Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy 85th Birthday, Miki! Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλά, Μίκη Μας! Να μας Ζήσεις!

Tonight, 29th July 2010, our legendary composer, and one of our greatest Global Greeks, Mikis Theodorakis celebrates his 85th birthday among friends, at a concert at Athens' Lykavettos Theatre with the whole of Athens literally and figuratively at his feet!

Among the many friends who will be taking part in the birthday tribute to our beloved Miki, are artists he has worked with over his many years of music... Turkish composer Zulfu Livaneli, Greek composers Loukianos Kilaidonis, Lavrentis Mahairitsas, and Dionysis Savvopoulos; singers Maria Farandouri, Petros Pandis, Glykeria, Petros Gaitanos, Nena Venetsanou, Dimitris Bassis, Antonis Kalogiannis, Vassilis Lekkas and Alexandros Hadjis; actors Bessy Malfa, Yiannis Bezos, Katerina Papoutsaki, Santouri player Areti Ketime and songwriter Manolis Rassoulis....

It seems like yesterday that Miki turned 70 and the magnificent concert held in his honour at the Athens Kallimarmaro Stadium. That stadium was filled to it's 80,000 capacity 15 years ago, in 1995, and the performers who paid tribute to Miki then were so many that the concert lasted several hours even though each singer sang one song...but where do you start with Miki's vast repertoire?

Tonight's birthday tribute will be much more intimate, only about 3500 people fit into the Lykavettos Theatre, but the atmosphere will be fantastic, one of celebration and rejoicing, for Greece's Mikis Theodorakis, The Man, the Genius, the Legend
as Greek Australian producer, Eleni Evangel calls him in her documentary (More about Eleni and her work in another post...)

What can we say about Miki? There is so much to say about him that we don't know where to, tonight we will simply wish him Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλά, and thank him for the wonderful gift of music that he has shared with us all so generously. Magnificent music that has so enriched our lives, wherever we may be in the world! 

We have watched him in action conducting concerts at Athens' Herodeion, or fronting for causes dear to his heart, such as Palestine or speaking for the people of Kurdistan and Ocalan  and we have listened to him speak many times.  

His presence is magnetizing and awe-inspiring. In fact, just shaking the hand of one of Greece's living legends is an honour indeed!

Here are a few of his most well-known pieces...enjoy!



To Gelasto Paidi

Ta Lianotragouda (Yiannis Ritsos)

Axion Estin (Odysseas Elytis) 

The Ballad of Mauthausen (Iakovos Kambanellis)

Z - the film by Costas Gavras


and we will close this tribute with his most well-known and loved masterpiece - one that travelled the Greek soul to all corners of the world... Zorba the Greek!

As Anthony Quinn, the one and only Zorba, said in paying tribute to our wonderful Miki when the two legends met at a concert in Munich, almost 40 years after Zorba the Greek...

Photo Source:

'The music of Zorba is the music of Life, and to live life fully, you must always Love, and I love YOU...'

For us, all of Miki's music is indeed the music of Life and Miki mas, we ALL love you!!!

May God keep you well and strong so that you can continue to share your God-given gift with us and the world for many years to come!

Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλά, Μίκη!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is it True? Is US President Barack Obama Visiting Greece This Summer?

 President Barack Obama and Family
Photo Source:

The Greek Blog-o-sphere is abuzz with the news that US President Barack Obama and his family are holidaying on the sunny Greek island of Antiparos. America's first family is rumoured to be here as guests of actor Tom Hanks and his  Global Greek wife Rita Wilson who own a  summer home on the island...

Apparently, according to one such blog, Sarotiko, security measures have increased dramatically, international paparazzi have arrived on the island and no-one is confirming or denying! 

We don't know if it's true or just wishful thinking, but wouldn't it be great?

Press Reports earlier in the year had suggested that fellow Chicagoan and close friend, illinois Treasurer Alexis Gianoullias had invited the first family to spend some time in his native Crete but nothing seems to have come of that... yet!

