Lefteris Hapsiadis
Lefteris Hapsiadis is a distinguished contemporary Greek lyrics author, a poet and a writer of novels. In the last thirty years he has written various poems, three novels and also lyrics for 525 songs (registered with AEPI) in the contemporary Greek rebetika, laïka (pop music) and elafra (light music) genres. He has collaborated with various music composers, and has occasionally worked as a record producer. Among those, he has often worked with Christos Nikolopoulos with whom he has had a number of popular records (including Μία είναι η ουσία - One matter counts, and Κάποια, κάπου, κάποτε - Some woman, somewhere, sometime). Together they also created and produced a CD with 12 songs (December 1986), for which they were able to assemble together 11 popular Greek performers, including Giorgos Dalaras, Haris Alexiou
Haris Alexiou
Haris Alexiou is a Greek singer. She is considered one of the most popular singers in Greece and has been commercially successful since the 1970s. She has worked with important Greek songwriters and composers, has performed at top musical theatres all over the world and has received several awards...

, Stratos Dionysiou, Giannis Parios, and Manolis Mitsias. Nikolopoulos performed one of the songs in the CD as well, his first public singing performance ever. The CD was launched as "Τραγούδια για τους φίλους μου" - Songs for my friends. Other quite well known performers of Hapsiadis pop songs were Stelios Kazantzidis
Stelios Kazantzidis
Stylianos Kazantzidis was a prominent Greek singer. A leading singer of Greek popular music, or Laïkó, he collaborated with many of Greece's foremost composers.-Biography :...

, Glykeria and Manolis Aggelopoulos.


Lefteris Hapsiadis was born in October 1953 in Feres
Feres, Evros
Feres is a town and a former municipality in the Evros peripheral unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Alexandroupoli, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 9,839...

, and lived during his early life in Koila, both agglomerations located in the Greek Prefecture (Νομός) of Evros
Evros Prefecture
Evros is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Its name is derived from the river Evros, which appears to have been a Thracian hydronym. Evros is the northernmost regional unit. It borders Turkey to the east, across the river Evros, and it...

. This is the most north-eastern region of Greece, bordering with Turkey in the east, and with Bulgaria in the north. Hapsiadis refers to Koila as his "Paradise on Earth", and nowadays he spends a major part of his life there. His family origin is from Pontos
Pontós is a municipality in the comarca of Alt Empordà, Girona, Catalonia, Spain....

; this is the area in the north of present day Turkey, along its Black Sea coast. To this day Hapsiadis has been loyal to his Pontos
Pontós is a municipality in the comarca of Alt Empordà, Girona, Catalonia, Spain....

 origins and he has often collaborated in various artistic initiatives to preserve the cultural heritage of the land of his ancestors. An example includes the production of three CD records in the Pontos dialect, performed by Kazantzidis and Xrysanthos (an authentic Pontos singer), in the late eighties, early nineties . Hapsiadis is fairly knowledgeable of the Pontos Greek dialect that he learned from his parents and grandmother in Koila.

He attended high school in Alexandroupolis, the administrative capital of Evros. For this purpose his entire family moved to town from Koila. During that period his father owned a kiosk, typical of Greek city landscapes, selling printed press items, like newspapers, magazines, pocket books, postcards, etc. Working at the kiosk as well gave him the opportunity to read a lot and grow his appetite for the Greek lyrics of rebetika, a.k.a. the songs of manges
The Manges are an Italian pop punk band who formed in La Spezia in 1993.The band is closely associated with The Queers, having gone on a European tour with the band, and having recorded the split album Acid Beaters with them. Former Queers bassist Phillip Hill produced the Manges latest album Go Down...

, members of a sort of inner city and urban slums gangs in the early 20th century. When most of his age peers enjoyed pop and rock, Hapsiadis was discovering little known events and details surrounding rebetika songs, their performers and lyrics. He developed a habit of collecting rebetika lyrics and writing them down in a notebook as his favorite pastime. That helped him a lot in being accepted in the circles of key rebetika industry players, in later years.

