Giannis Koutras sings To mahairi, a famous Greek song which means “The dagger” in English. It is a song written by Nikos Kavvadias and composed by Thanos Mikroutsikos.
Nikos Kavadias was a Greek poet, renowned for the poems he wrote, based on his nautical experiences. Kavadias was a Greek born abroad; he returned to Greece as a child with his family, finished school and started working for a shipping company. Still in his 20s, he went on board as a sailor this time with a freighter. He was travelling for a long time with several ships, stopping only for a few years during the Second World War. He died from stroke on board. Kavadias wrote poems about his life and the lives of the sailors when shipping abroad; his poems stand out for their amazing depiction of the nautical life and its harsh moments, but also for the mixture of nautical – slang language with the regular spoken Greek language that actually accentuated the effect of his words.
The song “To mahairi” is a perfect example of these poems, as its lyrics refer to a dagger he bought from Algiers, its long history and meaning. Although this song is not directly associated with his life as a sailor, the influences are more than evident in his verses – narration, which is full of legends, stories and myths, things that affect and influence the lives of sailors.
The song was originally sung by Vassilis Papakonstantinou.
Lyrics: Nikos Kavadias
Music: Thanos Mikroutsikos
Performed by: Giannis Koutras
Other performances: Giorgos Dalaras, Alkestis Protopsalti, Giannis Kotsiras