If it is true, we welcome President Obama and his family to Greece, we hope they have a great time and we hope that when they return home they will spread the word that Greece is the best and safest place on earth for a summer vacation!!!

If it is true, let's hope the world leaves them in peace, to enjoy every moment of the hospitality and the beauty of this unique country!

Friday, July 23, 2010

OPA!!!! From Melina to Miss Piggy - Everybody's Singing Manos Hadjidakis' Never on Sunday

 The Muppets singing Never on Sunday - Bouzouki and all!

Dedicated to all those our friends who love Greek music and who are fans of Manos Hadjidakis' world famous Never on Sunday or Ta Paidia tou Piraia!...

A musical end to a difficult week to wish you all a wonderful weekend! Thanks Stathis M - NZ for the link on  Facebook  which inspired this post!

The video clips that follow are great versions of Never on Sunday, either in Greek or in English! Note that this song has been recorded in French, in Italian, in Czech, in Serbian, in Spanish, in German, in Dutch in Croatian and even in Cantonese and Mandarin..(for the Chinese version please see link posted by Vera in the comments section ...Thanks Vera!)

The original, of course, was Melina Mercouri's Academy Award winning version in Jules Dassin's film of the same name!

Take your pick! Listen to them all and leave a comment below telling us which one you prefer! 


The Muppets sing Never on Sunday

In the 1960's everybody recorded it....Doris Day, Petula Clark,The Chordettes and Connie Francis...

Nana Mouskouri and the Athenians' version from her BBC Series...

 and of course recently... Sakis Rouvas!

but nothing can beat the original -  sung in Melina Mercouri's inimitable manner...

For all those who were there and for those who watched from afar, the last video clip shows us one of the Athens 2004 Olympic Closing Ceremony's most moving moments... When the familiar sound of the opening chords of the bouzouki flooded the packed Olympic Stadium, the crowd went wild... 

Anna Vissi, Antonis Remos, Alkistis Protopsalti, Mihalis Hatzigiannis, Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Dionysis Savopoulos in a unique rendition of Greece's signature tune... 

incidentally, it was a full moon that night, 29 August 2004, and the August full moon in Greece is absolutely awesome....

Have a great weekend everyone! 


and just to prove how truly international it is, there's also 

Dalida's Spanish Version
Los Ninos del Pireo 

Dalida's French version 
Les Enfants du Piree

Milva's Italian Version 
Uno a te, uno a me

and last but not least
the Chinese version

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ΔΕΝ ΞΕΧΝΩ!! 36 Years Since the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus! WE WILL NOT FORGET!!!

Cyprus Divided: Source - Wikipedia



36 years ago today, a shudder of horror went through the Global Greek Community... Turkish troops invaded the deeply troubled island of Cyprus supposedly in response to an attempted coup by the Greek military Junta which was in power in Athens, except that the coup had been quashed and democracy back in place when the bloody invasion occurred.

All Greek men, including any Greeks from abroad who happened to be in Greece for the summer, were mobilised and prepared to be sent to the front to help the Greek Cypriot people defend the island against the aggressor! A call went out to Greek Communities everywhere in the world to send assistance in any shape or form; many even volunteered to fight in Cyprus.

In the days that followed, confusion reigned supreme, nobody really knew what was happening because of the blackout of the news. When the smoke cleared, the statistics spoke of another black chapter in the history of the Hellenic speaking world. 

