“O Sir tou Ellinikou Tragouthiou”.
Grigorios Bithikotsis, (December 11, 1922 – April 7, 2005) was a Greek folk singer/songwriter with a career spanning five decades. He is considered one of the most important figures in Greek popular music today.
Bithikotsis was born in Peristeri, Athens, to a poor family. He became interested in music at an early age, and acquired a bouzouki as soon as he was able. At first, he had to hide the instrument at a friend’s house and practice in secret, as his father disapproved of the new rembetiko style that had captured his son’s interest.
He met composer Mikis Theodorakis in 1959 and the two collaborated producing folk songs. Bithikotsis composed over 80 songs, including: Stou Belami to Ouzeri and Tou Votanikou o Magas. He possessed a rich singing voice with which he performed his own compositions and those of Theodorakis, who frequently chose his friend Grigoris to perform his masterpieces. The two contributed greatly to the then-emerging laika style of Greek music.
Throughout his life, Bithikotsis performed frequent concerts at numerous venues, including one in Athens upon the occasion of his eightieth birthday. He died in Athens, in 2005, following three months of hospitalization. His funeral was attended by thousands, including representatives of all the Greek political parties.
Paying tribute to this master’s discography, local maestro and highly regarded musician Thanasis Pylarinos, who is known for his tribute shows in Sydney, will be performing under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW and the Greek Festival of Sydney, with a 14 piece orchestra, and aims to honour Bithikotsis and his iconic songs, as not only a tribute to him, but also to his late father who adored his songs.
O Sir Tou Ellinkou Tragoudiou, is how Bithikotsis is known, by his then contemporaries and his admirers til today. He was given this title because of his exemplary nature and his commitment to his craft, which has stood the test of time.
The revered musical maestro Thanasi Pylarinos, together with the much loved local vocalists, Vasilis Metaxas, Tina Kokkalis and George Karantonis, will be leading the tribute concert and it promises to be one for the ages.
The highly respected accompanying musicians that form the orchestra are George Doukas (guitar, baglama), George Vavasis (keyboards), George Nikolopoulos (bass), Jess Ciampa (drums), John Zaharis (bouzouki) Perry Tsepetzis (bouzouki), Kostaki Benetatos (14 years old – bouzouki), Ignatius Mariolas (guitar), Nicholas Lafkas (flute).
On 1 May at 7.30pm at Bankstown Sports Centre, Thanasi Pylarinos will honour the incredible musical prowess of Theodorakis, Xatzidakis, Moutsos, Xarhakos, who wrote many of the songs Bithikotsis performed.
Tickets can be purchased at bankstownsports.com Be sure to book now for what will be a glorious night of Greek entertainment and music.