Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paper Moon (Manos Hadjidakis, 1949)

Melina Mercouri, her most famous picture

ear visitor, prepare for great, for brilliant stuff. Oh-oh spaggetti o. Today is the famous full moon of August. Full moon! The brightest moon of the year will cross the Athenian sky to fall huge and red. Hundrends of archeological sites will stay open till very late tonight with all lights switched off since the reflections of the moonlight to these marbles is one time thing and the Acropolis museum will host a band playing songs about the moon.

Mr. Theodosiou -who is a professor of Astrophysics at the university of Athens- stated clearly: "We were so wrong to step on the moon [...] you know, some things in life should better remain a legend, a myth, a mystery.. and although tonight's moon is neither bigger nor brighter than of other months, we like to believe so in August that the night is warm and the reflection on the ancient marbles so beautiful".

So, there is question... What makes the moon so important? What makes it mysterious and what brings it into songs, poems, books etc.? The fact that it reminds us that we live on a planet is a good answer but not a very successful one since the moon was already too deep into our poems and music long before we realize that earth is not flat. The answer I suppose is "love". And probably this is what Manos Hadjitzidakis had in mind when he composed the following song:

Paper Moon [Χάρτινο το Φεγγαράκι]
music: Manos Hadjidakis
lyrics: Nikos Gatsos
vocals here*: Melina Merkouri

* Herodion = the Roman theater on the hill of Acropolis.

Sea shall bring in birds
and golden stars (will come with) the wind
to caress your hair
to kiss your hand

Of paper is the moon,
the beach is fake,
if you believed me a little
everything would be true

Without your love
time goes by so fast
Without your love
the world is smaller

Of paper is the moon,
the beach is fake,
if you believed me a little
everything would be true.

Melina Merkouri was the Minister of Culture in Greece and she was the first to sing this song acting in the play "The Streetcar named Desire" by Tennessee Williams directed by Karolos Koun. An extremely influential political figure in post-junta period (after 1974) in Greece.

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