The Story of Stavroulla….

stavroullaThe song came out in spring 1992, with music produced by the legendary Sugar Hajishacalli, who sadly passed away 8 years ago. The idea had started a few months earlier. Shaggy’s version of ‘Carolina’ stormed the charts. I had it on white label a few months before it came out and when I was lucky enough to meet the MC I told him I planned to do a Cypriot version. Shaggy smiled at the idea but the production was a long way off. Nowadays you can sit in front of a screen and with some basic skills and talent its failry easy to knock up a tune, record it, mix it and have it up on Soundcloud by evening. Back in the early 1990’s things were different. You had to have a budget for the studio, the production and dah dah dah, the pressing. I had been hearing alot of stories about failed relationships/marriages that were based on ‘broxenia’ /arranged marriages. I am in fact still convinced that 2 out of 3 arranged marriages, of my generation,  ended in divorce. So why not write a song about it. The original lyrics to ‘Stavroulla’ were radically different, based largely on a friend’s painful experience (he will remain nameless)  of being with some one called Stavroulla. When I played my mate the tune he chased me around the room with a hammer with the word ‘pezevengi’  coming out of his mouth several hundred times. I did find the lyrics hilarious mind you but he guaranteed a libel case. I did the demo at home, taking a loop from ‘Carolina’ on my double cassette player, plugged in a mic, and worked out a basic verse chorus structure. It got played to a close circle of friends and relatives, many of whom liked the chorus but thought writing a tune about some one else painful relationship did not quite sit right.


I thought about it for a while and one day went to Sugar in his home studio in Edmonton. He was convinced I had something with the idea for the chorus,. after all, who else had written a tune called ‘Stavroulla’ but he said the lyrics needed more work. Writing them again and again, I started to craft a story that was more generic, as  a tribute to my sisters in the community, who basically wanted to do their own thing, as the descendants of Aphrodite. Haringey came into it, as I was then living in a flat above Trehantiri. A Baklama came into it as well played so eloquently by Sugar. He was such a mastron as a musician. That sound, along with a phenomenal bottom end mixed on a pair of Yamaha NS10’s by Jimmy Dimitri Swanyard studios rocked the walls during that session.What a day it was. Sitting in the studio after it was done we all had huge smiles on our faces. That ‘Stavroulla’ recording session was an epic experience. With support from Trehantiri Music the tune fell into the hands of the one Andy Kershaw who played it on the BBC World Service. It was also supported by the late Tony Piatas,  and my brother Perry, AutoAcoustics who both contributed  to pressing the vinyl, and would not have happened without my publisher, another legend, Rob Bozas @ Swanyard, who negotiated me the studio time. Kershaw didn’t know it at that time but he was the first person to play Stavroulla on air and in Cyprus. The rest as they say is history… I feel life has come full circle now that I will be singing the tune, at a special Summer Party after so much time again in Haringey on July 16th, back in London where it all began.  White Hart Lane  is a place dear to my heart, as many of you know, and playing on that special road will make me very happy. You can see the clip for Stavroulla here and the tune can still be purchased on vinyl  by emailing PowerofWords.


Keep on Rockin’ Arthur….


I am not sure if we ever actually met. Somewhere in the not so distant vraka past our paths must have crossed in Paphos, the place where so many things started. Its strange though because I felt like I really knew my dear friend and compadre Arthur Tilley, my Paphian cyber buddy who had moved to Finland, because like many people these last few years, emigration seemed a better option than trying to survive in post ‘kourema’ Cyprus. Arthur first came to my attention as journalist when my wife Marina worked at SIGMA TV as a sound engineer. He was the station’s correspondent for Paphos. Many years later we ‘reconnected’ on Facebook and bantered on about so many things on a fairly regular basis. Arthur was always brave enough to speak his mind, even if people didn’t like what he said, he stood up always for truth, rights, justice and most of all, for freedom. He was passionate about the liberation and unification of Cyprus and frustrated just as much as me about  corruption and the suffocation of expression by local party hacks.

