Saturday, September 10, 2011

John the Murderer (Fleury Dandonaki, 1980)

Fleury Dandonaki

leury Dandonaki was Manos Hadjidakis' favorite singer. She was born in Crete in 1937. She studied philosophy and theater at the University of South Carolina in the late '50s. In New York she made her first steps on the stage of Broadway and critics recognized something different in her wonderful voice, full of sensitivity, and in her large expressive eyes. The «New York Times» declared her talent equal to that of Liza Minnelli's.
In 1970 she meets in New York Manos Hadjidakis as she replaces an actress of the Broadway show "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris". Manos is astonished by her performance. Fleury becomes his favourite singer and during the '70s they work together in many successful theatre and music projects. In 1980, it was at the insistence of Manos Hadjidakis, who was back then director of ERA's Programme C (radio broadcast) that the recording below took place.
Fleury Dandonaki died on July 18,1998 at the age of 60, after a long struggle with cancer and rests in peace next to her long time friend Manos Hadjidakis in a semetery in Athens.

The song was first released by Columbia in 1976. The name of the album is "Immortality". Music by Manos Hadjidakis and poetry by Nikos Gatsos. It is a masterpiece.

John the murderer [Ο Γιάννης ο Φονιάς]
music: Manos Hadjidakis
lyrics: Nikos Gatsos
vocals: Fleury Dandonaki

John the murderer
-son of a woman from Patras
and of a man from Messolonghi-
last Sunday
right after the prison
passed by our house

We treated him desert
we treated him mint
but the murder
we didn't mention (x2)

Only Phrosi
-shedding sea coloured tears
of her large eyes-
kissed silently
his precious hands
and went out of the hall

No one made it
to bear her pain
and no one from the family
found a word to say

And John the murderer
at the corner of the street
with the longing's thorn
remembered again
moons so distant
and the dream that was gone.

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