouldn’t understand.

“So let’s look at some male equivalents,” I suggested. “How about the classic by Vasilis Karras:” Δεν παώ πουθενά “. The Cretaceous crooner begins his song, asking that he not be expelled, presumably, from his dwelling place at an unholy hour: “μου ζητάς να / μες στα μεσάνυχτα”. Having failed to dissuade his partner from the course of action he has chosen, he categorically refuses to leave, or to accept that the relationship is over: “Δεν πάω πουθενά, πουθενά, πουθενά / εδώ θα μείνω / δεν πάω πουθενά / η αγάπη μου είσαι / και δε ‘αφήνω. ” In this state, it can be considered conduct which is intended to cause physical or mental harm to the victim, including self-harm, or to arouse apprehension or fear in the victim for his or her own safety, in accordance with section 21A (3) of the Act. At the very least, there are credible grounds here for granting an intervention order. And I understand that the apartment from which the hero of the song is thrown belonged to his mother-in-law and there is a dispute as to whether it was a gift or a licensed occupation. .

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“OK, two songs, get over it. What about all the other songs about love and desire. Have you never longed for the unattainable? My interlocutor anxiously observed his graying roots exposed through the camera function of his smartphone.

“Of course I have.” I said. “Every Greco-Australian man does it from the moment his father turns to him and asks with despair:” Πότε θα γίνεις άνθρωπος βρε ρεμάλι; ” But harassment seems entrenched in Greek discourse. Take for example the high deity of the Hellenic pentagrammic pantheon, Lefteris Pantazis. Faithful to his tribe, he is also one of those gentlemen who do not accept a no for an answer. “Κι εξακολουθώ να σ ‘ακολουθώ / Κι ας το ξέρω πως θα χαθώ”, he freely admits. Not only does he admit to ongoing criminal harassment, but it leads to his general, understandable disorientation, since this song was composed before the invention of Google Maps. And to somehow justify his disturbing behavior, he only repeats that he will continue to follow the poor woman he is obsessed with, simply because he desires her: “Κι εξακολουθώ να σ ‘ακολουθώ / Γιατί σε και σ ‘αγαπώ’.

“He loves her damn it!” Man, I wish someone would fight for me like this! Do not give up at the slightest difficulty! my interlocutor denounced with insistence. With so much emphasis in fact that my children who until then attacked the baglama with a harmonica and used it as a percussion instrument, stopped their rhythmic accompaniment.

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“Sometimes what we want is just not good for us,” I said soothingly, placing my hand on his arm. “Consider the sensual Antypas serenade. At least he has enough insight to recognize that the course of action he has chosen puts the public at risk and could result in a traffic accident: “Οδηγώ και σε σκέφτομαι / κι είν ‘αυτό επικίνδυνο,” (“I drive and think of you / and it’s dangerous”). Unlike the other members of the guild, Antypas has the ability to autopsychanize his cognitive behavior and his emotions and to self-diagnose as a person who is indeed very ill, suffering from paranoia and possibly psychosis: “Αρρωσταίνω, πού πας όταν άλλον κοιτάς; / Όταν δε μιλάς αρρωσταίνω ‘. (“I make myself sick wondering where you go / when you look at someone else / when you don’t talk to me i get sick). Here presented in perfect candor, is the monologue of a sociopath, seeking to impose guilt on the object of his ardor, for his rejection of him. Certainly not the most chivalrous behavior.

“You don’t understand,” my interlocutor sighed, rummaged in his bag and retrieved a box of Karelia Lights. Opening the lid of the package, she pulled out an ultra-elongated, thin cigarette and rolled it in her hands without lighting it. Like all those who come from my ancestral village, I knew the story of Spiro of Santorini and how he had offered him the packet of cigarettes, saying: “Θα είμαι σαν αυτό το τσιγάρο, το μόνο πράγμα ια σένα”, before to flee in the morning, the telephone number he gave her having been disconnected, but the customs of the village prescribe the feint of ignorance. “Love is hell. And the Greeks understand it and so they sing it.
“Yes, they do,” I agreed. “Since holy antiquity. And combined with the harassment. Analyze these words, if you will, of the divine diva herself, Viki Moscholiou: “στην πόρτα σου / Εδώ είναι ο παράδεισος κι η κόλαση εδώ”. If I spent the whole night in front of your door chanting, “Here is Paradise and Hell is here,” sotto voce, you would call the cops in a state of nervous abstraction.

“I think that’s kinda cute.”

“If he was the man of your dreams, maybe.” But what if it was someone you absolutely hate, like that guy my aunt Chrysantho tried to “get” you with in the 90s? Would he not then be dialing urgently the number of the station of your local gendarmerie? “

“Bouk! Spat my interlocutor. “What did you remind me of now.” These teeth. And those hideous tassel tappers… ”

“Well, apparently he’s a well-to-do chiropractor with several investment properties in St Albans, as my aunt never tires of telling me,” I informed him. “Speaking of which, consider this gem by George Simidis, in which unregulated practitioners abuse the practitioner-client relationship, while providing unregulated services:” Το κορμί σου το φιδίσιο φιδίσιο, φέρτο να στο κάνω ίσιο. σ ‘, σου φτιάξω και την μέση ”. Now imagine Chrysantho, the one in the investment property portfolio, creeping up to you and lisping, “Let me straighten your serpentine chest. And if you like it, I’ll take care of your back. Sir Mixalot, he’s not, but the feelings are just as frightening.

My interlocutor gritted his teeth, lovingly replaced the cigarette in the packet, and clenched his teeth nervously. “Bouk, yuck, yuck! “

“This is precisely my point. What happened to the gentlemen of yesteryear? The Vamvakarids of “Τα ματόκλαδα σου λάμπουν” (Your eyebrows are shining), whose lyrics were not used criminally in a Maybelline commercial? At least he was candid enough to properly inform his lover that he intended to enter his property at 3 a.m., possibly the very first loot call in world music, reporting:

“Χαράματα, ώρα τρεις, θά’ρθω να σε ξυπνήσω”.

“Αυτοί ήταν άντρες! »Exclaimed my interlocutor.

“Yet in the interest of full disclosure, it was around the days of the Rembetes that the rot really started to set in. Take Panos Tountas’

“Μου γλυκειά”. Persephone may be a sweetheart, Panos can spend his day following her begging her not to reject him via the presentation of convincing arguments, but he ends his attempt at seduction with the following ominous warning: “Περσεφόνη στο δηλώνω / πως αρχίζω να θυμώνω / στ ‘δε με αγαπάς / Τζελέπη μην / μη μου πάρεις σου / κοίτα για καλό δικό σου. ” Personal security response app here we are.

“So what’s your point?” Are all Greek singers sick?

“The time has come to cancel Greek music,” I announced. “His words must be purged of threats of violence and assault against women. Take the great hymn of the scholar Yiannis Miliokas to the woman: “Γιατί είσαι άγαρμπη, είσαι αναίσθητη είσαι κρυόκωλη και ανοργσικια”. Certainly not what you would have liked us to dedicate to you on Richard Mercer’s Love Song Dedications.

“So what are they going to sing?” »Asked my interlocutor, sincerely amazed.

Picking up the baglama, I began to grate: “το βράδυ ως το πρωί / Με πρέζα είμαι στη ζωή / κι όλον τον κόσμο κατακτώ / την άσπρνονο