Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stelios Kazantzidis life Part IV

The “Regime of the Colonels” alternatively the military junta” ruled in Greece for seven years since 1967. In those cruel times Stelios Kazantzidis dreamed of his own discographic company. The name of his new company was “STANDARD”. He ordered equipment for his new factory in Kiato and he chose Zinonos street (near “Omonoia Square”) for his office.

According to his popularity, success was guaranteed…

Unfortunately, Stelios Kazantzidis did not count the factor “censorship”. We shouldn’t forget that Kazantzidis father was a communist (so was Stelios) and he also had an argument (as referred in an older post) with his last discographic company. All the songs destinated for him, were censored.

Stelios Kazantzidis, the singer of the lower social classes, could not sing silly songs just for amusement. As a result he was obligated to shut down his company.

Makis Matsas the owner of Minos discographic company (previously “ODEON”) offered to buy “STANDARD” equipment and proposed to Stelios Kazantzidis a new contract. The reluctant Stelios - after some recordings for “PHILIPS”- finally agreed.

From 1970 to 1974 he recorded a lot of successful songs for Minos but the album titled “Iparho” (in greek “I exist”) in 1975, was one of his very best. It is worth mentioning that the day of “Iparho” presentation on TV, Athens seemed deserted as everyone waited Stelios Kazantzidis live show.

His decision of giving up discography followed that great success. Till 1987 Stelios Kazantzidis didn’t record any new albums.

Listen to the following video, the introduction of “Iparho” album and also the homonymous song.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stelios Kazantzidis life Part III

After his conflict with his discographic company, Stelios Kazantzidis cooperated, in 1961, with the worldwide acknowledged, Greek composers Manos Hatzidakis and Mikis Theodorakis. It is well known that Xatzidakis won the Oscar award in 1961, for the soundtrack of the movie “Never on Sunday” (Pote tin Kiriaki), which was directed by Zil Dassen. The famous Greek actress Melina Merkouri starred in that movie.

The years between 1961 and 1965 were the most productive for Kazantzidis. Rich discography, participation in theatrical plays, appearances in the best nightclubs and the most famous Greek music halls, tours all over the world, characterize this period.

In 1965 Stelios Kazantzidis took an “insane” decision. He would never sing in public again, neither in nightclubs nor in concerts. He was sick of the night life in Greece, with the mafia and all the businessmen who threatened him. Due to his publicity, most of the nightclubs in Athens faced economical problems.

He stuck at his decision until his death in 2001. He denied huge amounts of money and tempting proposals. Apart from his opposition to the nightlife system, he did not consider himself to be a “sightseeing” for which people have to pay. As a result, he continued only recording albums. He felt obligated to do so, because poor people were the majority of his audience and he believed that they could afford that expense to listen his voice.

He once declared: “I sing for the poor, the immigrants and the suffering people… generally for the lower social classes. They can’t go to the expensive night clubs. They buy my discs and they regard them as their Gospels.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kazantzidis in Greek province

Stelios Kazantzidis loved to live in province. He used to believe that poor people there, were more honest than people in cities. He was of the opinion that these pure people, wasn’t obligated to make some compromises to live. After an argument with his discographic company, in 1975, Stelios Kazantzidis left his career for 12 years. We are going to explain the reasons why he left discography, in a future post about Kazantzidis life. As you remember, we stopped the narration of Kazantzidis life, around at 1962.

We give you today, a video, in 1970s, where Stelios Kazantzidis, famous Greek lyrist Pythagoras and also a cattleman, are drinking and chatting, in a farm near Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki is today the biggest city of North Greece). That farm is in a small village called Chalastra. Thanks to the National Greek TV (ERT) we have this document.

source: National Greek TV (ERT)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stelios Kazantzidis life - Part II

After his military service, Stelios started to work in famous music halls with the also successful songstress, Kaity Grey. They were couple in life, too. They recorded together a lot of very popular songs that Greeks still sing in revelries. After his separation with the beautiful Grey, he meets a young songstress named Marinella. Her real name was Kyriaki Papadopoulou. She came from Thessaloniki, which is the biggest city of North Greece. Stelios Kazantzidis and Marinella became the greatest duet of all time, in Greece. They were in great demand of the nightclubs and Greek composers. Their tours all over the world were very successful. In USA, Australia but also in Germany and Turkey they became very popular to the Greek immigrants.

