We heard the news today that the far-left party Syriza gained the most votes in the Greek election, and their leader Alexis Tsipras is now the new president of the country. An amazing result that admittedly leaves challenging times ahead, but a sign that left-thinking people are sceptical about the standard Capitalist model and are making a stand. This is happening across Europe, and I, for one, am glad about that.
Greece was in the news today for another reason. Demis Roussos has passed away, aged 68. The happiness I felt earlier in the day at the election result was tempered, and I started thinking about what it was about Demis Roussos that I liked so much.
I am not going to write a potted history of his musical career. That’s why we have pages like Wikipedia. I wanted to write something more personal. This sad news made me think about when I was a teenager and we moved house. Me, my brother and my parents were up in the loft, checking through boxes of records, and (rather unfairly) laughing at my mum for having a Demis Roussos album. The one with Forever and Ever on it. It didn’t seem like a cool object to us kids. My mum turned to me and my brother and said, “You two bought that for me!”. I remember, years later, being surprised that the man I used to watch on Top Of The Pops, wearing brightly coloured kaftans, the man who was cruelly ridiculed by so-called comedians of the day, had been in the brilliant Aphrodite’s Child along with Vangelis. I was blown away the first time I heard them. The chunky keyboard sounds, the fabulous vocal harmonies, the adventurous changes in tempo, the use of traditional Greek instruments, these things were all combined into the most fantastic musical package. I remember buying an Aphrodite’s Child compilation album on vinyl somewhere in Spain, and being really happy. Later on I heard some more actual albums, like ‘666’, and my love for this band just grew. Demis Roussos seemed larger than life, full of joy and enthusiasm, happy to share his beautiful voice with the world.
When I decided to be DJ Esperanto, I made a rule for myself that (apart from instrumentals) I was only going to use songs that had foreign language vocals if I DJed or created any kind of list of songs to share with others. Today I am breaking my own personal, self-imposed edict as, although they sang in English, Aphrodite’s Child were quintessentially Greek and I that is one of the many reasons why I love them so much. I have put a few links to tracks I like. RIP Demis x