Fellow blogger, Greek New Zealander Maria Verivakis, who happened to be in Greece with her family at the time, writes a compelling narrative of those days in her blogs, One Day in Hania and Organically Cooked

'At the tender age of eight, to me, war signified guns, Nazis and starving naked children, all of which bore no resemblance to the war that was unfolding in Greece. People wouldn't come out of their houses, the streets were empty, not a sound to be heard - music had practically become banned overnight (most of it had been censored in any case, under the military junta regime). Everyone had the radio turned on to hear all the news reports. People would walk around their houses, in their yards, with long faces; if they had to go somewhere - cars crossed the roads only occasionally - they would walk hurriedly, as if they feared a bogeyman. Whenever they came across a religious icon, they solemnly made the sign of the cross and whispered a prayer. My sister and I, once regarded as the 'Greek tourist foreigners', the centre of attention, were now noticed...'

Large scale ethnic cleansing of the Greek Cypriots, thousands were murdered, more than 1500 are still considered missing, more than 200 000 Greek Cypriots were displaced to the South, losing their homes and their lands, refugees in their own country; thousands were forced to leave, having lost their menfolk and their means of survival, going abroad to host countries - Greece, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa... On the other side, Turkish Cypriots in the South were forced to the North, but the numbers were far less. In the end, 20% of the population were occupying approx 40% of the island state.

Over the years, the situation has worsened, with the presence of over 40,000 troops on Cyprus, the population in the North having been bolstered by mainland Turkish settlers, not Turkish Cypriots, and many acts of aggression against those who sought to fight against this illegal occupation. An occupation condemned by several UN Resolutions which continue to be flagrantly ignored by progressive Turkish governments and their 'friends'. This situation continues today with Cyprus still under military occupation and divided, with the violation of human rights an everyday occurrence, despite the fact that it is a fully fledged member of the European Union. The only divided country in Europe...

Who can ever forget the murder of Tasos Isaac, an unarmed civilian protesting against the Turkish occupation in August of 1996 and the cold blooded felling of his cousin, the heroic Solomos Solomou, a few days later, on the day of Tasos Isaac's funeral, as he scrambled up the flagpole, daring to do the unthinkable -  to remove the Turkish flag!

This deed of heroism inspired Notis Sfakianakis to write the following ode to Solomos Solomou...

One US Congresswoman, Diane Watson, expressed her view of the Cyprus problem in the Huffington Post last year, taking a stand and saying among other things that

A solution to the Cyprus Problem is in the best interest of the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots, and the greater global community -- a fact that nobody understands better than the Cypriots themselves. The ongoing division of the island destabilizes American security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, and obstructs Turkey's European Union accession efforts. For these reasons I strongly believe the United States should support the current Cypriot-driven efforts to find a solution without interjecting ourselves into the process or imposing artificial deadlines. (For original HuffPost article, click here )

History will decide on the part played by US Secretary of State at the time of the invasions, in July and August of 1974, Henry Kissinger, and of the dubious neutral role of the British in all this, but there are many hopes that the next generation of politicians of both communities on Cyprus, headed by President Demetris Christofias and Mr Dervis Eroglu, like Mr Mehmet Ali Talat before him, will be able to take the country forward, past the divisions of the past and the Greek Cypriot veto of the Annan plan. 

So far there has been little progress of note, but in a meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York, last month the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon encouraged Mr Dervis Eroglu ' to grasp the current political window of opportunity to reach a settlement, ... saying that 'he hoped that the two leaders would make serious advances in the coming months, understanding that this would require compromises on both sides'

Καρτερούμεν... We are waiting...

We have no choice but to wait and see, but one thing is sure, we in the Global Greek World must not forget!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day! Vive La France! Vive la Grece!

Shouting the words Liberté, égalité, fraternité, the people of France 221 years ago today, in 1789, stormed the Bastille, Paris' fortress-prison, a movement which was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern uprising against the arrogance and corruption endemic in the  Monarchy, Aristocracy and the ruling classes of France. 

The French Revolution (1789-1793) along with the American  Revolution which preceeded it (1775-1783), inspired and showed the way for the Greek Revolution in 1821...

Read the words, listen to the music and watch the video of the Marseillaise, France's National Anthem... it may well inspire us, the people who live in and love Greece, to rise against the arrogance of those who are supposed to lead by example, against the cronyism, against the bribery and the corruption which has brought our proud and beautiful Greece to the brink of economic and moral bankruptcy. 

