Dimitris Mitropanos: The relationship with Zabetta, the great folk songs and the story of the forgotten “Roza”

, one of the most important voices of the Greek pentagram that Greece made with a huge route to the folk song. His characteristic sound-coloured, his primordial lavender and the special way he sang made Dimitris Metropolitan dear around the world. His passion in his songs spoke directly to the hearts of listeners. A man measured in his words, blemish, humble and respectful for his colleagues, without ominous and unnecessary chalice. For a decent man with measure and morality, warm and generous that was characterized by modesty, hard work and magnanimousness, those who knew him intimately and those who did not have the luck would confirm the same. A performer who never wanted to copy anyone, collaborated with huge composers and songwriters and those who trusted him with lyrics and melodies, saw their works stand upright and dignified over the years. Dimitris Mitropanos was born in Agia Moni, a district outside Trikala on 2 April 1948. After the third high school, in 1964, he went down to Athens to live with his uncle on Acharnon Street. Before finishing high school he started working as a singer. At the same age, at the urging of Gregory Bithikotsis, whom he met at a meeting of his uncle’s company, at which he sang, he visited Columbia. There he will meet him, next to whom he will work in the “Day”. “In Columbia I first came in 1965. It happened that a friend of my uncle who lived in Athens with him met Kazantzidis. We went to his house and I sang. He told me it would be good to deal with the song. A month later, at a gathering in the Plakiotiko lounge I sang and was listened to by Bithikotsis, who took me to Columbia, the company. I came here to do a test. It happened that day that it was Zabetas, recording something and accompanied me to the song to sing a song,” Dimitris Metropolitan told the show Streets of ERT. Zabetta mentions him as his great teacher and second father. As he has stated: “Zabettas is the only person in the song who helped me without expecting anything. With all my other associates I got something and I gave something.” In 1966 the Metropolitan meets, by chance, for the first time with Mikis Theodorakis and performs, in the place of another artist parts from “Romania” and “Axion Esti” in a series of concerts in Greece and Cyprus. “In 1966 Mikis Theodorakis decides to perform some concerts. He told me I should come sing. The first concert took place in 1966, a Great Monday at the Palace Theatre in Thessaloniki. Then we toured Greece and Cyprus and ended up in Lycavittos, one week the entire work of Mikis was presented. At that time, I sang the Roman and the Worthy Esti, when Bithikotsis did not exist, of course. In the concerts that Bithikotsis was singing songs from other circles,” Metropolitan told the same show. In 1967 the Metropolitan recorded his first 45th album, with the song “Thessaloniki”. The recording of the song “Lost Easter” had preceded, but it was censored by Junta and never released. In 1972 there was an important station in the music career of Dimitris Mitropanos. The composer Municipality of Moutsis and the poet – songwriter Manos Eleftheriou released “Saint February”, with performers Metropolitan and Petri Salpea, marking a station in Greek music. They followed “The Way to Kythira” by George Katsaros and “The Synaxarias” by Giorgos Hatzinassios, works with an impact on the public. During his long course in the Greek song, Dimitris Mitropanos collaborated with the greatest creators of the song. The very important collaboration with Thanos Mikroutsikos with the album “In the Century of Paraga”, in Alki Alkaou lyrics, Costas Lacha, Lina Nikolakopoulou and Giorgos Kakoulidis, is a turn of the performer on even more “artificial” routes, maintaining again the identity of the folk. On September 10, 2009 he gave his first personal concert at Herodos Attikos Conservatory, with a program – a flashback in his 40 years of artistic career. A historical concert, recorded and released on a double album by Minos – EMI entitled “The songs of my life”. His last record work was released in the summer of 2011 entitled “Here we are”, in music Stamatis Kraounakis . In June 2012, the album – tribute is released to composer Mario Toka entitled “Sun Red”, in which Dimitris Metropolitan participates among others with three songs (“The Loneliness The Slaves”, “Write Me Something”, “There are Something Melodies”). These songs in Toka’s music are the last recorded by Dimitris Mitropanos and even a few days before his death. His great, timeless successes were the songs “I Look for You in Saloniki”, “Always Laughing”, “Roza”, “The Ladadika”. Dimitris Metropolitan married twice. First with Fanny Stamatis and then with Venia Metropolitan, with whom she had two daughters, Anastasia and Myrsin. On April 17, 2012, the great Greek performer was taken to hospital Health with acute diarrhea syndrome and vomiting. There he experienced pulmonary oedema and was transferred to the Intensive Treatment Unit, where he left his last breath at 11:00 in the morning, at the age of 64. His funeral took place on 19 April 2012, at the First Cemetery of Athens. “Roza”: The forgotten zeibekiko that Harris Alexiou passed by, was taken by the Metropolitan and became an anthem Many are the songs that have their own history and Rosa is undoubtedly one of them. As long as one thinks Rosa had been in a drawer for 20 years… In 1976, the poet Alkis Alkaios had sent his poem “The Rosa”, to Thanos Mikruccikos to study it. The famous composer then lived in an apartment in Athens. The day he got involved in music the time was past and somewhat inappropriate for recording. Thanos Mikroutsikos, respecting the tenants, recorded the piece by pressing on the piano’s surdina – an accessory that adapts to the string instruments to “suffer” the sound – . The result was not the best possible. Thanos Mikroutsikos played Rosa, among others, in Haroula Alexiou, but the poor quality of sound seems not to have convinced the great performer so that she passed the track without wanting to perform it. And that’s how Rosa returned to the drawer… Thanos Mikroutsikos first meets Dimitris Mitropanos in 1996 in the album “In the century the shack” in lyrics Alki Alkaiou, Costas Lacha, Lina Nikolakopoulou and Giorgos Kakoulidis. When Thanos Mikroutsikos’ ministerial term ended in the Ministry of Culture with Andreas Papandreou’s government, the well-known composer was looking for an performer for his new album. His collaboration with Dimitris Mitropanos was decided during an honorary celebration organized by the company for the return of Mikroutsikos to music events. At that time at the company was employed by music producer Elias Benettos, who heard the forgotten Rosa and decided to take her out of oblivion. Dimitris Metropolitan sang Rosa, used to throw a few turns when he sang her, and all Greece with him. Beyond Rosa and other major hits included in the album such as “Always Laughing”, “For a Dolores”. “Roza” was immediately a success, the album was one of the most commercials of the last twenty years and this particular zeibekiko caused many men to get out of their chair and throw their turns. As for Rosa’s identity of the song, Alkis Alcaeus never revealed whether she was the iconic revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.