Giorgios Dalaras, one of Greece’s most acclaimed singers was born on the 29th of September 1949 in Piraeus, Athens. Giorgos is considered among the most prominent figures of Greek contemporary musical culture, with more than 70 personal albums and with sales of more than 15 million records to date. His father was Loukas Daralasa famous singer of rebetiko.
Dalaras has worked with just about every famous Greek composer including Mikis Theodorakis, Apostolis Kaldaras, Stavros Kouyioumitsis, Yiannis Markopoulos, Manos Loizos, Stavros Xarhakos and recorded just about every style of Greek music as well as an album of Latin music.
In his almost 50-year musical career, Dalaras has performed in thousands of concerts, and in 1980, entered the era of the live Greek club. Two historical concerts occurred in the Athens Olympic Stadium, attended by more than 160,000 people. This was the largest attendance at a Greek concert, to the point where Rolling Stone magazine commented that Dalaras was responsible for the birth of the Stadium era in Greece.
Giorgos has also performed over 500 concerts outside of Greece promoting Hellenism.
Dalaras personal albums total beyond 70. He has sold more than 15,000,000 records in his career and is regarded as one of the biggest names in contemporary Greek music. He has toured extensively throughout the world and was even invited to sing for Nelson Mandela on his birthday.
Dalaras has been involved in social issues and helped raise money for humanitarian causes. He has been selected as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency.
A fine guitarist his main musical strengths are a powerful voice that is coveted by every great composer in Greece, an energetic stage presence, and a great sense of musical taste that make just about any of his albums worth having no matter what language you speak. Among his albums considered classics are 50 Years of Rembetika Songs, Ta Tragoudia Mou (live), Mikra Asia, and Rembetika Tis Katohis, but if you ask 50 people to make a list of the best Dalaras albums no two lists will be the same.
Dalaras’ first song, “Προσμονή” (Prosmoni, “expectation”), was recorded in 1967. The single never reached any popular status, in fact, it was barely released. Dalaras even had to struggle to get into the studio, as ironically the day he began his studio career was the day that the Greek military juntatook over the streets of Athens, and the roads were littered with tanks. After several appearances on various recordings as a guest singer, his debut album was released in early 1969, a self-titled album released on the Minos label. The recording included many compositions by Stavros Kouyioumtzis, who in the early years proved a fountain of help towards Dalaras achieving musical success. As Dalaras has said in various interviews, he owes the fact that he became a singer to Kouyioumtzis, who composed Dalaras’ first songs. His relation with Kouyioumtzis remained friendly until the sudden death of the composer due to a heart attack on March 2005.
The biggest hit of the record, “Που ‘ναι τα χρόνια” (Pou ‘ne ta chronia, “Where are the years?”), is still sung today, and is regarded as a mainstay in Dalaras’ large repertoire. In 1970, he released the album “Να ‘τανε το 21 ” (Na ‘tane to ikosi-ena, “If only it were ’21”, that is, 1821, a reference to the Greek War of Independence). The album was immediately more successful than his debut LP and included hits such as “Na ‘tane to 21′”, “Κάπου νυχτώνει” (“Kapou nichtoni”, Somewhere the night falls), and an instrumental version of “Pou ‘ne ta chronia”. The album was made up entirely of compositions by Stavros Kouyioumtzis. The songs were mainly reinterpretations, as was common in the late 60s for new Greek singers; however, not all the songs on their first release (most of them on the smaller yet more distinctive LYRA label) had proved successful, and in many instances, even now, many people in Greece believe that the Dalaras songs are originals and not cover versions.
On a personal note, Dalaras married Anna Ragousi in 1983, also his manager and former politician who served with the PASOK government in 2009 and 2011. They have one daughter, Georgianna. Dalaras is a collector of musical instruments and in his spare time, he goes fishing and traveling on his motorcycle, being a big motorsports fan.
Xronia Polla to Giorgos, who turns 70 today!