If each and every one of us rebels in our own way, not violently but quietly and effectively in our everyday lives then it is not a lost cause! 

If we can take those three words, Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood  and apply them to our everyday living, then we have every chance of success!

Vive la Revolution!  
La Marseillaise
Allons enfants de la Patrie

Le jour de gloire est arrivé

Contre nous de la tyrannie
 ...L'étendard sanglant est levé,
...L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez vous dans les campagnes

Mugir ces féroces soldats

Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras,

égorger vos fils, vos compagnes

Aux armes citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!

Marchons, marchons,

Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons.'

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Sapounidis is a Real Global Greek! Happy Birthday 'Chairman George' xx


A rock bouzouki-playing Greek Canadian civil servant with a PhD in statistics who is a star in China – you can't get more incongruous than that.  But then again there is nothing ordinary about George Sapounidis and his band Ouzo Power.

George Sapounidis (vocals, guitar, bouzouki) is a two-time Olympic Torch Bearer (Beijing 2008, Athens 2004) and a Montrealer of Pontic Greek descent who has been called a poster boy for Canadian multiculturalism. He is a polyglot who performs fluently in Greek and in other languages. He plays a handmade electrified 8-string Greek bouzouki in dramatic and captivating fashion. On stage he is entertaining and engaging while explaining elements and context of the music.

George originally founded Ouzo Power in 1988 with his partner at the time Gaston Bernard (Matapat), giving a new spin to Greek music, translating the songs of Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley into Greek for audiences at folk and multicultural music festivals across Canada and appearing on CBC radio and television.

In 2005 he was the subject of the award-winning CTV / BBC international television documentary Chairman George, and has been known as Chairman George ever since!

His CD release George from Athens to Beijing was nominated in the Best World Music category at the 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from the University of Toronto.

George Sapounidis (which in Greek means  ‘soap-maker’) is a direct descendent of Greeks living in Asia Minor for generations near the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea in Turkey, and are commonly referred to as Pontian Greeks. In 1922 as a result of the ‘Mikrasiatiki Catastrophe’ these Greeks were forced to leave their homes and became refugees in Greece and other countries of the diaspora. George’s grand-parents settled in Canada, first in Edmonton and then in Montreal.

Summers spent in Greece when he was a teenager laid the foundation for what would become a lifelong personal and musical odyssey. He remembers Greece as “an incredible world”. “It was a fundamental formative place because of the nomadic artistic lifestyle,” he says. “It was a community of expatriate international artists – poets, musicians, writers and painters. I was steeped in this multicultural tea. It laid the ground work for my musical breadth.”

In 2008 George was the only Canadian selected by the Beijing Olympic Committee to run as Olympic relay torch-bearer in Beijing on August 8 the same day as the Summer Games’ Opening Ceremonies.

He was also an Olympic relay torch-bearer when the torch arrived in Montreal in 2004. And he spent the 2004 Athens Olympics in the Olympic Village as a National Olympic Committee Assistant capitalizing on his Greek and Chinese language skills to assist the Chinese team as well as smuggling his bouzouki into the Village to perform for the international residents including athletes, volunteers and media.

During his teens he studied classical guitar with the Spanish virtuoso Jose Luis Rodrigo, and in Athens with Gerasimos Miliaresis who was a student of Andres Segovia. In the 1970’s he toured Greece with Greek multicultural singer Eugenia Siriotis, and in the 1990’s studied bouzouki with Costas Apostolakis in Toronto.

Ouzo Power (Canada) is an experienced ethno-cultural band performing and interpreting classic Greek Rembetika and popular bouzouki repertoire in a rock format. The show features George Sapounidis on lead vocals in Greek combined with the sound of the infectious Greek bouzouki backed by, since 2005, a stellar cast of seasoned musicians including Fred Guignion (electric guitars, lap steel) , Stuart Watkins (electric bass, backing vocals), and Ross Murray, (drums, percussion).

