On this day, September 17, the unforgettable Manos Loizos dies – The unknown story behind the legendary “Zeibekiko of Evdokia”

On this day, September 17, the unforgettable Manos Loizos dies – The unknown story behind the legendary “Zeibekiko of Evdokia”
On this day, September 17, the unforgettable Manos Loizos dies – The unknown story behind the legendary “Zeibekiko of Evdokia”

“His untimely death is a tragedy on a national scale” Mikis Theodorakis had said when he was informed of the death of the unforgettable Manos Loizos and had added: “He was my pride. He was able, with a imperceptible smile and a song, to go a cubit beyond the horizon.” One day like todayon September 17, 1982, at the age of only 45, abruptly closed one of the greatest and most important chapters of Greek music: The Manos Loizos. People may say, with obvious irony, that “cemeteries are full of irreplaceables”, but in the case of Loiz this is true. He was indeed irreplaceable.

The road had its own history

He was born in Larnaca in October 1937. At the age of 7, he moved with his family to Alexandria in search of a better life. Little Manos’ love for music was evident from a young age. When his parents had the inclination he had, they enrolled him in the local Conservatory. Although he began learning the violin, he eventually settled on what turned out to be a natural extension of his hands: his beloved guitar.

In 1955 he left Alexandria and came to Athens to study at the School of Pharmacy. Soon he gives up and continues his studies at ASOEE. Not even that, but it is something that fills him and so in 1960 he makes the big decision. He stops everything and starts to deal exclusively with music. In order to manage to live, he does various jobs. From graphic designer to waiter.

Two years later he comes into contact with him Mimi Plessa who helps him record his first song. It’s the “Street Song.” This is Nikos Gatsos’ Greek rendition of a Lorca poem performed by Giorgos Moutsios.

April 1962 is another turning point in Loiz’s career. He becomes a founding member and vice-president of the Association of Friends of Greek Music (SFEM), with the aim of supporting the work of Mikis Theodorakis. There he will meet Christos Leontis, Yiannis Markopoulos, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Maria Farandouri, Manos Eleftheriou and many others.

His life has found its way. Loizos now knows what he wants and how to get it. He writes many songs and a lot of music for theater and cinema. In March 1965 he married Maro Lemnos, the later author of children’s books, known as Maro Loizou. A year later, in August 1966, their daughter Myrsini was born.

The hard times, however, come with the junta. He was persecuted for his leftist beliefs with censorship making his life difficult. In the troubled November of 1973, after the uprising of the Polytechnic University, Loizos was arrested and spent 10 days in the detention centers of the Security. The “bora”, however, passed and so when the junta fell, Loizos releases the legendary album “The songs of the street” which includes all those songs of his that were either banned or “cut” by the junta’s censorship. It was this album that made him one of the main exponents of political (“military”, as they called it at the time) song.

In his 20-year career, Loizos collaborated with the biggest names and could have created many more things if he had not suffered a stroke on June 8, 1982. He spent a month in the hospital and then was transferred to Moscow for treatment. There, however, he suffered a second stroke. He was never able to recover. Ten days later, he breathed his last, aged just 45.

The last feast of his life

“I remember him at the last party of his life, three days before he entered the hospital with the first stroke, which was also the beginning of the end. It was at the home of Haroula Alexiou and her then husband Achillea Theofilos, in the midst of friends and loved ones.

He had some troubles with his personal life (relations were not going well with his second wife, the actress Dora Sitzanis, from whom he was separated), but soon as the evening wore on, he found himself in a good mood – with her help Alexiou, who put on a whole show to entertain him. And at some point he picked up the guitar and started singing, as many composers know how to say their songs (“the performers say them well, the creators say them right” said Yannis Ritsos) and no one could imagine that it was the last time we heard him sing. And then with the stroke in the hospital, where one morning I found him alone. ”Can you help me put him in the other bed so I can change the sheets?” says a nurse. And I do so and pick him up in my arms like a feather, he had become so thin. but he hadn’t lost his smile. “It will pass where it will go”…

And as he didn’t forget that he was the president of the Union of Music Composers – Lyricists of Greece: ”Write something about our class that we don’t have medical care, they make so much money from us”. I wasn’t the only journalist who admired and cared for him. I was also a friend since I happened to meet him and hang out before he emerged as a composer. On the night of his burial, Dionysis Savvopoulos and his wife Aspa had a good idea to host a “blessing” dinner at their home for a few friends (Manos’ daughter Myrsini and her mother Maro, Miki TheodorakisGeorge Dalaras with Anna, Haroula Alexiou and Achilleas Theofilos, Dimitra Galani, Lefteris Papadopoulos, Nikos Karouzos, Christos Leontis, Fontas Ladis, Manolis Rasoulis etc.) And there, between meals, of wine and various memories of Manos, which Nikos Karouzos, expressing his bitterness and indignation at Loizos’s “hurry” to leave us, referred to a tribe in Africa. Where he says as soon as someone dies, they hang him on a tree and they beat him for abandoning them” writes the journalist Dimitris Gionis in his book “One and one… 46+1 people of art up close” (ANKYRA PUBLICATIONS).

The unknown story behind the legendary “Zeibekiko of Evdokia”

Zeibekiko is a lonely dance, with pain, with interiority. The one who dances it does not care about what is happening around him. Part of it burns, part of it hurts, part of it dances. He empathizes with the lyrics, which is why he chooses the song to dance to. Perhaps the most famous zeybekiko in Greece is the “Zeybekiko of Evdokia”. It was written by Manos Loizos to “dress up” one of the most characteristic scenes of the film “Eudokia” by Alexis Damianos, which was shown for the first time in September 1971.

The case concerns a prostitute and a sergeant who try to live love, facing the taboos of society. In a neighborhood tavern, a soldier gets up and dances zeibekiko with passion, audacity, fixing his eyes on the beautiful Evdokia. She, although accompanied by three “bloodthirsty” men, gets carried away by his rhythm, claps his hands, laughs playfully, looks at him almost insatiably and a “My Virgin” comes from her lips.

Manos Loizos saw the material from the filming, which lasted two days and contained many shots of the scenery. During the shooting, the dance was performed to a song by Markos Vamvakaris. One version says that it was “Ta matoclada sou lampoun”, however the protagonist of the scene, the “fantasy” Giorgos Koutouzis, has said in an interview that the song was “The mischievous”. On this scene, Loizos writes “The zeibekiko of Evdokia”.

His notes are heard for the first time at the composer’s house, in the presence of the director Alexis Damianos, with the old rebetist Giorgos Mouflouzelis playing the ziura. Manos Loizos would later ask this particular gypsy to play in the recording of the piece. As Thanasis Polykandriotis has said, Loizos insisted on playing with him, even though he relaxed at the first notes. Finally, the composition is recorded piece by piece so that the out-of-tune strumpet can take its place in it. Loizos includes the song with a new orchestration on the album “Na ‘hame ti na ‘hame” (1972) and “zeibekiko” begins to be independent from the film.

The piece remains without lyrics, although as Lefteris Papadopoulos has narrated, Loizos asked him to write, but he refused listening to the music. “This thing doesn’t take words, there are no lyrics to back it up,” she had told him.

The article is in Greek

Tags: day September unforgettable Manos Loizos dies unknown story legendary Zeibekiko Evdokia

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