Vassilis Tsitsanis


The greatest composer, versifier and a masterly craftsman of bouzouki of the early years of Greece. He was born in Trikala from Inlanders. Tsarouhas, his father, had a mandoline with which he played almost exclusively thievish songs of his country. Those were the first hearings of little Vassilis along with the byzantine psalmodies which he heard in church. At the age of 11 he loses his father and only then does the mandoline fall in his hands. - which in the meantime has been converted into a bouzouki. During his junior-high school years he also learns violin, taking part with it in local events. The bouzouki, however, even though it isn't worthly considered in the small local society, draws his attention more. He composes his first songs at the age of 15. In the ends of 1936 he comes to Athens in order to study Law. He works in taverns in order to fill his income. In one of them he meets the singer Dimitri Perdikopoulo who takes him to a record company. He records for the first time in 1937, but the main part of his pre-war records is accomplished the following years. The "Arhontissa" is the most famous song he records then but with songs like "Na giati girnao", "Gia auta ta maura matia sou" and many more which are sung by Stratos Pagioumtzis, Stellakis Perpiniadis, Keromitis and Markos Vamvakaris find position in discography. With these songs Tsitsanis introduced a new form of the Popular song which interests a limited number of audience. With these songs he responses to censorship of the Metaxian dictatorship which forbids so much the songs of the rembetical marginals as the obvious eastern melodies. During the years of German Occupation he stays in Thessaloniki, where he works in different kinds of places. He composes a lot of songs which he records after the war when the record-factories open again. "Aharisti", "Bakse tsifliki", "Ta periks", "Nihtes magikes", "Zitianos tis agapis", "Derbederissa" and of course "Sinnefiasmeni Kiriaki". In 1946 he returns to Athens and begins recording again. The decate 1945-1955 is maybe the leading one of his career as he meets the widely acknowledgement in discography and the most replete for him creatively. It brings to the proscenium new voices which serve his songs and bind with him: Marika Ninou, Sotiria Bellou, Prodromo Tsaousaki. "Eimaste alania", "Pira ti strata kai erhomai", "Horisame ena deilino", "Trelos tsigganos", "Peftoun tis vrohis oi stales", "Omorfi Thessaloniki", "Antilaloune ta vouna", "Kane ligaki ypomoni", "Fabrikes", "Pefteis se lathi", "Kavourakia", "Kathe vradi lipimeni", "Ksimeronei kai vradiazei", "Ela opos eisai", are few of the songs for this period. And maybe we should note so much the musical richness as the dexterity in the performance of many of these songs. Characteristic are their introductions - which at sometime were...three: taximi, pre-introduction, introduction- samples of particular study and incredible ease in the musical expression.
As soon as the middle of the decade of the 50's, the scenic of the public song of the wide acceptance changes and some arabian or even indian influences dominate, Tsitsanis tries to be acclimatized without leaving his personal look. He does the same thing during the following seasons when the overflooded atmosphere changes again.
Without ever accepting some of the epochial "fashion", he always presents some songs which can be added to his classics, even though they belong to the old years and have influences from their leading sound. His songs are sung by Kazantzidis, Bithikotsis, Gavalas, Aggelopoulos, Grey, Poly Panou, Haroula Labraki, Stamatis Kokkotas and from a point on especially by himself. From these we refer significantly : "Isos aurio"(1958), "Ta limania" (1962), "Meine agapi mou konta mou" (1962), "Koritsi mou ola gia sena" (1967), "Apopse stis akrogialies" (1968), "Kapoio alani" (1968), "Tis Gerakinas gios" (1975), "Dilitirio sti fleva" (1979). In 1980 by initiative of UNESCO a double record with the title "Harama" is recorded -that's the name of the place in which Tsitsanis appeared the last 14 years of his career and his life. In this record he plays a series of his classics and many improvising pieces in bouzouki.

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