For about 20 years the “Rosa“, the legendary song composed by Thanos Mikroutsikos and performed by Dimitris Mitropanos, remained unclaimed, forgotten in a drawer… Until the time it came out into the “light”, with people adoring it and wondering to this day what it was natural person who inspired its creator, Alki Alkaios.
It’s still 1977in post-colonial Greece, when Thanos Mikroutsikos reads in the newspaper “Radical» a poem by Alkis Alkaios. Of the poet and lyricist who carried throughout the rest of his life the signs of the Junta’s torture. Metaphorically as well as literally, as motor and neurological problems arose which defined his whole “being” since then. He sought treatments, even underwent special surgery abroad, but saw no improvement and was forced to spend most of his days in confinement, away from the world, many times stuck on a bed.
His lyrics carried a lot of his horrific experiences, the melancholy from the memory of that time, but also the hope for tomorrow. Thanos Mikroutsikos will introduce him to the Greek public with one of his tracks on the album “Songs of Freedom” in 1978, two years later with another in “Weather forecast” and in 1982 the album “Embargo” in which he signs the lyrics of all the songs, with “Malignant melanoma“, and “Ditch» among others to stand out.
And the “Rosa“, the epic zeibeki performed by Mitropanos, how did it not find its way to the studio sooner, while it was written around the same time? Thanos Mikroutsikos himself reveals the truth, even taking responsibility for the fact that remained unclaimed for 20 yearsuntil it was finally released in 1996 and became one of the most recognizable and much-sung contemporary folk songs.
As he says, it was 1976 when Alkis Alkaios had sent him the lyrics of the piece to set to music. At that time the well-known composer was living in an apartment in the capital and took the paper in his hands when the time was somewhat late. The notes and the rhythm took shape very quickly in his mind and he tried to capture them on the piano, but made a mistake that proved to be fatal and decisive for the fate of “Rosa”. He used the piano mute, “muffling” the sound in this way so as not to wake up the neighborhood. Combined with the mediocre quality of the recording, the result was clearly not what was expected.
But in the mind of the composer “Rose” returns. He recommends her to Haroula Alexiou a few years later, but she doesn’t seem impressed either and the piece remains in the composer’s drawer, until 1996 when he decides to record the historic album, now, “In the century the shack» in lyrics by Alkis Alkaiou, Costas Lachas, Linas Nikolakopoulos and Giorgos Kakoulidis. What happened since then is well known… Now there is no one who hears the first notes and doesn’t picture Dimitris Mitropanos throwing two turns on stage and interpreting this anthem in his unique way…
Since then, everyone has been wondering who the protagonist and muse of Alkis Alkaios might be. Who is Rosa? which was the source of inspiration for this man, with him never revealing the story behind his lyrics. The majority, however, agree that based on the poet’s biography, political opinions and experiences, she cannot be other than Rosa Luxemburg.
The Marxist philosopher and revolutionary who was born in then Russian-controlled Poland, worked both in her homeland and in Germany trying to awaken consciences, was imprisoned and eventually met a tragic death as was murdered. Her last words, which in a way constitute her political legacy and legacy, are summed up in three words: “Faith in the Revolution“… Let’s remember that the next time we softly sing our own “Rosa”.
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