Arthur was also a musician, and that side of him always fascinated me. We planned to meet to discuss all of that. He started playing music at the age of 15. Like most people he started out in a covers band, as a drummer in The Crazy Horses. A short time after  with a Andros and  George Athanasiou , and Andreas Georgiou they  formed the Black Angels a pioneering rock group in Cyprus in the 1980’s – and I always felt they must have been pioneering because they were from Paphos.  There are so many chapters to Arthur’s life. Journalist, athlete, radio and TV presenter, and more recently, after he relocated to Finland with his wife Tuula, he became a qualified youth worker!

More than all the music and journalism, Arthur was a rebel, a fighter til the end, a person dedicated fully to the liberation and unification of this at times suffocating and frustrating homeland of ours Cyprus. Friday 26th February 2016 was such a day. Vibrant, creative and non-stop. I met a few old friends, saw our 12 year old daughter Melina  take part in a musical at Satiriko, and then had to shoot across town to talk about Reggae at opening of a poster exhibition. When we got home and heard the news about Arthur through Facebook, silence struck, shock, sadness, how, why, ma yiati olan, not Arthur!

We never had that coffee, neither here nor there, and I am sure it would have been ‘tou laikou’. Arthur passed away on that morning while undergoing heart surgery combined with  complications from pneumonia which he had been trying to shake off. I will always drink to your name my friend and compadre, and think of you, Paphos, Cyprus and that cherished Freedom. Rest in Peace Arturo…





Island Connection – 30 Years and still going strong

Island Connection started in dances at Essex University with Donald Mack , DJ Skev and myself, Haji Mike, forming a core team of DJ’s who held their own campus events playing Soul, Reggae and Rare Grooves.  There were of course many other people involved on campus DJ wise, the legendary Count Claude, Derek Robinson, Jah Andy and one Dotun Adebayo who has of course gone on to much bigger things at the BBC. Many of these DJ’s were involved with student based groups like the Afro-Caribbean Society, Black Music Appreciation Society (B.M.A.S), Reggae Appreciation Society (R.A.S) ,University Radio Essex (U.R.E) and the more mainstream Entertainment Society. Essex raves, back then didn’t happen in fields with thumping banal house beats. They occurred usually in the events room behind the Student Union Bar or in the tower block flats where we lived as students. Most time the towers based parties were private free events, like a birthday, and these sessions, neighbours permitting could go on til any time, event 6 or 7 am when the sun came up. The events room was a bit different. That’s where we did our own sessions, with a minimal door fee which usually ended by 3 am (although some times we did close the doors and let the bass rumble on an hour or two more). Its where I first picked up the microphone to MC in the early 1980’s with Donald coming into the DJ booth in total shock saying ‘did you just chat on the microphone!!!’RAS POSSEE POSTER 1980'S

The event for the poster above shows just how DiY everything was. We would take an image, photocopy it, then use letraset transfers for the lettering, which had to be placed meticulously, letter by letter and this would make a master template which would be photocopied. As you can see this one was coloured in by hand with Ital Rasta Colours, and it took me a good few hours to do those 100 posters by hand. We played records back then, this was pre-CD, pre-Mp3, used our own decks or if it was a bigger event, hired some from the town of Colchester. DJ’ing was a pricey business. Buying vinyls every week burned holes in our students and renting equipment was also expensive. Back then we never did any events in the town. It was a very hostile and racist place and no local clubs or pubs, as far as I know, hosted any student events. I recently saw a crowd funding site for a student society event which looked like a huge banquet. None of them 5 course meals in our day we was much more humble. I spent 5 years as a student at Essex, doing a BA and MA. In that time radio was something I did for years, some times 5 nights a week on URE, and each week there were usually several parties to go to. We never really made money out of DJ’ing back then. Private events you did them for friends, at the end of the night they’d give you a few bottles of wine and you’d walk home happy at sunrise, humming the melody of the latest Gregory Isaacs tune. Our own events usually cost just as much to do in renting equipment and buying vinyls. So there was a real love for the music, money was not the motive, no egos. Every one had their set, their half hour, their hour. No one bossed any one around and we would just party. We’ve kept in touch over the decades, Skev, Donald and me. We had a great session for Skev’s 50th in his back garden in London. A couple of years back we played in Nicosia at the old Maple Leaf, and the place was packed to the rafters. We used vinyls that night. Some people had never seen a record, let alone heard one play.

