"Sto Perigiali" One of the Surpassingly Best Tunes Theodorakis Has Written

A Setting for a Poem "Denial" Beloved by the Greek People by the Nobel Prize Winning Poet Giorgos Seferis

The remarkable video at the link above is of a performance of "Sto perigiali" Mario Frangoulis and Mikis Theodorakis in 2001.

Frangoulis and Theodorakis are joined by musicians, including two bouzouki players, and a very large audience that is completely familiar with the words. The audience joins in at Frangoulis' prompt.

This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.

Later, when Irene joined our group to form a travelling company performing "New Rain", I learned to pick out a few notes on the bouzouki.

The English translation of the poem to which "Sto perigiali" is set reads as follows:


On the secret seashore
white like a pigeon
we thirsted at noon;
but the water was brackish.

On the golden sand
we wrote her name;
but the sea-breeze blew
and the writing vanished.

With what spirit, what heart,
what desire and passion
we lived our life: a mistake!
So we changed our life...

- Giorgos Seferis

Thanks to the music of Mikis Theodorakis, "Sto perigiali" has become one of the best-known and beloved poem-lyrics in Greece. Giorgos Seferis was a Nobel laureate and one of Greece's best loved poets.

"Sto perigiali" performed by Mario Frangoulis and Mikis Theodorakis One of the surpassingly best tunes Theodorakis has written -- a setting for a poem beloved by the Greek people by the Nobel prize winning poet Giorgos Seferis.

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