There is a certain lyrical grace in how Lina interprets these fourteen songs by the legendary Mikis Theodorakis. We glimpse what stirs her deep within. She is communion with the Greek spirit and thereby the spirit of the peoples of the world. She is passionate, mournful, vulnerable, and heroic. Something within her says she must sing these songs. Here amidst some of Greece’s greatest poets, Odysseas Elytis, Nikos Gatsos, Iakovos Kambanellis, Dionysis Karantzas, Lefteris Papadopoulos, Yiannis Ritsos, George Seferis and Yiannis Theodorakis, Lina has found her muse. Her singing is filled with beauty, despair, and collective memory. The composer himself marvels at her “interpretive perfection” for after all she is a third generation Greek American. Music and social history become one in her voice. Most of these songs were banned during the dictatorship years of 1967-1974, one was written during the composer’s adolescence and a few were composed in his late 70s. Perhaps the most critical challenge faced by Lina was which of her favorite Theodorakis songs to record. The listener familiar with Theodorakis will agree that Lina’s choices were suberp.
The inspired arrangements of Spiros Exaras draw most deeply upon Greek tradition even when shaking up and transforming this tradition. Spiros’ musicianship and that of the other artists, has been in the service of the songs and the spirit of the composer. His arrangements cover a vast Modern Greek musical geography and they do so with sparkling creativity.
The English translations by Gail Holst-Warhaft capture the lyricism and rhythms of the various poetic styles and periods that are the basis for these remarkable songs.