The music is a compelling fusion of George’s traditional roots presentation of powered Greek bouzouki and vocals combined with the gritty but tasteful and creative colorings of Guignion’s electric guitar and lap steel sounds backed by the rock solid bass and drums of Watkins and Murray.

The presented repertoire consists of strong melodies, vocal harmonies and different time signatures allowing dance performance for the Kalamatiano, Zembekiko, Tsifteteli, Syrtaki and Hasaposerviko.

Listen to Ouzo Power's great version of's excellent!

In May 2007 the members of Ouzo Power performed together at one of China's biggest international festivals, the Meet in Beijing International Arts Festival and in October 2006 they appeared at Beijing's award-winning rock music venue Yugong Yishan, at the Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival in Guangxi Province, and in Shenzhen, Canton Province.

As we said above, George was one of our very talented and valuable Athens 2004 Greeks Abroad Volunteers from our Greek Communities around the world ( we had 4500) and a great asset as NOC Assistant for the Chinese Olympic Team. To him, and to the other fantastic volunteers, we at Global Greek World, say Thanks a million!

Xronia Polla kai Kala, George! Hope you are having a lovely birthday, wherever in the world you are!

To read more about George...
 George at MGAM...

George's Official Website

George at My Space

Monday, July 12, 2010

If Julia Roberts Can Do It Then YOU Can Too! Visit Greece This Summer!

Pretty Woman Julia Roberts has chosen the beautiful island of Crete as a summer holiday destination this year! 

Quietly and without much ado, as is usual for most of the  Hollywood celebrities who often visit  for a well-deserved and relaxing break in the sun drenched Mediterranean,  Julia flew into Greece at the invitation of a Greek American friend and is staying on the green and beautiful island of Crete. 

Accompanied by her two beloved dogs, since her husband has stayed home to look after the rest of their family, Julia's friends are showing her the beauties and beaches of Crete, visiting among other places, Sfakia and Iraklion, and enjoying the local hospitality and tasting the wonderful Mediterranean Cuisine Crete is famous for in every corner of the world!


Julia, thanks for the vote of confidence! Welcome to Greece! We know you are having a wonderful time! When you go back home, do be sure to spread the word... 

Greece is safe, it's gorgeous, it's definitely the ultimate summer destination!

In short, GREECE is the place to be this Summer! 

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were here earlier this year, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson visit every year, Madonna's been as have hundreds of other celebrities...  

Why don't YOU join them? 

Call your travel agent NOW and as our Facebook Page says... Visit Greece this Summer! 

Greece will be waiting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Have You Heard of Monkeydonia? We Hadn't ...Until Today!

Photo Source: SAE-World Council of Greeks Abroad

We discovered a new land called Monkeydonia on our travels through cyberspace today and thought we would share it with you...We look forward to your comments!

'Monkeydonian is a person who holds the view that by renaming a potato to apple, the potato will then taste like an apple. In other words, it is the person who thinks that by renaming a country's name from 'Vardaska' to 'Macedonia', in the mid 20th century, he can include in its identity, all Macedonian history that took place even as far as 2000 years before the name change. This is really a script for Aristofanes..

Monkeydonian is someone, who when it comes to history and historical perspective, can not count up to three, but at the same time will make arguments which he will firmly support, even if all evidence would point, or even shout, against him.

Monkeydonians are all those who went to school after 1991 in FYROM, and have fallen victim of revisionist education, Gruevskis' cabinet agenda, and other nationalist propaganda.

Finally and most importantly, Monkeydonians are those who are actively involved in any sort of deliberate, organized, intentional attempt towards world history falsification, so as to achieve their own goals and interests.