For six months he attended college classes in Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

, in the department of Biology before he dropped out and got entirely absorbed inside the professional world of rebetika in the Greek capital, Athens. He met Giorgos Dalaras, and through him he later came close to quite a few key actors in the Greek pop music industry. Names include Lefteris Papadopoulos
Lefteris Papadopoulos
Lefteris Papadopoulos is a Greek lyricist, writer and journalist.Lefteris Papadopoulos was born in Athens, Greece on 14 November 1935. He is the son of Greek refugees from the Asia Minor and Russia. He enrolled at the Law School of the University of Athens but he stopped during the third year in...

, a widely known Greek lyrics writer, the composer Christos Nikolopoulos, and various popular Greek pop singers Stelios Kazantzidis
Stelios Kazantzidis
Stylianos Kazantzidis was a prominent Greek singer. A leading singer of Greek popular music, or Laïkó, he collaborated with many of Greece's foremost composers.-Biography :...

, Stratos Dyonisiou and Manolis Aggelopoulos. He also became close friends with Vassilis Vassilikos
Vassilis Vassilikos
-Biography:A native of the northern Greek island of Thasos, Vassilikos grew up in Thessaloniki, graduating from law school there before moving to Athens to work as a journalist....

, a prominent novels writer. Vassilikos became internationally known by his "Z" novel, a story about the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis, a left-wing political activist in the mid-1960s. That novel was later made into a movie as part of a trilogy by Greek Director Costa Gavras, with Yves Montand
Yves Montand
-Early life:Montand was born Ivo Livi in Monsummano Terme, Italy, the son of poor peasants Giuseppina and Giovanni Livi, a broommaker. Montand's mother was a devout Catholic, while his father held strong Communist beliefs. Because of the Fascist regime in Italy, Montand's family left for France in...

  in the leading role. In his first novel, Hapsiadis devoted a chapter to a dramatic period of Vassilikos' life, right after the loss of his spouse Mimi, in Rome, Italy.


Per the generally accepted public opinion his most popular song lyrics were Mia einai i ousia (Μια ειναι η ουσία, "One matter counts") that he wrote upon a Nikolopoulos music score during the mid-80s. The song was originally performed by Haris Alexiou and later, following accrued popularity, by quite a few other performers, including Giorgos Dalaras.
The lyrics playfully deal with immortality, whereby the author admits that nothing is "immortal" and begs Almighty God to eliminate Death for good, after the former had a few drinks first. The lyrics are used in a passage in his second book, when the author dies and struggles to get into Paradise, but comes across a rather annoyed St-Peter, who didn't seem to have liked his "Mia einai i Ousia" song at all.

Another popular song of his, performed by Giorgos Dalaras, was Kappoia, kapou, kapote (Κάποια, κάπου, κάποτε).
Among his songs there are two referring to the Prefecture of Evros, the towns of Alexandroupolis and Orestiada
Orestiada is the northeasternmost and northernmost city of Greece and the second largest city of the Evros peripheral unit of Thrace. The population is around 25,000. Orestiada is only 2 km west of the banks of the Evros, which forms a natural border between Greece and Turkey...

, in the far north. It is generally known in Greece that the border regions of the country, especially Greece's eastern border with Turkey, are the least desirable areas for young Greeks to serve their country during their military service. In addition, until recent years, Greek conscripts were treated as second rank citizens in the towns and villages of Evros, as many among them would admit to this day. Unless they enjoyed a military rank of some sort, conscripts wouldn't be typically admitted inside many public venues, and many local businessmen would prefer to live without them entering their businesses. Hapsiadis was inspired by this to write two emotional songs, Alexandroupoli meria, originally performed by Dimitris Mitropanos, and Oresteiada, performed by Stelios Dionysiou and Ploutarchos.

