Scents of Greece
There are many similarities between Italy and Greece, from the transmission of the ancient Hellenic culture to the Roman culture, and the old regime slogan “one face one race”. Music also helped to cement a friendship, especially during the time that both nationalities were emerging from economic underdevelopment to savour the first fruits of affluence.
First and foremost, there were two internationally important films that made audiences aware of the richness of not only a folk heritage, but also original work, in the wake of what was happening in the more advanced countries: Never on Sunday (directed by Jules Dassin, 1960) and Zorba the Greek (directed by Michael Cacoyannis, 1964).
Both made use of very striking soundtracks that contained two songs that became global hits: the title track for the first film, known by the English title of Never on Sunday (Uno a te uno a me) with the voice of Melina Mercouri. With this, the composer Manos Hatzidakis, also author of Rosa d 'Atene (launched by Nana Mouskouri), won the Oscar for the Best Original Song.
The second film launched Zorba's dance, the "sirtaki," which earned Mikis Theodorakis a nomination for Best Soundtrack. Both pieces are included in this collection in the most accredited version, that of Dalida. Theodorakis, one of the most important contemporary composers as well as an intellectual and politician forced into exile by the colonels' regime, also wrote Un fiume amaro, a huge hit for Iva Zanicchi; Un venerdì di sera, Sogno di libertà and Il ragazzo che sorride, dedicated to a fighter for the Irish cause and brought to the limelight by Al Bano in a film of the same name (with a completely different setting). Theodorakis' songs have been recorded by Milva, Edmonda Aldini and Iva Zanicchi in as many wonderful albums.