A sea of people filled the front courtyard of the church in central Athens cemetery. Thousands of relatives, friends and admirers gathered to pay their last tribute to Dimitris Mitropanos. The last applause did not differ at all from all that he had received in his long musical career. The only difference was that his voice was missing.
Old men of advanced age, middle-aged men and women, many young people and children with flowers or just a rose in their hands were standing for hours under the hot sun to send their favourite singer to his last home. Among them were many of his colleagues and associates.
"I am deeply hurt mainly because I lost a friend. A man with very high morals and a great singer. As you can see, he is probably the only Greek singer loved by all. And it is very important. I would like to be close to his wife and children because they were the stable pillars in his life," said composer Thanos Mikroutsikos, the author of the notorious "Rose" and other hits of Mitropanos.
Musicians with grizzled hair shared stories of the times when they had worked with the singer at various venues. Each of them was telling of a story and, despite the sorrow, a smile appeared on their faces when they remembered something funny.
"Dimitris Mitropanos was a friend, brother and collaborator to me. We were close to each other in the last 40 years. My first major success as an owner of a restaurant in Greece was due to Mitropanos. He was an eagle and flew away. He went through so much difficulty without a good reason. I mean, that he endured so many operations and ultimately, he passed away for a different reason. None of us can believe it happened. This is a huge loss not only for Greek song, but also because of his human side. Such people are rare nowadays," said Steve Kaketsis, one of the most famous owners of nightclubs with live music in Athens.
Among the many living legends of Greek popular song was perhaps the most typical representative of the rebetiko music genre Babis Tsertos. "I cannot say we were friends. We worked together in some TV shows and concerts. Dimitris Mitropanos was an important singer, but I think what is the most important is that he was a wonderful person. In the public domain today there are few people who have the modesty and morality of Dimitris. Unfortunately, death is merciless and I do not know if you have noticed, but among all these difficulties Greece is going through, we have lost many artists recently. However, I am an optimist by nature. I believe these people have "sown" good things for the younger and I hope that through the work of the older and younger, our country will stand on its own two feet again."
What distinguished Dimitris Mitropanos from other colleagues - representatives of the older generation was that he sang along with young artists. Many of them owe him their rise in the career and they were fortunate to work with such a "teacher".
"To my great regret, I rarely worked together with Dimitris - only at a few concerts. Some time ago, he offered me to work together twice, but I had already made arrangements with other colleagues and am not the kind of person who would violate them, no matter how much I wanted to.
I respected and still respect him because he will remain immortal as a man and artist. He sang with his heart and soul and I think that along with this, his beautiful and powerful male voice distinguished him more than the rest. The masculinity, modesty, candour and the essence he was looking for could be clearly seen in his performances. As a person, he was also very modest and that is why he got so much love from the people as few others have received.
I am a big fan of his. Dimitris had the chance to sing many and beautiful songs, collaborate with many important people in music. He was surely pleased with his achievements in music and with what he gave to the public. The gap left behind him is large and it will never be filled," said Gerasimos Andreatos.
He was one of the young singers who walked in the steps of his elder peers, without being influenced by "fashionable" trends in Greek music. "Yes, we are trying to continue with these songs. But what we cannot inflence, because it does not depend on us, is where the people running the media and culture are taking us. I have no confidence in them because we see how everything that is Greek, real, masculine, candid, deserving and modest is being left side. Instead, things that have no essence, distort our sense of aesthetics, our culture and intellect and morality, and often our customs are being pushed forward. Songs that have nothing in common with popular songs are called this way. More than apparent are the influences of pop music and children's songs, which blend to create hits, often with silly lyrics. Then follow the sound of foreign songs and foreign manners of making music are being copied. This is not accidental and it makes me fear for the future of Greek song. Dimitris Mitropanos upheld it and kept it alive to the end.
I mean that it will be very difficult to replace him, because when he was doing something new, no matter whether they were unwilling to support him, they could not ignore him. Because he had such a presence, influence and authority, that no one could dispute it. We, the young ones, do not have this influence. We would like to have it and we are trying to achieve it by composing good songs and by seeking ways for these songs to reach the people."
Dimitris Mitropanos was sent off with a song, just as he lived his entire life.
Tags: MusicDimitris MitropanosGreek popular musicSingerFuneral
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.