Georges Moustaki

“Le Métèque” est mort. Georges Moustaki died, May 23, 2013. We all know him as the singer of “Le Métèque”, we all know his voice. We all know this song. “Le Métèque”, translated literally “The Stranger”, but maybe it would be better to use the word “Alien”, or “Foreigner”.

Not so easy to translate in the right way. But maybe the following paragraph explains why he must have felt different, a stranger. He has been among strangers, others, different speaking people, so much that maybe he felt being “Le Métèque”. When searching for the lyrics, I found also an English translation. There I read that métèque has been translated in “metic”. Not knowing that word I searched and found a beautiful explanation, that fits very well within my own view:

In ancient Greece, the term metic (Greek métoikos: from metá, indicating change, and oîkos “dwelling”) referred to a resident alien, one who did not have citizen rights in his or her Greek city-state (polis) of residence.

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Le Métèque / The Metic ~ Lyrics in English

with my mouth of a metic
of a wandering Jew, of a Greek shepherd
and my hair with the four winds
with my totally diluted eyes
that put me in a dreaming state
me, that doesn’t dream much anymore
with my hands of a petty thief
of a musician and of a prowler
who plundered so many gardens
with my mouth that drank
that kissed and bit
without ever appeasing its hunger

with my mouth of a metic
of a wandering Jew, of a Greek shepherd
of a thief and of a vagrant
with my skin that rubbed
with the sun of all the summers
and all that wore underskirt
with my heart that knew how to
whistle as much as it suffered
without making storied for that
with my soul that no longer has
the least chance to greet
to avoid the purgatory

with my mouth of a metic
of a wandering Jew, of a Greek shepherd
and my hair with the four winds
I will come, my sweet prisoner
my soul mate, my source of life
I will come to drink your twenty years
and I’ll become the prince of blood
a dreamer or even a teenager
as you will like to choose
and we will make of everyday
all the eternity of love
that we will live till we die

and we will make of everyday
all the eternity of love
that we will live till we die

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Le Métèque, his life journey                                                                                                      

His life story is told in more than one version. EuroNews sais: “Born in Greece, from Italian speaking parents, he was brought up in Egypt.” Wiki: Georges Moustaki (born Giuseppe Mustacchi) May 3, 1934 – May 23, 2013) was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on May 3, 1934. His parents, Sarah and Nessim Moustaki came originally from the island of Corfu, Greece, and were Greek Sephardic Jews, but they moved to Alexandria, Egypt, where Georges learned French. They had a bookshop in the cosmopolitan city where many communities lived together.

At home, everyone spoke Italian. In the street, the children spoke Arabic. At school, young Giuseppe learned and spoke French. His parents were very attached to French culture and put him into a French school, along with his sisters.
Moustaki went to Paris in 1951 and was inspired by the young Georges Brassens. He changed his name to Georges Moustaki, in honor of him.
Moustaki sang songs in French, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Arabic.

Georges Moustaki married at twenty and had a large family in France, Brazil and Venezuela.

Moustaki gave up performing in 2009, revealing he was suffering from an incurable bronchial illness.

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Moustaki

Georges Moustaki died on May 23, 2013 in Nice, France, after a long period of illness. His wish is to be buried in Alexandria, Egypt.

The world will remember him as a humanist, and a lover of life, perfectly encapsulated in his song ‘Ma Liberté’. He will be remembered for his poetic rhythm, simplicity and composer of romantic songs. He has written songs for Édith Piaf (including “Milord”), Mikis Theodorakis, Dalida, Françoise Hardy, Barbara, Brigitte Fontaine, Herbert Pagani, France Gall, and Cindy Daniel, as well as for himself.

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MoustakiTheodorakis

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Georges Moustaki and Mikis Theodorakis

He has worked also with Mikis Theodorakis, and “Nous sommes deux” / “We are with the two of us” is the most characteristic and best known product of their cooperation. In the following videos you can see them both, working, writing, singing, creating a song, making music…. The song in the second video is “L’ homme au coeur blessé” / “The man with the wounded heart”

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Sources and additional information                                                         

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Updated 19 November 2015

Updated 31 May 2017

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About "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis"

The blog "The Music of Mikis Theodorakis" started in 2010. The not-for-profit activities of the initiator were and are to collect, create and publish information about the MUSIC of the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis via YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and this blog. Sources for this information are utterly strictly related with Mikis Theodorakis' Music only. The icon is a bouzouki. It is Greece's national symbol for freedom. During the Regime of the Colonels (Military Junta, 1967-1974) the bouzouki was forbidden. Mikis Theodorakis used this authentic Greek instrument in almost all his compositions, and Greeks were listening to Theodorakis's music in the underground scene, during the Military Junta time.
This entry was posted in Art, Georges Moustaki, Greece, Μίκης Θεοδωράκης, Mikis Theodorakis, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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