Erotiko – Haris Alexiou

Haris Alexiou sings “Erotiko“, a famous Greek song meaning “Erotic. The song has a second title, “Me mia piroga”, which means “With a Pirogue”.

Erotiko,  is one of the most distinctive Greek Songs, massively loved by the Greeks. It is also one of the most contradictory songs in Greek Music, as the lyrics written by the poet Alkis Alkeos are quite vague and leave much room for interpretations.

According to the majority, Erotiko is above all a Love song, referring to the loss of love. The poet acknowledges the loss as his love is far: “Which string of nights has taken away your light ..? and in which galaxy shall i spot you..?”  Stuck far away, the poet tries to deny, three times, his love, which is already torn in half by the distance and the void between them.

The end finds the poet again in reality, in “Attica, a dreary quarry“, away from his dream and his love, who is found somewhere at the land of the Visigoths, a place strange and inhospitable. The poet creates a dreamy setting in his song; an epicedium where a tormented country meets a tormented soul.

According to a second interpretation, the song refers to Greece, naming it as Antigone, the tragic heroine of Sophocles, condemned by her destiny to be sacrificed believing in her heart’s laws, rather than laws imposed by humans. There are symbolisms referring to the anguished and persecuted religion of the Greeks, “I brought you fresh water from Delphi ” and the effort to restrict the free spirited Mediterranean poeple “how can the Mediterranean sea be tied with ropes“… The political nuance of the song refers mostly to a declining civilization. The shining marbles of Attica became gray… a land considered cheap and unimportant, “where foreign troops are cursing as they train“.

Regardless of the meaning and the interpretation, it would be wrong to divide them that much; Erotiko is a love song, dedicated to some lost love, far away from the country whose shine is fading out. This is the main advantage of poetry anyway: including images, allegoric meanings and sounds that depict reality in a few words.

Erotiko is the creation of Thanos Mikroutsikos and Alkis Alkeos, originally performed by Haris Alexiou in a live concert; the song was, though, recorded first with Manolis Mitsias and since then was sung by known and less known performers.


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