I awoke Wednesday morning to find out unexpected news. I must even admit, there were tears that came to my eyes, as I read the Greek news in disbelief. A morning that I will never forget, April 17, 2012, the world lost one its greatest talents and human beings in general. Dimitris Mitropanos, or as all of my friends and parea like to call him, Theo Mitso, passed away after suffering a heart attack caused by a pulmonary edema. He was an influence to generations of Greeks around the world. His voice and songs gave hope, comfort and solace for a people, who at most times, consistently had to cope with harsh surroundings. The world will never experience such character, talent and for lack of a better word in English, Mangia.
Mitropanos was born in Trikala, Greece and began his musical career in 1964. His career took off from there and he quickly became a hit, as he appealed to the masses with his first cd Laiki Parelasi (1971). From that point on he went on to create 39 albums, with his last one being Tragoudia Mias Zois (2009). This album consisted of songs throughout his career along with appearances of other famous artists in Greek Music. He was the type of performer that by saying one word could do anything he wanted to the crowd. He was respected and loved by all who knew him and listed to him as well, as he was such a huge influence to all. My personal favorite album of his is Laika ‘76 (1976). THE GREATEST SONG EVER WRITTEN IS ON THIS ALBUM AND IT IS CALLED DUO NYXTES.
As far as personal experience, I can only say that I have seen him once live. It’s a crazy story actually. He came to America on July 1, 2010 to NYC to perform at Radio City Music Hall. I remember it like it was yesterday down to every single detail and I will never forget it until the day I die. My entire group of friends and family decided to go all together and we had an entire row of seats bought for the concert. We hit so much traffic on the way that we thought that we would miss it all together. As the time closed in on the opening curtain, we all began to worry if we would actually make it; from that point insanity ensued. Turns out, we ended up being on time and the show was an unforgettable experience. We never saw such passion in a performer, and it showed when he came out for an encore that lasted for a half hour. He was truly an entertainer for the people and we remain close to all of our hearts as long as we all live. His songs are pure feelings and can touch the lives of anyone who listens to them. He will truly be missed.
In closing, I just wanted to say how much I truly admired the man’s style, charisma and talents. Like I said in the beginning of this post, “the world lost one its greatest talents and human beings”. That is not an exaggeration. I challenge anyone to come to me 30 years from now and tell me that anyone has or will ever come close to Mitropanos’ talent. If that happens, I will be thankful that there would be someone who can continue to entertain us and inspire us the way that “Theo Mitso” did. But until then, know that there will be a void the size of Thessaloniki in the Greek Music world until then. Some one said to me yesterday “Τουλάχιστον θα μάθει στον ΠΟΥΣΤΗ ΤΟΝ ΧΑΡΟ να χόρευει ζειμπέκικο για να καταλάβει ποιόν πήρε…” which translates into, “Atleast he will teach that Ass Death how to dance zeimbekiko so death can understand who he just took from us…” No words could ever be more true.
Mitso, Kalo Taxidi. You will be missed and remembered by all of us.
Dimitris Mitropanos – April 2, 1948 – April 17, 2012