The Dream Team

We made ourselves a promise, whether her or there, when the occasion arises, to get together and DJ again. We are bit older of course. Donald Mack was always wicked on the mic with his banter, and now he’s turned that into Standup Comedy. Skev has worked in local authority management for a few decades and music, DJ’ing and sweet soul music is still his escape.And I went on to become Haji Mike based in Cyprus, teaching, making music, DJ’ing and hosting radio shows. I always look forward to these Island Connection Re-Unions because the tunes just flow, like back in the day, the decks, the mic and the music. Our events will be at Brickyard, Nicosia Sat 12th March  and Lithos, Oroklini Sun 13th March – join us 🙂



Outta Mi Yard Radio – Out of Many Yards We Are One Station

Streaming radio is here to stay for music sounds that are not represented through corporate land based profit making playlisted stations. Radio has become a slave to automation software. Many people who work on it are usually clueless about music and the computers to all the work. They just have a script to read which usually lacks substance and opinion. I decided to stop working on stations locally in Cyprus a couple of years ago because of playlists, the lack of shekels they paid me for my work, and more important than any thing a lack of respect and knowledge for the music I play, namely Reggae. Streaming offers liberation and a new station I am on ‘Outta Mi Yard’ is a dream come true, doing radio from home, with people in the chat room sharing and loving the vibes. Its a continuation of many of the people on Versionist working as a collective from many yards around the world as one station. Show time remains Wednesday for me, 6-8 GMT – 8-10 CY Time. I do like Wednesday, it breaks up my week, and I enjoy radio so much more nowdays. So join me in the studio, outta my yard, live from Nicosia click and tune in here


3 The Soul comes to Paphos

 3 the soul

3 The Soul – 5 nights of partying in Paphos

There are some short cuts to happiness and music and dancing are two of them.  Many people thought clubbing was dead in Cyprus and Brian Norman and the 3TheSoul Team are out to prove them wrong.  3The Soul is a new concept that’s coming to Paphos in late June as an exclusive clubbing experience for the Over 30’s. Soul music events at cool beach parties, exclusive open air night spots and an onboard boat party, over one blazing long weekend from 25th to 30th June.


Following 20 years of club DJ’ing, Brian can now boast that he not only founded and promotes one of London’s longest running and most successful R&B nights, he has also developed his DJ’ing career to such a level that he is regularly asked to DJ as far away as Japan, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Ibiza, Dubai, Munich, Cyprus and Dublin. Whilst also being asked to DJ at high profile media events, a few recent parties being the premiers of Aladdin, The Lion King and Jesus Christ Superstar along with celebrity parties for Prince, Madonna, Samuel L. Jackson, Mariah Carey, Wyclef Jean and Maxwell.

After the early days of his career in his home turf it wasn’t long before the East End gave way to the bright lights and far more multicultural mix of people to be found in the West End. This confirmed his resolve to turn what was at the time a fascinating hobby into a career. His residence at ‘Fresh ’n’ Funky’ is the UK’s longest running R&B club night and has received recognition and respect in the music industry receiving a prestigious MOBO Award for Best Club Night. There have been ‘Fresh ‘n’ Funky’ parties running successfully in Dublin, London, Hong Kong and the Cyprus resort of Ayia Napa.

Brian also founded the Fresh ‘n’ Funky Foundation, with his wife, in 2013 to raise awareness and funds for people affected by cancer. The foundation works to raise funds for charities like Cancer Research and ACLT as well as smaller and individual causes.


