George Dalaras : biography
George Dalaras ( born 29 September 1949), also possibly spelled as Yorgos or Giorgos Dalaras, is a Greek singer. He is of international fame and has recently been selected as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency. He was born in Nea Kokinia, Piraeus. His father was Loukas Daralas, a singer of rebetiko.
First gold album
In 1972, Dalaras, along with singer Haris Alexiou, received his big break in the Greek music industry when their LP Mikra Asia (Asia Minor) went gold, his first album to do so. The songs were written by Apostolos Kaldaras, a heavyweight in the laïkó scene of the 50s and 60s, who at this time decided to enter the political fray of Greek music. Dalaras and Alexiou were immediately thrown into the limelight. The LP was also recently re-released in both CD and limited edition LP format by Minos-EMI. The Mikra Asia LP was followed up by Vizantinos Esperinos (Byzantine Vespers) in 1973. The album consisted again of Dalaras and Haris Alexiou, and was composed by Apostolos Kaldaras, however the lyrics were by the emerging Lefteris Papadopoulos, who had written Dalaras' first official recording. This was the last time that Dalaras officially worked with Apostolos Kaldaras in the studio, however, they worked together in live performances. Unlike Mikra Asia, Vizantinos Esperinos did not meet with exceptional sales, and is somewhat 'forgotten' in the repertoire of Dalaras's songs.
Dalaras was born George Daralas, son of the rembetiko singer Loukas Daralas. He subsequently anagrammatized his name to Dalaras. Since 1983 Dalaras is married to Anna Ragousi, also his manager, who is also a 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.
After several LPs and further collaborations with Kouyioumtzis, Kaldaras, Manos Loïzos, Mikis Theodorakis and others, Dalaras decided to release his own renditions of rebetiko songs on the double LP 50 Chronia Rebetiko Tragoudi released 1975. The recording proved an immediate success, despite the toning down of the lyrics. However, as a result, a new movement was set to take place in Greek music, and the once forgotten rebetes were finding themselves performing, in some cases for the first time in 30 to 40 years. He followed up this work with an LP in 1980, Rebetika tis Katochis, which was a more gritty and meaty release, more faithful to the tone of the original rebetika as heard in the 1930s. However again references to drugs were cut out, and only mentioned in passing. Unlike the previous double LP, this one contained some of the original musicians, Bayianteras and Genitsaris in particular making an appearance on the album.
International Orthodox Youth Conference controversy
Dalaras had been scheduled to perform a concert on the closing night of the second International Orthodox Youth Conference held in Istanbul from 11 to 15 July 2007. The event, organised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, had drawn the ire of the Turkish press and Turkish nationalist politicians who filed complaints to the Governorship of Istanbul to revoke the licence for the concert it had issued, and the concert was abruptly cancelled by the Turkish authorities of the Governorship of Istanbul on the grounds that the country's Archaeological Service did not permit the use of the planned venue, the 15th century Rumeli Hisar castle. The site had previously been used for international theatre festivals and for an international dance festival, until its use was prohibited by the Archaeological Service.http://news.ert.gr/en/c/7/26165.asp The last-minute cancellation of the concert attracted strong media coverage and criticism in neighbouring Greece.
Collaborations and styles
Since the 1960s, George Dalaras has recorded more than 120 records. He has sung numerous different Greek music styles (e.g. rebetiko, laïkó, Latin, pop), Israeli and Arabic music, and religious music. He has collaborated with many contemporary Greek composers, including Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Kouyioumtzis, Manos Loizos, Apostolos Kaldaras, Stavros Xarhakos and Manos Hadjidakis to Christos Nikolopoulos. He also discovered and supported little Areti Ketime, whose first CD album he produced. Apart from his prominent singing career, Dalaras is considered to be one a talented musician as he plays most of the stringed instruments of a Greek folk band with great success, including the guitar, bouzouki, baglama, tzoura and outi. He has accompanied Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucía, among others. Dalaras' most important projects include collaborations with several international singers, including British singer Sting, even releasing a duet with Sting ("Mad About You"). He has also collaborated with Pyx Lax, Bruce Springsteen, Jethro Tull, Yehuda Poliker, Emma Shapplin, Goran Bregovic, Apostolis Anthimos, Dulce Pontes, Andriana Babali and many others. Dalaras moved from his homestay label of Minos EMI in favour of Universal Music Greece in 2006, thus ending an almost 40 year collaboration.
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