Zorba the Greek is one of the most known and characteristic Greek songs; it is instrumental with no lyrics involved, but has managed to captivate the hearts of both Greeks and foreigners and advertise Greece all over the world. The music is composed by the infamous and acclaimed composer Mikis Theodorakis, based on two traditional Cretan songs, “Armenohorianos Syrtos” and “Kritiko syrtaki”, composed by Giorgis Koutsourelis.
Alexis Zorbas – Zorba the Greek
Zorba the Greek is actually a novel written by the Cretan Author Nikos Kazantzakis. It was published in 1946 and refers to an English writer and intellectual who tries to escape his fixed and too square life with the help of a mysterious, bustling and boisterous man, called Alexis Zorbas.
The book was adapted into a movie in 1964, starring Antony Quinn, who you can see at the embedded video dancing the main theme and most known theme of the movie. The movie, for the records, won three Academy Awards: Lila Kedrova won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Vassilis Fotopoulos won for Best Art Direction and Walter Lassally won for Best Cinematography in black-and-white.
The movie was shot in Crete in Greece; the most famous scene though, where Antony Quinn dances his sirtaki dance was shot at the beach of Stavros in Akrotiri peninsula in Crete. The song danced by Quinn is known as Armenohorianos Sirtos, and is commonly played and danced in taverns in Greece and abroad; according to many journals and websites from abroad, it is probably the most recognizable Greek song and Greek sound, existing as a trademark from Greece.
Sirtaki dance has become very popular among foreigners just because of this song. It is not a traditional dance as thought, but a combination of slow and fast pace, a faster version of hasapiko dance. The popular culture created by Alexis Zorbas and his sirtaki dance can be noticed in many places in the world; the Yankees, for instance, have been using the Zorba Sirtaki Theme in their stadium to incite crowds during the rally of the home team.