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The song filling Greece's youth with hope

Mantissa by Marina Satti has proven to be the hit of summer, and with good reason, bringing with it a much needed dose of optimism

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25 August 2017

If you have been to Greece this summer, there's no doubt you will be all too familiar with Mantissa (Seer), the hit song by Marina Satti.

Constantly playing on radios, it has proven to be one the most downloaded tracks in history - but there's more to it than its catchy tune.

The original score created by Satti with lyrics provided by a friend, according to the songwriter Mantissa has its roots in ancient mythology. She says every verse is like an oracle with a prophecy open to interpretation and while a love song, its focus isn't on human pain or self-pity but rather promotes the idea of taking charge and persevering through hard times - a strong and relevant message for a generation that has spent seven crucial years of its development living through a financial crisis and austerity.

"Greek songs usually talk about being hurt, and being in love, but in a really negative way ... like suffering, and there is no hope anywhere. Not this song. It's full of hope," 21-year-old Melina Chronopoulou, a student and back up dancer for Satti, told NPR.

"There are so many miserable people in my age [group], and that's so bad," she adds.

"It's hard for many of us to just get out and enjoy being young. Many times, I wish I had been born in a different generation just so I could experience real optimism."

Adding to the song's popularity is its accompanying music video. Attracting more than five million views on YouTube in a week, it sees Satti and her posse of girlfriends dancing down Athinas. Run down with closed shop fronts and graffiti, and inhabited by migrants, it is one of the singer's favourite streets in Athens, resonating with her bi-racial heritage from both Greece and Sudan.

When told that her song is bringing a sense of optimism to Greece's youth, the singer is all smiles.

"It's hard out there," she told NPR, "but we are good at hope."

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