Once upon a time… in the land of Lilipoupoli

Plump peas dance and prance with the good-humored greens on the grass as the silver lining of night appears… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yMEbPc5U Blissful golden roses stretch out in spring at the tender touch of the sun’s rays. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV-fbGJbHAY The view from the almond- and hazelnut-rooftops of Lilipoupoli to the delightful beach of Lilli below is intoxicatingly sweet. Lo and behold: This is a land made of sugar and spice… and everything nice.

It’s all about song and dance and fun in Lilipoupoli, where everyone excitedly awaits nightfall so they can run down to Porto Lilli, to sing and sail under the silvery gaze of the full moon. “We’re not Zulu, were not Papua, we’re the wild race of Lillipoua.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz17HbYjq8s

If there ever was a time (and need) to believe in fairytales in Greece, then this must be it. Some three decades after it first aired over the radio waves of the national broadcaster’s (ERA) Trito (3rd) Programma, the tales of Lilipoupoli are back to remind us now more than ever that fairytales can – even in the darkest of days – soothe the soul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCzVrXw4qpk

Rise and shine, youngsters across Greece would tune in to the Trito Programma to listen to the yarns of Edo Lillipoupoli. The brainchild of Eleni Vlachou and Reggina Kapetanaki, the show came to life when Marianina Kriezi made words out of colours and Lena Platonos, Nikos Kypourgos and Dimitris Maragopoulos gave those colors a voice. Every morning, Savina Yannatou, Marielli Sfakianaki, Spyros Sakkas and Antonis Kontogeorgiou would sing of the feats of the Lilipoua.

Lilipoupoli, which aired between 1976 and 1980, stood out as being a bright example of composer Manos Hadjidakis’ (then head of the Trito Programma) foresight. He described the project as “the conception of a free and experimental radio… and a group of young people with lots of talent who got together on the 3rd [programme] and worked with high spirit, dignity and self-respect”. That’s probably why Lilipoupoli made history.  

What started out as a children’s show – introducing kiddies to the “basics” of this world and instilling in them a love of Greek tradition and a yearning for learning “Mes’ To Mouseio” – ended up attracting the young at heart. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n32ANLHcKH4

Back in the late ’70s, Greek radio was at its heyday, keeping Greeks company throughout the day with theatre shows, music and trivia. Radio was the sole source of entertainment at a time when YENED and ERT, the country’s sole television channels, (both public) broadcast after 5pm until midnight.

The album featuring the songs of Lilipoupoli was released in 1980. And in 1997, it was adapted into a full stage spectacle and presented at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Mousikis, tel 210-72.82.333). 

Having withstood the test of time, Lilipoupoli is back, marking the beginning of the Christmas season at the Megaron this year. On Sunday (December 2), a choir of 140 children and dozen musicians team up with singer Alkistis Protopsalti and Vassilis Argokostas and take us now when we most need it on an aural trip to the magical land of Lilipoupoli. Can we afford to miss it? 

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