Being Monkeydonian does not include all those FYROM citizens that agree with the above, have a sense of historical perspective, take pride in their real past, and are thus more honest and true to their ancestors and their history.

Also excluded are the all innocent children that have fallen victim of their educational system, and who I personally sympathize with the most.

One can not blame one, for what he does not know!

So lets start with education.
Read the rest of the article at

A very interesting blog with a wealth of information for those who really want to learn...we know you will find it enlightening.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bravo J-Lo! Jennifer Lopez Cancels Concert Appearance in Turkish Occupied Cyprus

Jennifer Lopez
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Photographer: Anastasia Burns

Highly popular American actress, singer and dancer, Jennifer Lopez has officially withdrawn from a concert planned for the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus after widespread criticism that the appearance would make a political statement, the entertainment website reported.

A Facebook group protesting this concert has gathered over 19,000 members to date  and a great deal of angry protests have been heard from  Greek and Greek-Cypriot fans, politicians and organisations  after reports surfaced about the planned concert.  

Lopez was to perform July 24 at a new hotel and casino in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus - an area that neither the United Nations nor the European Union recognize as an independent sovereign state, because of the way it was illegally occupied by the Turkish military in 1974.

"Jennifer Lopez would never knowingly support any state, country, institution or regime that was associated with any form of human rights abuse," a representative for the American singer and actress told TMZ on Thursday.

"After a full review of the relevant circumstances in Cyprus, it was the decision of management to withdraw from the appearance. This was a team decision that reflects our sensitivity to the political realities of the region."

We at Global Greek World are glad that  criticism and effective lobbying, properly organised, has the desired results! 

We thank J-Lo and her team for having the sensitivity to understand that this concert would have sent the wrong message and to cancel it. 

We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her in concert in the near future...

We read about it at TMZ/AFP

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Presenting Eleni Tzoka - One of our Talented Global Greeks from Poland!!!

Eleni Tzoka

One of our readers recently brought this song by talented Greek-Polish performer Eleni Tzoka to our attention. (Thanks Anna CM - Sweden)

We were amazed and touched by her personal story and thought we would tell you about her...

Listen to Eleni sing Sto Perigiali to Kryfo in Polish- it's beautiful...

About Eleni...

Eleni Tzoka (née Milopoulu) was born in Poland to Greek parents who had emigrated to Poland in the 1950s. 

Eleni grew up either playing or singing music from a very early age as her parents transferred their love of music to her and her many brothers and sisters - she was the 9th child- and her talent shone from her very first public performance in her elementary school children's group Niezapominajki ("Forget-me-nots"). 

Several years later she became a vocalist in her secondary school group Ballada. 

In 1975 she joined Prometheus, a newly established music band that played a lot of Greek music and was mainly active in Sopot in northern Poland, and her professional career started in earnest. On July 20 of the same year, she debuted at a concert in Gdańsk and became a great success. 

In 1977 she  recorded an LP album with Prometheus, Po słonecznej stronie życia ("On the sunny side of life'",  and in 1980 Eleni released her first solo album, Ty jak niebo, ja – jak obłok.

She began giving concerts all over Poland as well as abroad, Australia, France, Sweden, Canada and the United States, and partcipating in the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole several times.

Married to Fotis Tzokas, the brother of Kostas Tzokas, the founder of Prometheus, they had a daughter Afrodyta who was tragically murdered in 1994 by her boyfriend, Piotr. Eleni, despite her own grief at the tragedy that had befallen her family, showed the generosity of her soul by openly forgiving the killer of her only child.

It was reported that when she was informed about her daughter's death, she immediately phoned the mother of Afrodyta's boyfriend and told her without anger that they had "lost their children". What an incredible gesture.

Honoured for this unbelievably generous act of mercy in 1999 with the Saint Rita of Cascia prize, an award given to women who have overcome a tragic event in their lives, Eleni has also been been awarded many other prizes, both for her music and for her services to people...