Events for 3 The Soul include a massive DJ line up including Brian Norman, Dj Bigga, Paul Mac, Pascal, Haji Mike,  Chris Box & Antonis from Rock FM.

 3 the Soul all flyers




3 The Soul Full Schedule
Thursday 25th June – 3 The Soul Beach Party at Lighthouse Beach with DJs from the UK & Rock FM playing Soul & R&B music. Free sun loungers, food & drink available, plus volley ball and 5-a-Side Football to keep you entertained, a perfect chilled out start to the scorching weekend!

Friday 26th June – 3 The Soul Roof Top Party, dance to Classic Soul and R&B music, on the roof top of Everest Bar, overlooking the beach until the sun rises.

Saturday 27th June- 3 The Soul Casino Royale Dinner & Dance Party at Elea Estate with DJs and performance by a Soul Singer.  A classy and lavish party night at the chic and stylish Elea Estate.  Complimentary champagne or Bacardi Mixers, a succulent buffet meal, magician show with casino games and music by Natasha Watts performing her greatest hits, followed by 3 The Soul DJs. A night of cool music and sophistication.

Sunday 28th June – 3 The Soul Wave Dancer Boat Party with DJs and Performance by a Soul Singer. Late afternoon enjoy a relaxing day cruising the aqua seas along the coast of Paphos, with a delicious buffet on the ever popular Wave Dancer. From 9pm, party through the night until heading back to Paphos Harbour.

Monday 29th June –
3 The Soul Sunset Beach Party at Atlantida Beach with Rock FM Live Broadcast. Early evening, to cap the weekend off in style, dance along the sandy shore and party way after the sun goes down at Paphos’s only beach party spot, Atlantida Beach Bar. Rock FM will be hosting the party with 3 The Soul, broadcasting the party live to their huge listening audience with our DJs providing the soulful flavours.

Tuesday 30th June –  Hamam Café Lounge Bar farewell party where you will be mingling and partying as we goodbye to our old and new friends, with 3 The Soul DJs providing the Soul R&B & Reggae music to sing-along to!

Full details on all events, DJ line-ups, start times and costs can be found at

To book tickets or for more details on the events, please contact:


Versionist – Tune in to the sounds of “Liberation”

About 2 months ago I joined an online radio family called Versionist which was introduced to me by the King of The Reggae and Radio Underground and co-founder of the station Gibsy Rhodes. Having been on radio for the last 3 decades I must admit to feeling a bit tired of the medium of late. Mainstream radio has largely become an automated affair, meaning huge job losses and lack of any quality. I’ve carried on doing ‘Outernational’ as a pre-recorded show, going out on 5 different stations each week…but its not the same as the live radio experience. Gibsy is a clever strategist. He featured ‘Outernational’ on his weekly King of The Underground slot on Versionist for about a month, and then one day threw down the gauntlet, ‘Haji mate, its time you got back on the live tip on Versionist’. He then linked me up with Verisonist, the co- founder of the station, who explained the technicalities and with alot of help from my friend Dub Thomas from Dubophonic, who is also on the station, a new Haji Mike radio show was launched.


“In Session” is on Weds 6-8 GMT (8-10 Cyprus time) and its the best live radio I have done since those wonderful first experiences on University Radio Essex (URE) in the early 1980’s. Versionist is like a village online. The family of DJ’s on it are supportive of each other. We tune into each other shows, share music, make jingles and being on there just feels like a conversation in any natural environment, in a venue, a pub, a coffee shop or even you very own front room.