“Manduballa” was the name of a bollywood actress. Stelios Kazantzidis compose the homonymous song in 1959 and he also sang it. That “album” recorded an unprecedented success. 100.000 disks sold in that year. Imagine that the Greek population was about 9 millions. Also realise that Greece was a poor country after the Second World War and the 4 years civil war. Although his discographic company earned about 10 millions drachmas, Stelios Kazantzidis received less than 1000 drachmas!!! The Greek courts worked on that case. Finally, Kazantzidis achieved his goal. He achieved to receive money analogically to the sales of his disks. That was a gain for all Greek singers who were exploited until 1960. From now on, Stelios Kazantzidis was the “revolutionist”, whom the companies had to ruin. Stelios Kazantzidis has declared: “Only if I knew that companies’ income was disposed for the progress of music or for the betterment of my co-workers’ life, I would tolerate that utilization”. Thanks to Kazantzidis battle against the rulers of Greek discography, the majority of moderns Greek singers can survive or gain some money from their “albums”.

( Stelios Kazantzidis and Marinella)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Stelios Kazantzidis life - Part I

Stelios Kazantzidis articulated the pain of Greeks after the Second World War. After the Nazi occupation of Greece, he created a new kind of music based on the characteristics of old traditional Greek music. He was born in 29th August 1931. His parents, Haralambos and Gesthimani, were poor refugees in Athens. His father, who was a builder, was murdered in 1946, on the Greek civil war for his communistic ideas. As a result, Stelios was now obligated to feed his mother and his little brother, Stathis. He worked as a builder, a water seller, a willower, a laborer although he was only 15 years old. The first man, who found out Kazantzidis talent, was his boss at “Lanatex” factory. After having listened him singing several times during his work, he called Stelios in his office and offered him a guitar.
A few years later, a semi professional musician, who was thrilled with young Stelios voice, invited him to join his music group. That was the start of Kazantzidis career. From the beginning, his mother was opposite to this prospect, as she was of the opinion that people in that job were immoral and corrupted. Despite his mother’s argument, he continued singing in taverns and festivals all over Athens. The first song that he recorded as a professional singer was “Gia banio pao” (I am going swimming), 1952, a song written by Apostolos Kaldaras, a famous Greek composer. However his fist hit was his second record with the title “Valitses” (The suitcases). The successful composer Ioannis Papaioannou gave Kazantzidis the chance to prove his talent.
During his military service, he had a serious accident. After that he was unable to have children for the rest of his life. A disagreement with his commander and his father’s communistic ideas was the reasons why he was forced to watch over the mules in the camp. One rogue mule hit him on the genitals but his bossy commander forbided him to visit the doctor.

To be continued…

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Henry Denander for Stelios Kazantzidis

Henry Denander, who was born in Sweden in 1952, works in the music business, on the administrative side. Simultaneously, he is a poet and also a painter. In his collection “Weeks like this”, Henry Denander dedicated a poem to the famous Greek singer Stelios Kazantzidis. The Swedish artist answered to our message and explained us the reason why he wrote for Stelios…

Here you can see Henry Denander 's website


Thanks for your email.

I have been a fan of Stelios Kazantzidis for many years.
I started to travel to Greece in 1985 and have been to Hydra almost
every year since then, 12 years ago we bought a small summer house there.

I have always been interested in music and for the last 25 years I have
been working in the music business, on the administrative side.

Early I became interested in Kazantzidis because his characteristic and very
personal voice, also because the songs he performed. Unfortunately I do not
know much Greek but I picked up a lot of traditional words from his songs and
understood that he was often singing about love, retsina, beer, fish, bread, etc etc.

I have during the years bought many of his CDs.
Later I realized how big a star he was in Greece and how much people loved him,
I read about his death in a newspaper and was sad, and I read about the mourning
among his fans.

I am a poet and artist and have been published in the USA mainly,
in my own books and in magazines and on the web. I have been writing
narrative poetry and picked up things from my daily life so when my
friend commented on Kazantzidis the way she did, I was upset. Of course,
for me, his characteristic voice was his instrument.

I am happy that you found this on the internet and I wish I could follow your blog.

Best wishes

---Henry Denander

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First greeting

We have created a new blog for Stelios Kazantzidis. This is the English version of But who is Stelios Kazantzidis? He is a Greek folk singer. He was born in August of 1931 and died of cancer in 14th September of 2001. During his career he recorded over 900 songs, most of which were creations of the most important and famous Greek composers and lyricists. Through our posts, we intend to present the great Kazantzidis. His exceptional voice, combined with his persistent wealth denial, popularized him all over Mediterranean as a “phenomenon”. Stelios Kazantzidis is for us, eastern people, voice of century.

"Kazantzidis fan clubs all over Greece"

xartis Volos Fan Club Elasonas Fan Club Evias Fun Club Neyrokopi Fan Club Kilkis Fan Club