In 2003 she received the Złote Serce (Heart of Gold) prize from the Saint Stanisław Kostka Foundation for the Disabled Children and Youth in Katowice for her "generosity, kindness, understanding, co-operativeness, namely everything that makes the realization of laudable aims for the environment of disabled children and youth possible".

In 2004, she received the Medal of Saint Brother Albert for her commitment to charity and for help to people living with AIDS, as well as to the disabled.

Eleni has also received the prestigious title of the Knight of the Order of Smile.

In 2006 Eleni authored Nothing will defeat love (Nic miłości nie pokona), an illustrated album in which she talks about her life, love, human suffering, the meaning of charity, as well as her artistic experiences  in an interview she gave to Pauline monk, Fr. Robert Łukaszuk.

What can we say, Eleni? 

We were very touched by your story and the amazing strength and generosity of spirit that you and your family showed.

This song is dedicated to you... I Sotiria tis Psyhis (Η Σωτηρία της Ψυχής) by Alkistis Protopsalti. It says it all...

We read about Eleni on Wikipedia, where you will also find her discography.

For those who read Polish, do check out her website, Eleni. It includes a section with all her Greek songs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Global Greece: When Zorba met Zorba...

Photo Source:

'The music of Zorba is the music of Life, and to live life fully, you must always Love, and I love YOU...'

The immortal Zorba the Greek, Anthony Quinn paying tribute to the eternal Greek, legendary composer Mikis Theodorakis...

At a concert in Munich, almost 40 years after  Zorba the Greek, the two meet and dance to the world famous Sirtaki...

It's so moving... One of life's unique, unforgettable moments!


And the original masterpiece... just for the record!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Theia Chryssoula Razos: Katsete Na Sas Valo Na Fate!!!


This post is dedicated to Theia Chryssoula Razos and all those wonderful women (and some men)  in our Global Greek World, with their devotion to their families and their well-being, their innate sense of hospitality or filoxenia, and their love of tradition. 

The traditional art of cooking for the family and wider circle of friends, always  an inherent part of Greek families wherever they are in the world, is what has ensured the preservation of all the recipes passed down to us by our grandmothers and mothers,  from generation to generation!

Katsete na sas valo na fate... is a familiar phrase to all of us, a phrase which embodies the very essence of Greek hospitality, and very appropriately indeed, is the title of Theia Chryssoula's Cookbook of recipes from Ithaka and the world!  

Remember trying to escape with a polite, no thanks, όχι ευχαριστώ, when faced with a determined mother or aunt who said this to us. Instead we got  Φάτε! and promptly sat down to eat the good, traditional, home cooked dishes they specialised in... 
Remember how much our non-Greek friends  loved our parents' Greek hospitality along with each tasty morsel of our mothers' pastitsio, moussaka or kourambiedes?

Well, these are the recipes that Theia Chryssoula as she likes to be called,( a term of fond respect that we are all familiar with, and used for all those who were close to us) has provided us with in her cookbook. 

Born in Ithaka in 1929 to Evangeloula Giannoutsos and Michael Grivas, in 1948, at the tender age of 19, she left her beautiful island of Ithaka in the Ionian Sea, in a post war ravaged and politically divided Greece, and set out on her own personal odyssey to the other side of the world, to an island nation in the Pacific, New Zealand, where her husband-to-be Theofanis Razos awaited his beautiful Greek bride...

It wasn't always easy... 

Like many of the other Greek families who had migrated to New Zealand,the Boulieris family, the Gerondis family, the Karantze family or the Zavos family, the Razos family ran a restaurant. It was exhausting work but it was an occupation where the major drawcard was that, apart from the set-up capital, it required just a basic knowledge of the English language. Like all food businesses all over the world whether it is in Geneva or New York, Athens or London - migrants are able start up their own food businesses, from fish and chip shops to souvlaki stalls, from coffee shops to gyro stands, simply because they can start up having only the basic language skills and the capital, of course!