This week Versionist celebrates 1 year of being on air, warming up the wires with sweet Reggae music. As a tribute, my mate Gibsy sent me a riddim by Flow Production in Switzerland and said ‘see what you can do with this’. The next day I wrote and recorded a special dub plate for the station dedicated to all the DJ’s on the station. So here it is, free for all to enjoy, tune in to the sounds of “Liberation” and pass through the Village, and experience Versionist 🙂


Mihalakis is my name. Its how I was baptized. Emigrating to England in 1964, seeing snow for the first time in my life, and concrete buildings with many floors was a big culture shock, especially  at the age of 4. In the process of emigration I became known as Michael (on my passport), Mike for short. But that name I was born with always stayed in my mind….So much so that the first poem I performed publicly, some time in the 1980’s was called ‘Mixalakis’…which eventually became a dub song, produced by Tony Muttley…The original lyrics are somewhat extended with some freestyle ramblings on how careers teachers used to treat us at school.

‘Call Me Mihalakis’ was also a drawing by my friend Sonia Joseph, based on the poem and knowing me….Its a bit ghostly…but I really like the facelessness of the image. That feeling really captured the sentiment of the poem. Performing it so many times, I would always get some one coming up to me at the end and saying they went through exactly the same things….



At school
They gave us all kinds of names
Dished out on playing pitches
And over stormy dining tables
They called me many names
I had more nicknames than the years has days
More nick names than the sun has rays
Them call me colour
Call me paki, diego, whop, spik and darkie
Them call me class
Said I should work like my parents
Sweating buckets
Long hard hours present past
Them call me intelligence
Said I was good at
Rugby and footie
But my maths and history was dodgy and awkward
Them also call me
Said I was schizophrenic
Trapped in some kind of bi-cultural panic
Lost in Britain
And not proud of it

Call me colour
Call me culture
Call me class
Call me
All kinds of……
But them never call me
By my name
For that
Was all

From Cyprus to Fukushima with Love…

state of reggae fukushima7 Reggae DJ’s come together for  our  event called ‘From Cyprus To Fukushima with Love’ at Scarabeo on 21st November.

This project has been a struggle, given the economic crisis in Cyprus, and the lack of informed awareness about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

We may not reach our target of 3,400 euros and I am very saddened by this but the struggle, la luta continua, continues.  Fukushima  will take over 40 years to clean up at an estimated cost of $50 billion – this excludes the cost of decommissioning Daiichi Nuclear Reactors 1,2 & 3 which will be another $100 billion.  And of course there is the radiation, and the tragic effects it will have on life, nature and the environment. Rankin Taxi, a Japanese Reggae artist sums it up perfectly in the clip  below with the phrase ‘Radiation – you can’t see it, and you can’t smell it either’.

I feel humbled by the support people have given  from Cyprus and around the world  this  efforts to play at a special charity concert for people in Fukushima on 29th November hosted by our friend Leo Kojima  from Direct Impact Music.

Two of the initiatives we are supporting in Japan through this work are “I & I Koriyama Youth Corps” a voluntary group assisting in reconstruction post-Daiichi. One of their initiatives is to deliver clean drinking water to childcare facilities. More info on I & I here 

We are also supporting L.I.F.E Movement – Live Up Japan please check the clip ‘RISE AGAIN’ video made with survivors of the Daiichi nuclear disaster 

As I said this has not been an easy road to travel and I know that people are pressured in Cyprus, that we are all finding it very hard to make ends meet and trying to raise funds for such a campaign in these circumstances has at times been a big challenge. So I gain strength in knowing people care, here and there, from the deepest Mediterranean to the land of the rising Sun…so much respect to the DJ’s and artists taking part in ‘From Cyprus to Fukushima with Love’  bigup Med Dred, DJ Monday, Tatsafari, Mr. Pakman, Portiero, Johnny Deviant  and bigup to Scarabeo, a place that supports culture in the heart of the city, for giving us the space to show some love…

All of this will happens on Thursday 21st November and entry is free. Just drop  something in the collection box – every little cent counts! For more details click  here

From Cyprus to Fukushima is a living campaign launched to help people affected by the Daiichi nuclear disaster. Donate and follow us, every step of the way from Cyprus to Japan and back by clicking here 

Want more Reggae sounds from Japan? Free download ‘Outernational’ click on player below….

