Theodorakis wrote this work in January 1968 at the Averoff prison in Athens, when his fellow-prisoners asked him for a new composition. He named it after the prison. Together with this work he composed the song cycle Mythology. The poetry of both works is by George Seferis. When Theodorakis wrote the work Epiphany in 1960, in Paris, he took only a few verses from the first part of the corresponding work by Seferis. Now, he decides to set to music the entire poem based on the original melody, employing a completely personal method of melody development, akin more to Byzantine technique than to the European one. He called this new musical from a "river-song". A year later, while in exile at Zatouna in Arcadia, Greece, he adds the Chorus parts, experimenting on the potentialities of the contrapuntal writing in relation to the artisti popular music.