Thursday, March 12, 2009

Journals of resistance


This LP sleeve perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the late 1960s and early 1970s. On the 1971 CBS disc Maria Farantouri and John Williams perform music by Mikis Theodorakis, including the theme from Constatin Costa Gravas' film Z. For my money it is one of the most beautiful records ever made. It is available on a Sony Greece CD; but, sadly, the cover photograph has been replaced by bland graphics. As the LP sleeve notes explains:
Theodorakis has set to music a number of passages from the verse-drama "The Hostage" by the Irish writer Brendan Behan. Although "The Hostage" deals with the Irish troubles, the Greek people applied the songs to their own struggle against the tyranny set up in Athens after the coup d'etat of April 1967, and in particular "The Smiling Boy" was taken as referring to the death of Lambrakis.
Mikis Theodorakis was imprisoned by the Greek military dictatorship. Below is the title page from my copy of his account of those times, Journals of Resistance. Maria Farantouri (which is the usual transliteration of the Greek, rather than Farandouri as on the record sleeve) went into exile when Theodorakis' music was banned after the 1967 coup. She became known as 'the Greek Joan Baez' and made a major contribution to the international resistance to the fascist regime by performing Theodorakis' songs around the world. There is some powerful footage on YouTube of Maria Farantouri performing with Mikis Theodorakis. Read about music's fight against the Greek military junta in songs of freedom.


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6 comments:

The Jesus Sufi said...

thank you for the heads up.i will get this one,by hook or by crook.Z is still one of the handful of movies that deeply moves and troubles me each time I see it{it is unavailable in print in the states as of today.sigh}..connecting on the path, nice of Leonard Cohen to sit shirtless on hydra,contemplating the meaning of life, while his fellows were being beaten jailed and killed by fascist thugs,who were, shockingly, also anti-semitic.I don't mean to come down too hard on someone 40 years removed, it is a bit, well, puzzling though,no?

Pliable said...

TJS, similarly Costa Gravas' Z is unavailable on DVD in the UK. Some excellent films of the period have been reappearing on DVD recently, notably Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man!. So I live in hope that Z will be restored to circulation.

Here is the Leonard Cohen link for those arriving via search engines -

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2009/03/everything-there-is-to-say-in-one-word.html

rchrd said...

Nah. The real Zeitgeist is on the album The Serpent Power

http://www.jppickens.com/db1/00084/jppickens.com/_uimages/SerpentPowerAlbum.jpg

A band of poets .. San Francisco in the early 60's.

Anonymous Soprano said...

I am giving away my age a little here, but as someone who was born, shall we say, after much of this had happened, I wonder how differently events, music, etc, during the period of the 60's and 70's must have been seen by those who were there, vs. those of us who are looking back.

While a good deal of the music and philosophical thought and such is still respected and pertinent to the day, I have to admit that from my generation's position, a lot of what happened then seems somewhat rediculous now. (I'm not saying it is! I'm just saying that that's what it seems like sometimes.)

(Also, FYI, not sure if you're interested or whatnot, but I've started my own music blog at http://cowntess.blogspot.com -- ok, enough shameless self-promotion!)

Pliable said...

AS - fashions may look ridiculous, but the message behind those fashions remains relevant.

Most of us have a detailed knowledge of Mozart's music, and a pretty good idea about his life story. But how much do we know about the fashions and popular culture of his time? Not much I think, and if we did I am pretty sure we would find much of it ridiculous.

Time is a very effective filter. The 1960s and 70s are still so recent that we can observe the filtering process happening. Yes there is fool's gold in there, but there is also much of value.

Good luck with the blog. Here is another plug -

http://cowntess.blogspot.com

rchrd said...

To understand the 60's and 70's, you have to understand the 40's and 50's.
And on it goes.

The 60's were a dramatic reaction to the repressive 50's.

And certainly today that reaction looks silly and childish today.

And it was, to some extent, silly and childish even then.

But so much of what we take for granted today was a battleground in the 60's.