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From Cyprus To Fukushima

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of March 11th 2011 is the worst of its kind since Chernobyl in Ukraine. 160,000 people were forced to evacuate from their homes. Every single day since then 300 tons of radioactive water from Daiichi Nuclear Power plant enters the Pacific Ocean. No one knows the long terms effects of this on people, how many will die from various forms of cancer and the environment. The clean up operation alone, the biggest of its kind in history will take at least 40 years to complete.

As two artists making Reggae music from Cyprus we were very moved when our friend Leo Kojima of Direct Impact Music in Japan invited us to participate in a charity concert for the victims of the Fukushima disaster. The event will happen on November 29th, 2013 in Koriyama City, 55km from the Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Plant in the district of Fukushima .

poster for the event on 29/11 in Koriyama City

This will be our first appearance in Japan and it means a lot to us to able to contribute to such a worthy cause, all the way from Cyprus on the other side of the world.

It’s also a cause, which we are sure you will agree is not getting the attention the tragedy truly deserves so we are asking you to help by donating and spreading the word to your friends and supporters online through Facebook & Twitter. Our campaign on aims to raise the necessary fund to cover return air fares and touring expenses in Japan. We ask you to help by contributing in whatever way you can….Its a hard fund raising road to travel, particularly from Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean in the middle of a deep economic crisis, but we are trying our best. So far we have raised €832 of our €3,400  which is 24.47% of the total we have to reach……Over 1,000 people have shared our campaign online so keep liking, sharing and donating…we have one more week to go!!!

Click on photo to support From Cyprus To Fukushima

cy fukushima page



The session starts with a classic revival tune that never dies…everyday is just a holiday, what a line, what tune, what a vibe – covered here by the late Ruddy Thomas. Reggae is not the same without Ruddy, who sadly passed away in 2006. DJ cut from Trinity rocks nice and sweet as well. Freddie is one of my favourite singers, what a voice, and “Bandulu” shows that he can sing about any thing and still stir all kinds of emotions. Voices are such unique things….Marcia, from the early 90’s, a big hit, “I Shall Sing” remixed here. Not sure if it a bonafide remix, got it off Soundcloud a while back, works for me though. We stay in a revival mode, Dennis, Big Youth, Bobby Melody, Louisa and the version from Jazzbo. Dodgy homophobic part lets the DJ cut down alot  but so it go, had to edit that out. Then comes a lengthy cut from horn masters Dean Fraser and Nambo Robinson, “Idi  Amin” what a work out. I always saw Amin as a  dictator and this fiery version captures the mood of that time. Gregory, we miss you, tremendously and any thing you ever sang is like honey. “Universal Tribulation” the Saxon dub plate differs from the original cut, tailor made for a sound clash – watch them lo eq frequencies on this.  Ever test a pair of speakers? Try “Mash Down” by Roots. This has been in my 7″ box for some 30 years and its a classic,…Set ends with some dub from Dub Caravan and words from me along with some horns from Coyote…”Innocent Horns” smooth tune!!!!

Outernational Radio show mixed and selected by Haji Mike – Augustus 4 features:

1. Everyday is just a Holiday – Ruddy Thomas & Trinity

2. Bandulu – Freddie McGregor

3. I Shall Sing – Marcia Griffiths

4. No Man is an Island – Dennis Brown

5. House of Dread – Big Youth

6. Jah Bring I Joy in the Morning – Bobby Melody

7. Joyful Dub – Mighty 2

8. Sixth Street – Louisa Mark

9. Meet me at the Street – Jazzbo

10. Idi Amin – Dean Fraser & Nambo Robinson

11. Universal Tribulation (Saxon Dubplate) – Gregory Isaacs

12. Revolution – Lloyd Brown

13. Mash Down – Roots

14. Timeless Riddim – Dub Caravan

15. Distrobushan – Haji Mike & Dub Caravan

16. Innocent Horns – Dub Caravan & Hornsman Coyote

Mixed live using Virtual DJ Pro 7

More info on Outernational @

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