Summer Nostos FestivalSummer Nostos Festival

Music

Yorgos Margaritis

The Greek Music Scene

Wednesday June 26, 22.00, Great Lawn

Yorgos Margaritis

As a young boy, in his father’s café in Trikala, Yorgos Margaritis saw the legendary songwriter and bouzouki player Vassilis Tsitsanis. He urged his father to introduce him to the great composer. And there, in front of this mythical figure, he sang, seeking Tsitsanis’s approval to follow a career in what he already loved passionately: singing. Yorgos Margaritis, a leading performer of laiki music who has boldly ventured into different musical forms and is loved by many different types of audiences, is appearing at the Summer Nostos Festival accompanied by a large orchestra to present a selection of the most important moments of his musical journey, as well as a tribute to Greek laiko and rebetiko songs.

His voice is unique, authentic, and instantly recognizable. His repertoire is large and includes songs which have been major hits in Greece. Forward-looking and always ready to experiment and collaborate with younger artists, Yorgos Margaritis is an emblematic personality in the history of Greek laiki music. As he has said, “I belong to them. To Markos [Vamvakaris], to Tsitsanis, to Papaioannou and our other greats. All of them sang just like they talked. And this is who I am; I never pretended to be someone else, I never got a big head.” But that did not prevent him from working with artists from the entire musical spectrum and releasing 34 albums to date.

Yorgos Margaritis was born in the village of Petroto, prefecture of Trikala in Central Greece, although he prefers to remember it by its original name of Baia. His roots go back to Asia Minor, with his paternal grandfather having his origins in the area around Smyrna. His parents lived from hand to mouth and he had a deprived childhood. He adored music, and when orchestras arrived in the region for religious feasts, he would run out onto the street to greet them. He never missed a feast, and at home he would watch his father and brother play flute.

At the age of fifteen, a mere teenager, he came to Athens after receiving a nod of approval from Vassilis Tsitsanis. In the 1970s he built his repertoire, and gained experience and knowledge. In the 1980s, he began recording successful albums featuring songs by the legendary musician and songwriter Takis Soukas. There followed powerful collaborations with masters such as Vassilis Vassiliadis, Antonis Repanis, Akis Panou, Christos Nikolopoulos, Takis Mousafiris, and other greats, which led to gold and platinum records. He also performed classic laika songs by Babis Bakalis in collaboration with the composer on the album These are the songs I grew up with.

He has worked with celebrated composers and lyricists, including Thanasis Polykandriotis, Manos Eleftheriou, Ilias Katsoulis, Manolis Rassoulis, and Petros Vagiopoulos, as well as artists from the “modern” side, as Margaritis refers to them, such as Lavrentis Macheritsas, Thodoris Manikas, Yannis Logothetis, and others. All these collaborations generated big hits and expanded his audience even more. Margaritis paid the ultimate tribute to his mentor, Vassilis Tsitsanis, with a double album which won much acclaim, both artistically and commercially. A triple album of classic Greek laika songs titled A Century of Laika Songs was equally successful.

Featuring:
Christina Galiatsou -
song
& musicians:
Nikos Stratigos: piano –
orchestrations
Yiannis Tsatouxas:
violin
Angelos Papadimitriou:
bouzouki
Kostas Petas:
bass
George Tsoupakis:
drums
Giorgos Paschalis:
guitar
Dimitris Liolios:
bouzouki
Alekos Roupas:
percussion
Manos Grisbolakis:
accordion
Christos Michalis:
guitar