The 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 fairly 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, 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 only people who really believed in me beyond Sugar) the tune fell into the hands of the one Andy Kershaw who played it on the BBC World Service. He 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….And I feel life has come full circle now that I will be singing the tune, a special Summer Party after so much time again in Haringey on July 16th, back in London where it all began in White Hart Lane 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.