January 18, Birth and death of Vassilis Tsitsanis

January 18, Birth and death of Vassilis Tsitsanis

Vassilis Tsitsanis was born on January 18, 1915, and passed away on January 18, 1984, on his 69th birthday.

January 18, Birth and death of Vassilis Tsitsanis

He was a Greek songwriter and bouzouki player.

Tsitsanis became one of the leading Greek composers of his time and is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern Rebetiko and Laiko music.

January 18, Birth and death of Vassilis Tsitsanis

From a young age, Tsitsanis was interested in music and learnt to play the violin, mandola and mandolin, which were the mainstay of many of his songs.

In 1936 he left for Athens to study law, and by 1937, he also learnt how to play the bouzouki and made his first musical recording.

In 1938, he moved to Thessaloniki, where he served his military service, and stayed there for about ten years during the German occupation of Greece.

There he became famous, opened an ouzeria, got married and wrote many of his best songs that were later recorded after the war's end.

January 18, Birth and death of Vassilis Tsitsanis

By the German occupation forces had shutdown the record companies in 1941, he had already recorded about 100 songs and played on many recordings of other composers.

In 1946, Tsitsanis returned to Athens and began recording many of his compositions that made many of the singers that worked with him famously, such as Sotiria Bellou, Marika Ninou, Ioanna Georgakopoulou and Prodromos Tsausakis.

Tsitsanisis is said to have developed the “westernisation” of the rebetiko and made it more known to large sections of the population, also setting the bases for the future laiko.

*Listen to one of Vassilis Tsitsanis' performances here-
*More on GCT: Stelios Kerasidis becomes the youngest Greek student at the famous music conservatory in Paris
GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.