10+1 songs for Athens

How would Athens sound like? We 've selected 10+1 songs that live in Athens' DNA.
September 26, 2016 by Eirini Cheimoniti


Music is all around us. We listen to it in the very morning on the bus or at the metro, then at work and in the evening, when we go back home. It’s the way we describe emotions, situations, sometimes people. But what about cities? Could you get the vibe and the style, actually understand how being in a city feels like via music? Yes, you could. Below are 10+1 songs that introduce you to the city of Athens!

1. Waltz of the lost dreams (Manos Hadjidakis)

Probably the most respected piece of music that Hadjidakis, major Greek composer, ever wrote for cinema. Urban legend says that Hadjidakis slept five minutes after the beginning of the the film for which he had to write this music. However, when he woke up, he was inspired enough to compose this masterpiece.

2. Paper Moon (Manos Hadjidakis / Remixed by Cayetano)

An old time classic song written by Manos Hadjidakis and sung by the legendary Melina Mercury. It won a place in our list, because there is no Athenian who hasn’t shed a tear by the sea of the Athens Riviera, while listening to this song. Here it is presented in a remix by Cayetano.

3. Poso lypamai / How much I regret (Costas Giannidis / Remixed by Imam Baildi)

The contemporary band Imam Baildi reworks this song and takes us back to 1939, when Athens was listening to this song performed by Sophia Vempo, who later on, during the World War II, sang for Greece and was established as national singer.

4. Isaias’ Bossa Nova (Foivos Delivorias / Remixed by Mariza Rizou)

Welcome back to modern Athens with the cheerful mentality of the younger generation of artists, among whom talented Mariza Rizou. In this era of Athens the password is “dance”!

5. Let the dance go on (Dionysis Savvopoulos)

You can’t claim you know much about Athens if you haven’t felt your heart beating faster with Savvopoulos’ melodies. “Let the dance go on” is a very representative sample of Greek traditional music, while at the same time it tells the story of the Greek nation. It is heard in all big events of Greece and in Greeks’ minds it is synonym to optimism.

6. The Zeibekiko of Olympic Games 2014 (Stavros Xarhakos)

Talking about “big events”, you probably recall this “zeibekiko” heard for first time in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games 2004, an event that definitely changed the tide of the city.

7. Violets and Hyacinths (Traditional Song / Performed by “Mnistires”)

Lately there is a great movement towards songs written and heard decades ago. Athenians love to change them, bring them in “today” and actually revive them. The above song is one of them!

8. The Beauty in Athens (Themis Karamouratidis)

It couldn’t be left out: a song of 2016, praising the beauty of Athens. You are listening to the voice of Natassa Bofiliou, who currently is the most successful and beloved young singer in Greece.

9. Gioconda’s smile (Manos Hadjidakis)

The album was recorded in New York in 1965, with Quincy Jones (known as “Q”) as producer. It is considered to be one of the most iconic albums of 20th century music in Greece and certainly tells a lot about Athens of those years.

10. Wedding waltz (Eleni Karaindrou)

Eleni Karaindrou wrote this music track for the movie “The Apiarist” by Theodoros Angelopoulos, one of the most known Greek movie directors. It was loved also out of the borders of Greece.

11. Children of Pireus (Manos Hadjidakis)

Manos Hadjidakis never loved this song, that he unwillingly wrote in a taxi, only because he had to deliver it on time for the movie production. “Never on Sunday”, directed by Jules Dassin and starring Melina Mercury, became a world success. The soundtrack won an Oscar…

Hopefully now you feel a bit more familiar with Athens! Listen to the whole Youtube playlist here.