In 1958, after 10 years of what was a very different kind of life in New Zealand but one they would remember with great affection, Theia Chryssoula and Theofanis Razos took their little family and set off on the return journey to the land of their birth, back to Greece, back to their very own Ithaka...

Once back home, Theia Chryssoula, a dynamic, engaging woman but traditional at the same time, along with her ongoing commitments to family, spent most of her spare time and effort helping the island she loves so much.

Very tied to the rich history, traditions and culture of her island, Theia Chryssoula became actively involved with the cultural and community activities of her beloved Ithaka,
- as a founding member and President for seven years of Ithaka's Rural and Industrial Cooperative (Πρότυπο Αγροτοβιομηχανικού Συνεταιτισμού Ιθάκης), 
- as a member of various cultural groups such as Ithaka's Public Benefit Group (Κοινοφελές Όμιλο Ιθάκης), 'Penelope's Loom' - the Handcraft Cooperative named after Odysseus' faithful wife (Συνεταιρισμός Χειροτεχνίας Αργαλειό της Πηνελόπης), and
- as President of the Ithaka Women's Organisation 'Penelope'.

Other activities include organising Ithaka's Carnival (1960 - 1980) and Ithaka's Folklore Museum as well as gathering material for the museum's exhibits. 

In 1997 she helped organise a theatrical production 'Η Πούλια κι ο Αυγερινός γίνονται νύμφη και γαμπρός' which showcased the traditions of the Ithaka wedding rituals and celebrations.

Theia Chryssoula has gathered all her recipes together to create a fascinating cookbook which she has dedicated to her grandchildren and great grandchildren! 

Her book is full of great recipes! Recipes from her mother, her godmother, other relatives and friends, traditional Ithakan recipes, recipes from New Zealand and other countries of the world. Recipes from when she was a young woman learning to cook, recipes which are tried and true... 

We particularly loved the recipes for Kastanotourta (Chestnut cake), Butterfly Cakes and Prasopita (Leek Pie) 

as well as her recipe for the steak and kidney pie that used to be made in her husband's restaurant in New Zealand.

Theia Chryssoula has put a little bit of everything into this cookbook, but above all she has put in a lot of what we Greeks call 'meraki', and love, and that's what she wants from us, her readers, as she tell us at the beginning of her book:

I grew up in a family where dinner was a sacred event and where cooking was an expression of joy, love and affection.  Just as I collected these recipes from Ithakan housewives, Θιακές νοικοκυρές, I now want to pass them on to be preserved for the future generations, so that the Greek flavours and tastes can remain alive forever. On the joyous days that you will be looking through this book and cooking, I want you to be happy and remember me with love...

Thank you Theia Chryssoula for these wonderful recipes, your labour of love! We will definitely  think of you with love and affection each time we cook one of your dishes, and we will be sure to drink a toast to your health...

Στην υγειά σας, Θεία Χρυσούλα!! Να είσαστε πάντα καλά! 

Theia Chryssoula's cookbook is written in Greek and is available for purchase  from the bookstores Eleftheroudakis and Papasotiriou or by sending an email to the Design Shop

We recommend it wholeheartedly!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

KALIMERA! For us Greeks, It's More Than a Word - It's a Way of Life!

Kalimera... means good morning. But thats not all...

It means a new day has begun. A day full of sun, sea, joy, happiness, a day full of hope. A day that follows a magical, musical night and leads to something even more promising.

A new beginning, a chance to meet new friends, experience new tastes, discover an ancient civilisation and live your dreams. As the Greek warm, morning light takes over, inspiration, inner peace and love, are only a grasp away.

«Good morning» is always said with a smile and heartfelt hospitality. 

For us Greeks, «Kalimera» is more than a word, its a way of life.

From the Greek National Tourism Organisation's summer campaign...

From us to everyone in our Global Greek World -

Kalimera !!!


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