A youth choir sang compositions of the late and globally acclaimed Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis near the Acropolis on Tuesday to express their solidarity for the Turkish and Syrian children affected by last week’s devastating earthquakes.
The choir of the Mikis Theodorakis Museum in Zatouna, the composer’s village of origin in the central Peloponnese, sang before Mikis’ home in the Acropolis neighborhood of Athens, conducted by Stefanos Kardiolakas.
Introducing the event, Kardiolakas said that it was the children’s initiative to “send a message of love, compassion, and solidarity to the children and the peoples of Türkiye and Syria who are experiencing the indescribable tragedy of the earthquakes.”
The event, he said, “is Mikis’ legacy: to build bridges of friendship and peace with our neighbors. With the children’s voices, the poetry of Nobel-prize winner Odysseas Elytis, and the music of Theodorakis, we are sending a big hug.”
Children picked two songs based on the poems of Elytis (‘Tis dikaiosynis ilie noite’, and ‘Tis agapis aimata’), two of the most widely loved and sung compositions of Mikis.
Speaking for the choir, a girl said they were singing them for every child that had lost relatives or had been uprooted because of the catastrophe.
“We, the children of the Mikis Theodorakis choir of the Mikis Theodorakis Museum of Zatouna, want to express our love, friendship, and solidarity with you, the children of the earthquake, the children of Türkiye and Syria, by singing these two symbolic songs,” she said.
After reading in Greek sections of the two poems, she said, “By these two songs, containing powerful emotions and messages, by our beloved Mikis Theodorakis – a strong, global symbol of the friendship of the peoples and of democracy, based on poems of the great Greek poet Odysseas Elytis – we extend our hand out to you and open our arms to you.”
Another girl added, added, “We sing our songs, the songs of our great poets and composers, and we dedicate them to you. As your own poet Nazim Hikmet – beloved to the Greeks also – has said, ‘Our most beautiful days, we haven’t seen them yet’.
“With this winter breeze that cannot be stopped by borders, we are sending you today our songs, our compassion, our love, our solidarity, and our friendship. We are waiting for you in Greece, and we are reserving for you a wide hug, as all friends do when hard times come.”
Mikis Theodorakis’s concert after the 1999 earthquake in Turkey
Museum President Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos said in a written statement that “Mikis would have been present, he is present, in this great tragedy our neighbor Türkiye is experiencing. (…) The time has come for citizens’ diplomacy, and this is what Mikis Theodorakis served for many decades.
The Mikis Theodorakis Museum of Zatouna will assume a similar initiative to rebuild the friendship and collaboration bridges between the two peoples.” Mikis will again become an ambassador of solidarity and communication between the two peoples through the national media networks in Türkiye, Syria, as well as Greece, he added.
Mikis Theodorakis had taken part in a large solidarity concert held in Istanbul in 1999 following a deadly earthquake that year, along with his Orchestra and singers Maria Farandouri and Turkish musician Zülfü Livaneli. The event had been jointly organized by the General Confederation of Greek Workers and Turkish unions.