May 19 2011: Unidentified Greek Single by Μαρίζα Κωχ (Minos, c.1971)

From a small pile of Greek singles bought at Colwick a week or so back, nearly all of them titled in Greek, and so impossible to identify who or what the performers and songs are: this one is most likely by Mariza Kox, though what the songs are called is anyone’s guess. Either way, both sides feature beautiful, expressive songs with plenty to locate them on the edge of Europe, halfway to a sound more often associated with North Africa and the Middle East, perhaps, with hints at something ancient in the percussion.

I see a lot of Greek records around, usually either soundtracks (clearly, the popularity of Never On Sunday and Zorba is not to be underestimated) or rather bluntly aimed at tourists, as cheesy souvenirs of package holidays. These 45s are neither, though: according to stickers on the labels, most came from Valentine Record Shop on Limassol, and appear geared more to local markets than tourist or export sales. The tortoiseshell-effect coloured vinyl is seen in about two thirds of the 45s, on several different labels.

If anyone can read Greek and knows what these particular songs are it would be lovely to find out.

2 Responses to “May 19 2011: Unidentified Greek Single by Μαρίζα Κωχ (Minos, c.1971)”
  1. wayneburrows says:

    One of the joys of posting things online is the way you can find out things you’d never have managed to uncover yourself. The following information came courtesy of the poet Maria Taylor:

    The sleeved image side has a hard to translate title but it’s actually a rather souped up version of a traditional song about an item of clothing called a ‘vraka’, black baggy men’s trousers. The title translates as ’40 Piches dimito’; dimito is a the name of the fabric they used to make these trousers from, a bit like cotton, black for men, and the piches bit is an unit of measurement which my mother tells me is from roughly finger to shoulder as they didn’t use tape measures. The other song’s title translates as ‘Lafina’ but I need to hear it again…

    Maria also confirms the identity of the singer as noted, but adds that the correct version is Mariza Koch – and with that information, it’s been possible to locate more clips and songs.

    She represented Greece at Eurovision in 1976, for example, with a song that Michael Aspel describes in an intro as “a bleak look at the future” and Maria explains is a statement against the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Far from her best effort musically, to be sure, but today’s Eurovision could only be improved by the inclusion of more songs fitting these descriptions…

  2. Aussie0zborn says:

    Yes the singer is Mariza Koch (it’s a German surname). This is a single form her first album “Arabas” (‘Carriage’) from 1971 which contains tradtional Greek folk songs done is a psychedelic rock / folk rock style which probably explains the colored vinyl. The two songs are :

    “Η ΛΑΦΙΝΑ” ‘Mother Doe’
    “ΣΑΡΑΝΤΑ ΠΙΧΕΣ ΔΙΜΙΤΟ” ‘Forty Yards Of Twill’

    Mariza has a remarkable voice and could easily have been an opera singer. Her later style was focused on folk music in the traditional style.

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