Nana Mouskouri Says Goodbye To Hania

The farewell concert last night from Nana Mouskouri was very good, bearing in mind that Nana was born on the 13th of October 1934 in Hania and today is 73 years old.

Nana Mouskouri in Hania

Nana Mouskouri in Hania

She sang very well and we enjoyed the concert tremendously in spite of the fact that twice the generator broke down and everything was plunged into darkness. Nana and her band took up a few acoustic instruments and kept on singing though. Once the generator was fixed, a woman collapsed in the crowd and was stretchered out. But still the music kept on coming, many of the old favourites – in greek, of course.

Nana at the Hania Harbour

Nana at the Hania Harbour

When Nana was young and learning to sing it was found that she had one vocal chord thicker than the other, it made it harder to learn but it still gives her voice that wonderful distinctiveness. She has had a long stage life, been a UNICEF ambassador as well and sang for Luxembourg in the Eurovision song contest many years ago in 1963.

But Nana is still a greek and her parents – Dad was a cinema projectionist and Mum an usherette, managed to get her noticed and into the famous Conservatoire where she learned classical music and to sing opera. Later she teamed up with the famous greek writer and musician, Manos Hadjidakis who wrote many of her songs.

For me, I will always remember the ‘White Rose of Athens’ and now she was given a huge bunch of white flowers and last night in Hania she said goodbye to the town of her birth and walked away to tremendous applause.

Goodbye from Nana

Goodbye from Nana

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Film of Hania in 1961

In 1961 a cruise ship called the Queen Frederica set out from the United States to visit Crete. On board were a large number of American Cretans coming to see again – or see for the first time, perhaps, their homeland.

Luckily, one man had what we used to call a Super 8 movie camera. The kind that takes 8mm wide film that you have to have developed professionally. He took some film of the trip and what they saw and where they went in Crete. These old movies, amateur movies but well filmed have now been converted by a man called John Sooklaris in America, and submitted via Youtube for me to display here on my Cretan website. John, thanks for doing this, these films are quite unique and priceless.

The first movie that I am putting on here is of the city of Hania and around in 1961. This was five years before I came to Crete over forty years ago. The film is wonderful, it shows the squares and the Agora and some of the beach between the city and the Akrotiri peninsular. It is ten minutes long. Remember that in 1961, Hania was the capital of Crete. It was changed to Iraklion in 1975. So here is the movie in the days before tourism.

I hope that you enjoyed it and I will be posting more of this 1961 trip very soon.