Konstantinos Argiros' "My Athens": A Musical Ode to Longing and Nostalgia

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Four years ago today, Konstantinos Argiros, one of the most successful artists of his generation and a shining star in Greek music, released a new zeibekiko titled "My Athens" (Αθήνα Μου).

This latest release by Panik Platinum is a heartfelt dedication to the Greek capital city, intertwined with the theme of searching for lost love. Written by Lefteris Kintatos, the song resonates with genuine emotions, social commentary, and a deep sense of pride for Athens.

"My Athens" quickly gained traction upon its release on YouTube, amassing a staggering 57 million views within four years. The accompanying music video, directed by Giannis Dimolitsa, evokes nostalgia for old Athens, drawing inspiration from the timeless classics of Greek music pioneers.

In the video, Argiros portrays a working-class man, his soul weighed down by longing, who seeks solace in a traditional tavern as he searches desperately for his beloved amidst the bustling streets of the capital.

It's worth highlighting that the music video for "My Athens" pays homage to the iconic film "Evdokia" (1971) by Alexis Damianos, adding another layer of depth and cultural significance to Argiros's artistic expression.

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The Meaning Behind the Song

"Αθήνα μου" (Athina mou), translating to "My Athens" in English, delves into the essence of the city of Athens through its poignant lyrics. The song serves as a lyrical journey through the emotions and experiences of the singer within the bustling metropolis.

The verses vividly depict the sights and sounds of Athens, painting a picture of narrow streets leading to Filopappou, the city slowing down on Saturday nights, the scent of jasmine-filled balconies, and the melody of old Greek songs echoing through the night. These details contribute to the overall atmosphere of longing and nostalgia that permeates the song.

The chorus employs the metaphor of the singer as a lone wolf howling in the night, symbolizing their feelings of loneliness and yearning. Additionally, the lyrics suggest a sense of adversity, with even the weather seemingly conspiring against the singer, as the rain refuses to turn into hail, instead bringing a bittersweetness to their plight.

Continuing into the second verse, the song maintains its melancholic tone, with references to the passage of time and the feeling of being mentally imprisoned. The repetition of the search for someone or something underscores the theme of longing and the quest for connection within the cityscape of Athens.

In essence, "Αθήνα μου" (Athina mou) encapsulates a profound sense of longing, solitude, and desperation within the framework of Athens. Through its evocative lyrics and emotive delivery, the song offers listeners a glimpse into the complex emotions that arise amidst the urban landscape, resonating deeply with those who have experienced similar sentiments within the city.

Lyrics:

Χαμένος κάπου στα στενά προς Φιλοπάππου
εδώ που η πόλη καταφέρνει να μην βιάζεται
στο κέντρο άρχισε ο γύρος του θανάτου , βράδυ Σαββάτου
Ένας αέρας να τρυπάει το κορμί μου, εγώ βρεγμένος πιο πολύ απ´ την καμπαρτίνα μου,
μα σε ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα στην Αθήνα μου.

Από το πάρκο με έχει πάρει το ντουμάνι
απ´ τα μπαλκόνια γιασεμί και νυχτολούλουδα
μια ξεκούρδιστη λατέρνα ίσα που πιάνει το Τσιτσάνη.

Τόσα χρόνια κάθε βράδυ και δε φτάνει κάποιος θα έλεγε πως έγινε ρουτίνα μου
μα σε ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα στην Αθήνα μου.
Λύκος στη νύχτα η μοναξιά που ουρλιάζει
απόψε μέχρι και ο καιρός μαζί μου τα ´βαλε
και αφού η βροχή ποτέ δεν έγινε χαλάζι , γλυκοχαράζει.

Έχουν περάσει μήνες που είσαι μακρυά μου
και έχει θολώσει η κούκλα που είχα στη βιτρίνα μου
μα σε ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα στην Αθήνα μου.

Χτυπάει η καμπάνα πένθιμα του Λουμπαρδιάρη
σα να μου λέει πως και σήμερα το χάσαμε
έχει γυρίσει στη φωλιά του το φεγγάρι και εγώ χαμπάρι.

Σ’ ένα παγκάκι με τα χέρια μαξιλάρι
με έχει δεμένο το μυαλό στη γκιλοτίνα μου
μα σε ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα στην Αθήνα μου.

Λύκος στη νύχτα η μοναξιά που ουρλιάζει
απόψε μέχρι και ο καιρός μαζί μου τα ´βαλε
και αφού η βροχή ποτέ δεν έγινε χαλάζι , γλυκοχαράζει.
Έχουν περάσει μήνες που είσαι μακρυά μου
και έχει θολώσει η κούκλα που είχα στη βιτρίνα μου
μα σε ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα στην Αθήνα μου
μα σε ψάχνω απεγνωσμένα στην Αθήνα μου.

Lyric Translation:

Lost somewhere on the roads close to Philopappou,
to the city that manages not to rush,
in the centre on Saturday night began the round of death.

Air pierces through my body, I'm wetter then my trench coat,
but I'm desperately looking for you, in my Athens.

A smell of smoke comes from the park,
Jasmine and night flowers smell from the balconies,
A barrel piano out of tune is barely even playing Tsitsanis.

All these years and every night but it's not enough,
Someone would say that this has become my routine,
but I'm desperately looking for you, in my Athens.

Loneliness is a wolf howling at night,
Even the weather is against me tonight.
And since rain never became hail, it's sweeten.

It's been months since you've been away from me,
and the baby doll I had in my shop window is fading away,
but I'm desperately looking for you, in my Athens.

The bell at Lampadiaris church is ringing mournfully,
It's like it's telling me we lost once again today,
The moon has returned to its nest but I still haven't noticed it.

In a bench with my hands as a pillow,
My mind has me tied up in my guillotine,
But I'm looking for you desperately, in my Athens.

Loneliness is a wolf howling at night,
Even the weather is against me tonight.
And since rain never became hail, it's sweetened.

It's been months since you've been away from me,
and the baby doll I had in my shop window is fading away,
but I'm desperately looking for you, in my Athens,
but I'm desperately looking for you in my Athens.

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