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Maria’s singing also inspired foreign artists who sang her songs after listening to her recordings, giving them their own interpretation. The rock group Savage Republic arranged sections of The Ballad of Mauthausen as well as The Hostage, and the jazz musician Nels Cline dedicated an improvisation based on the song Soledad from Romancero Gitano to Maria, calling it Maria Alone (For Maria Farantouri).

Maria also renewed her collaboration with the Greek song-writer Manos Loizos at this time, with an album that characterized an era: The Negro Songs, based on the poetry of Yiannis Negrepontis. She also worked with the young composer Mihalis Grigoriou, who had set the poetry of Manolis Anagnostakis to music. Meanwhile her collaboration with Hadzithakis had been revived with the completion of Mellissanthi and the composition of new songs especially for her voice. Hadzithakis’s concerts in the Roman Agora of Athens, with Maria and younger singers who were taking their first steps as performers, were the musical event of the season.

A longing for peace and friendship between Greece and Turkey led Maria to take the daring step of collaborating with the Turkish composer Zülfü Livaneli. Their concerts in Athens were embraced by the public, who clearly revealed their weariness with the long confrontation between the two nations and their desire for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. The same enthusiasm, if not greater, was displayed by Turkish audiences.

In 1981 she traveled again with Theodorakis to Cuba. Their concerts before the musically-aware Cuban audience, including Fidel Castro himself, were so successful that the Cuban leader issued an open invitation to the Greeks to perform a new series of concerts the following year.

1985 marked the beginning of a new chapter in Maria’s life, with the birth of her son Stefanos on October 28th (National Independence Day in Greece). Commenting wittily in the magazine Tetarto, Manos Hadzithakis noted: “National Independence Day (usual, annual). Total eclipse of the moon (unusual). The son of Maria Farantouri and Telemachos Hitiris was born. The only event worth mentioning. I wish him a long and prosperous life. Our best wishes. From the bottom of our hearts. With all our love”.

A period of relative withdrawal from artistic engagements followed the birth of Stefanos. Maria worked rarely and selectively. Her most important collaboration was with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta at the Herod Atticus Odeon of Athens, in what had become the classical The Ballad of Mauthausen. Later she would find herself again under his direction in Paris for the celebration of the Millennium under the auspices of UNESCO. In 1987 she would have the moving experience of performing Romancero Gitano in Fuente Vaqueros, in the house where Lorca was born. Present at the concert were the sister of the poet and his artist friend Jose Caballero. In 1987, again at the Herod Atticus Theatre, she participated in a concert with the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbabek in a concert in which Heleni Karaindrou presented musical themes and songs from her film scores.


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