Songs for my friends

(Tracks of the CD Τραγούδια για τους φίλους μου)

by Nikolopoulos and Hapsiadis, 1986
  1. Μοιάζουμε (We resemble each other) with Manolis Mitsias
  2. Αν τέλειωνε η ζωή (If life ended) with Stratos Dionysiou
  3. Πως μπορεί (How is it possible) with Eleni Vitali
  4. Ετσι σ'αγάπησα (I loved you this way) with Dionysis Theodosis
  5. Φοβάμαι (I'm afraid) with Dimitra Galani
  6. Κάποια, κάπου, κάποτε (Some woman, somewhere, some time) with Giorgos Dalaras
  7. Καλύτερα ελεύθερος (Better be free) with Yannis Parios
  8. Το διαβολάκι (Little devil) with Haris Alexiou
  9. Τώρα που έφυγες (Now that you've gone away) with Litsa Diamanti
  10. Οι δρόμοι τής ανατολής (The streets of the East) with Christos Nikolopoulos
  11. Με χρώματα κι'αρώματα (With colors and odors) with Mary Vassou
  12. Οταν χορεύεις μάτια μου (When you're dancing, my love) with Manolis Aggelopoulos


In addition to poems and song lyrics Hapsiadis recently wrote three novels. He only lately decided to focus on writing novels and had his first three written after 2005, more than twenty years after he started writing lyrics. All of them are largely autobiographic with many details about events that actually took place and form part of the history of modern rebetika. His first two novels were "Η ζωη μου τραγούδι το τραγούδι ζωη" (My life (is) a song, the song (is) life) and "Ο αλήτης άγγελος" (An angel vagabond). In his second novel, although most of his writing describes real life events, locations and names of real persons, the author presents them as the building blocks of a "fiction" storyline. His third novel was presented to the public on October 23, 2010. It is called "13+1 Γιατί;" (Γιατί=why in Greek) completes a trilogy in which rebetiko holds a central role.

As a self-taught author, Hapsiadis creates unusual plots wherein key Greek music industry players participate as personages. In all his novels to-date his heroes maintain their real life names; however, in his second novel, Hapsiadis uses the name Lelos instead of his own given Christian name of Lefteris to represent himself as the leading actor. All three novels are written in simple everyday spoken Greek. He usually places verses inside the text, often for reasons of historic significance to the context he describes. All his novels expose events with actual historic data. He often offers his own insights in the evolution of rebetika from the times of Markos Vamvakaris
Markos Vamvakaris
Markos Vamvakaris , was a rebetiko musician. He is universally referred to by rebetiko writers and fans simply by his first name, Markos...

 and Vassilis Tsitsanis
Vassilis Tsitsanis
Vassilis Tsitsanis was a Greek songwriter and bouzouki player. He became one of the leading Greek composers of his time and is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern Rebetika. Tsitsanis wrote more than 500 songs and is still remembered as an extraordinary bouzouki...

 (pre- and post-World War II) to the present day. The events he addresses, many of which he himself witnessed as participant, are presented in quite a bit of detail. With a few scarce exceptions, Hapsiadis avoids criticism of his book personages, however, on occasions, he is being quite critical of himself and his own weaknesses.


During his 25 year long career as a lyrics writer, Hapsiadis achieved a number of Golden and Platinum record awards and occasionally he has been publicly recognized for his contribution to the Greek Popular Music by the Prefecture of Evros and Municipalities of Alexandroupolis and Feres
Feres, Evros
Feres is a town and a former municipality in the Evros peripheral unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Alexandroupoli, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 9,839...

 with organized concerts dedicated to his song-lyrics successes.

See also

  • Mangas
    Manges is the name of a social group in the Belle Époque era's counterculture of Greece . The nearest English equivalent to the term mangas is wide boy, or spiv...

  • Rembetiko – a film by Costas Ferris

External links

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