Greek: Μικης Θεοδωρακης
Who: Composer and songwriter.
Birthplace: Chios, Greece
Born: July 29, 1925
Mikis Theodorakis is one of the greatest composers and song writers in Modern Greece. He is most popularly known for his score in the film Zorba the Greek, which has become one of the most popular Greek songs. Theodorakis spent his early years on the Greek countryside becoming familiar with folk music and music of the Greek Orthodox Church and after hearing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony one day he decided to become a composer. It was during WWII where Mikis began his lifelong struggle for freedom.
During the 1940′s to the 1960′s Theodorakis wrote and composed many songs, most of which were concerning political motives and the struggle for freedom. In 1967 a right wing Junta took power in Greece, who immediately banned playing, and even listening to Theodorakis music. Theodorakis was soon arrested a few months after the regime took over and was in jail for five months and banished to Zatouna with his wife and kids. On a request to the French government Theodorakis went into exile in Paris in 1970. While in exile, Theodorakis fought for four years for the overthrow of the colonels and gave hundreds of concerts worldwide as part of his struggle to restore democracy in Greece. When the regime fell in 1974 Theodorakis returned to a hero’s welcome where ten thousand people gathered at the Athens airport to greet him.
Realizing the fragility of the new democracy in Greece Theodorakis was eager to preserve it and thus became actively involved in the public affairs of Greece and was elected several times to the Greek parliament (1981-1986 and 1989-1993). In 1983 he was awarded the Lenin Prize for peace and would continue to promote many causes at all of his concert, such as opposing the use of atomic energy, the abuse of democracy and human rights in Turkey, forming a committee for Greek-Turkish friendship, the Cyprus problem and more. Recently, in December of 2010 he gave a speech to 10,000 people criticizing the Greek government for the loan debt it has taken from the International Monetary Fund, and openly calling for a revolution.
Mikis Theodorakis – History Channel Documentary (Modern Greeks):