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15 April 2007



Hi Stavro,

Scruff here. I am reading Mark Mazower's book "Inside Hitler's Greece" and it is amazing what went on here during that time.

Things I've learned from this book:

- Some Greeks Profited off other Greeks in the black market (to the detriment of their fellow men)

- Italians controlled many areas of Greece during the German occupation

- Nazi Germany taking food out of Greece to feed Germans with no care about the Greeks who were dying here.

It was sad to think of people dying in the street from hunger. But, I was impressed that the Greeks spirit of protest was even strong during this scary time. The Gestapo was alarmed by Greeks and their protests.

- The only thing disappointing about this book was the lack of mention of the OSS contribution in assisting the Greek people against the Germans. Since the publishing of other books telling the heroic deeds of the Greek-American US ARMY units, I hope Mazower will update his book now that the truth has come out.


Tremendous post!

My favourite Tsitsani tune, To Vapori Apo Tin Persia!



I have some problems with Mazower's book but that will require an entire post.

The Italians and Bulgarians both occupied large portions of Greece along with the Germans. Needless to say that the Italian Occupation was more benign than that of their other two allies. Eventually some of the Italians fought in the resistance.

Not only did some Greeks profit from the Black market at the expense of others but like every occupied country some collaborated with the occupiers.

Currently, I am re-reading the book: "Eleni" by Nicholas Gage. I will write a long post about it, I think it is a very important book and superbly written. If you haven't had the opportunity to read it do so. It is well worth your time.

The OSS contribution in Greece is only now coming to light however, keep in mind that Greece came under the aegis of the British Special Operations Directorate and as such most operations in Greece were under their control. The OSS was only allowed to play only a secondary role.


Besides "Ta Kovouraki," I really like "Sinefiasmeni Kiriaki." Then again I am a hopeless sentimental fool as you are well aware.


Hi Stavro,

Yes I've read Eleni and seen the movie with Malkovich. Funny thing is that many Greeks never heard of it. I did a little digging and found out that Communist jackballs here in Athens protested this movie and the weak-willed cinemas stop carrying it.

Ignorance is bliss in Greece...


Tsitsanis is without doubt a genius, who makes you fall in love with Greece again and again. Manos Hatzidakis referred to him as the ‘Greek Bach’.
Tsitsanis wrote some 2,000 songs and I am constantly amazed by the songs I discover and rediscover. Of course, there seem to be as many interpretations, ways to play and sing Tsitsanis, as Tsitsanis songs. (Generally, I don’t mind Dalaras, though I dislike his interpretations of Tsitsanis – gaudy and grandiose).
Personally, I think Sotiria Bellou does Tsitsanis best, more so the original recordings of the 1940s and 1950s, than the ‘technically cleaner’ versions of the 1960s and 1970s.

A lot of Tsitsanis songs can be found and downloaded here
The site owner, as well as having an admirable fondness for Glykeria, seems to like his Tsitsanis sung by Stratos Payioumtzis and Stelios Perpiniadis. As I said, I prefer Bellou, and also those recordings Tsitsanis made in the 1970s in which he sings his own songs – including To Vapori ap’tin Persia. In these later recordings, Tsitsanis seemed to enjoy reviving his previously forbidden hashish songs written in the 1930s, such as The Litany, Prinkipomastourides and I Drosoulla – and these are wonderful songs; though my own favourites are Synefiasmeni Kyriaki (no way a sentimental song!), San Apogliros Girizo and Kane Ligaki Ipomoni. I’ve also been listening a lot recently to Me Pire To Ksimeroma Stous Dromous, the opening lines of which are:

Με πήρε το ξημέρωμα στους δρόμους
να σκέφτομαι και να παραμιλώ
καρδούλα πώς άντεξες τους πόνους
που μ' έχουν καταντήσει πια τρελό


Good site.

I found this site on Vamvakaris recently. Not sure if it new. Importantly, if you like playing the baglama/bouzouki there is tablature notation of some songs. Check out To Koroido. Dark, menacing and electric. Predates the brilliant Howlin Wolf or Don Van Vliet by 30 years.

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