«Τhe island of my heart»
There is no need to introduce Mariza Koch. Not only because she is very well-known, but because whatever you write about her is not enough. The famous singer-composer, for years now has managed to create her absolutely own style with her music writting and the adaptations in traditional songs. Innumerable concerts all over the world, 23 personal discs, a rich successful career in composing music, writing lyrics and singing. In 1980 she was the first singer from the West who performed singing in China, in the context of cultural exchanges. She visited China again in 2009 and she participated in the International Country Music Week representing Greece and won the 'Best Singer' award. She was honored for her musical contributions by the Organization of Greek Scientists, and by Cornell University as a woman artist. She is a honorary member of the Thracian Association of Science, Arts and Letters, and the Greek Union for Music Education.
Coming from Santorini, Mariza Koch lived in Mesa Gonia on the island from the age of 9 to 16 years old. She calls Santorini “the island of my heart” and laughs when she remembers herself as a child running around the crater of the volcano- and the time when beacause of a bet with her friends, her boots filled with hot sulfur. Her grandfather from her mother’s side, was a priest named Papa Yannis, and next to him, with her sister Irini, she learnt to chant at their private church called ‘Christos’ in Mesa Gonia, celebrating at the 6th of August. We meet her there every year. Since the starting of her career she gave a lot of concerts in the island. The way she sings the traditional song "Stopa ke sto xanaleo" is incomparable and as she herself says "it was this song that unforcefully made me a singer".
"The years I lived on the island have been following me and supporting me through my whole life, I do not know if I would have made it without Santorini in my heart. The simple life of the Santorinian people has taught me to be a self-sufficient free spirit. And such I have always remained". Mariza Koch has a dream. To set up an Informal Music Learning School in Santorini, similar to the one she already has established in Athens. She adores Santorini, and as she says smilling "One day I will abandon everything and go and live in Mesa Vouno, for there is my shelter!"