Did Athens just get a new anthem?
If every city has a signature song, Athens may just have gotten a new one. #Scoop.
Once while barreling down the Leoforos Posidonos highway by the offices of Kathimerini, I noticed a billboard for a singer who looked vaguely George Michael-esque. "Who is that?" I asked my friend, who replied in a heartbeat, "Konstantinos Argyros." Michael, of course, was half Greek (well, half Greek Cypriot to be precise) and though many pop culturists miss it, the Greek Cypriot character actually colored much of his œuvre. I don't know much about Argyros, who seems to have shaved the beard pictured on that billboard, but has also just dropped a lilting new track, Αθήνα Μου, or Athena Mou, which means "My Athens" and is kind of a love letter to Athens.
A new anthem, if you will.
We gave this a listen after one of our Cretan cool hunters sent us a link to the video, no explanation given. But that's OK—we like cryptic. The nifty thing about going into a song without understanding the words is that no messy thoughts separate you from the spirit that the music is trying to convey. The song begins with Argyros clad in black, Sicilian or Cretan folk style, but with a bit of John Travolta in the closing scene of (what else?) Grease going on, too. The setting is that of a retro Athenian kafeneio, or cafe. There's a bit of Parisian atmosphere here, and as if to underscore that he takes a drag on a cigarette, puts it out, and...thereafter any thoughts of France quickly fade.
The retro look cannot help but remind you of the most famous fake diner ever filmed, the one at the beginning of Michael Jackson's Beat It. You do remember this, right?
But not to digress too much, because meanwhile, back in the smoky green-walled kafeneio of Athena Mou things are heating up, emotions are running high and we think we hear references to the Hill of the Muses, or Filopappou Hill where we once almost stepped on a wild turtle, and from the top of which you have an unobstructed view of the Acropolis. And did we also hear Argyros say something about a gyros? Why not—after all, gyros is in his name. Perhaps having fueled up on a good one before the cameras started to roll, Argyros breaks out into a syrtaki dance, Zorba style, while an attractive Athenian woman looks on admiringly and joins in.
At around 2:09 in the clip some bouzouki twangs take over—a reference to the legendary bouzouki player Vassilis Tsitsanis—and Mr. Argyros starts to pull you in deep. Did he utter the Greek word for "night"? Sounds like it. Athens is at its best at night. You really ought to listen to stuff like this over a short glass of cold ouzo, one big ice cube in the middle and melodramatic thoughts of better times and imagined yacht runs to Skorpios on the side...
...and don't worry if the music covers up your wistful sighs. That's what it's for, right?
Konstantinos Argyros is signed with Panik Platinum records, Greece. You can follow the singer on Instagram here.