It’s now official: Hadjidakis is in cyberspace

I am the offspring of two people who, I know, never collaborated, except for the time when they decided to create me. That’s why I carry inside me thousands of contrasts and all of God’s difficulties,» Manos Hadjidakis discloses in a biography included in a newly set up official website on the master composer. «I passionately love unorthodox and hunted individuals,» he goes on to say. The website, bilingual in Greek and English, includes numerous documents – unpublished and published – penned by the composer, which shed valuable light on his monumental body of work and character. It was launched earlier this week, on Wednesday, October 23, Hadjidakis’s birthday. An immaculately constructed effort that steers clear of dullness and excessively academic jargon, the website, like Hadjidakis himself, is unpredictable and full of surprises. Plugging in either or, the visitor enters another world. «It’s a type of digital documentary,» Giorgos Hadjidakis, the composer’s son, said at an event held to launch the website. «Manos Hadjidakis dwells in a setting that is natural to him – cyberspace,» he added, while referring to the composer’s fondness for technology. The website accumulates contributions by various individuals, including Giorgos Hadjidakis, G. Damianos, deceased colleague Manos Loizos, Aphroditi Daskalaki, G. Goumas, and Tita Daskalaki, who coordinated the effort. With one of the artist’s countless prominent works, «Gioconda’s Smile,» playing as a musical backdrop, the visitor has access to various categories, including the artist’s biography, discography, contact, news, documents and Seirios, the high-caliber label founded by Hadjidakis in reaction to the music industry. Landmark moments in Hadjidakis’s life are included, such as his historic speech on rebetiko in 1949, which, while endorsing a peripheral musical movement expressing urban lower-class sentiments, roused a storm of reaction from the conservative Greek middle class. Also included is unpublished text from a forthcoming publication titled «Imerologio.» The portal’s «discography» category is splintered into three major movements: original versions, Manos Hadjidakis as a producer, and songs released as seven-inch singles and old 78s. The «documents» section is divided into seven sub-categories, including unpublished scores, manuscripts, photos – where the composer can be heard talking about himself – and various sound and audio documents, including an interview with the leftist radio station 90.2 FM. A section titled «Manos Hadjidakis the Citizen» is particularly interesting. Included here is an article by Fotis Apergis based on writings by the composer, unpublished letters, personal insights, and interviews. Overall, the article portrays Hadjidakis as an active citizen, one whose interventions are nowadays missed more than ever before. Also of interest, considering the current developments regarding terrorism in Greece, is the reference, in the «citizen» section, to Hadjidakis’s participation in a concert against the «animalistic November 17» urban guerrilla group. And, indicative of this man’s complex, multifaceted nature, Hadjidakis’s participation in a rally organized by a group called Anarchist Initiative is also documented. «Above all, however, and behind all the comments, the dates, and unpublished documents, lies one overall quality throughout the site: the true, profound signs of a personality that offered poetic shape to another type of Greece, a place divided by the deepest of differences, and also united by the deepest of feelings and elevated hope,» noted Apergis during the website’s launch. «Back then, stupidity and ignorance had not acquired as much political and social significance as today… And that’s yet another reason for somebody to refer to the example of Hadjidakis, with the hope that politics have not plummeted forever from 114 [a term widely used by local human rights advocates in the 1960s, from an article in the Constitution] to 4×4 [luxury jeeps].»