Stelios Kazantzidis

Υπάρχω, μες τα μάτια σου που κλαίνε
μες τα χείλη σου που καίνε
και θα υπάρχω στα τραγούδια που θ' ακούς

I will exist in your crying eyes
in your burning lips
and I will exist in the songs you will hear

Stelios Kazantzidis (August 29, 1931–September 14, 2001) (Greek: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης) was a prominent Greek singer. Between the 1950s and 1990s he was considered the voice of the Greek Diaspora. But even so, he remained little known outside of Greece, with the possible exception of Israel. His death was an emotional event for both Greece and its diaspora; the obituaries gave full appreciations of his life and his importance [1].

Such was his emotional attachment to the people of Greece and its migrants, Kazantzidis was given a national funeral through the streets of Athens which was broadcast live on Greek Television.

His death saw Greece and its millions of migrants scattered all over the world, with whom Kazantzidis had formed an amazing bond through his words, shed tears, for in Stelios they had a means of expression. His music captured their feelings in a period which forever would change Greece.

For example, a sample of his work translated amounts to, "The bread of foreign lands is bitter, the water isn't clear and the mattresses are hard (i.e. uncomfortable)". Here the words of Kazantzidis are being used metaphorically to represent the feeling of "isolation" and "loneliness" experienced by a typical Greek victim of "diaspora".

He was considered by many as the most prolific and stirring singer of Greek popular music, or Laïkó, and he worked with many of Greece's most renowned composers and writers. One of the first composers he ever worked with described his voice as "made for expressing anguish".


Kazantzidis was born at 33 Alaeas St, Nea Ionia in Athens. He was the first of two brothers born to Haralambos Kazantzidis (of Pontus roots) and Gesthimani Kazantzidis, who moved from what is now Western Turkey to Greece during the Greco-Turkish War.

He was orphaned at the age of 13 when his father, a member of the Greek Resistance, died after his capture and torture during the Nazi occupation of Greece. This forced Kazantzidis into employment, working as a baggage-carrier at Omonia Square and then for an interstate bus company, as a seller of roasted chestnuts at open markets, as a labourer at the Nea Ionia textile mills.

His life changed when the owner of a factory, in the Perissos working district, gave him a guitar. He spent long hours playing music. His songs were full of pain, anguish and sorrow, echoing a country recovering from the wounds of war and of fellow country men and women leaving for a better life abroad.

He made his first public appearance at a Kifissia night club in the early 1950s and soon after, in July 1952, made his first studio recording at Columbia studios with a song entitled "I'm going for a swim", written by Apostolos Kaldaras. It did not do well but he tried again, recording Gianni Papaioannou's "The suitcases" soon after. The song became the first of many hits and with his newfound popularity he began to make appearances in some of the biggest clubs of the time, like "Theios", "Mpertzeletos" and "Rosiniol".

With his career in full swing, Stelios began to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the Greek music scene of the time, like the renowned composers Vassilis Tsitsanis, Manos Hadjidakis, Miki Theodorakis, Stavros Xarhakos and Manolis Hiotis.


  • Madam Mayor (1960)
  • Oi Adistaktoi (1965)
  • Hour of justice (1967)
  • O Gerodokoros (1967)
  • The world's breadcrubs (1968)


The best songs of Stelios Kazantzidis include:

  • To Agriolouloudo - The Wildflower - 2:50
  • Allotines Mou Epoches - 2:43
  • Anemona - 3:00
  • Den Tha Xanagapiso = I Will Never Love Again - 3:10
  • As Eicha tin Ygeia Mou - If I Had My Health - 3:03
  • An Einai i Agapi Egklima If Love Is A Crime - 2:26
  • Ego me tin Axia Mou - 3:15
  • Eimai Ena Kormi Chameno - I'm A Lost Man - 3:33
  • Exo Ap'Adiko - 3:04
  • Gyrizo Ap'ti Nychta - Returning From The Night - 2:58
  • Tin Kalyva Ti Diki Mou - That Hut Of Mine - 2:32
  • I Kardia Mou As Opsetai - 3:16
  • Kathenas me ton Pono Tou - Each With His Pain - 3:20
  • Katastrofes kai Symfores - 3:45
  • Ki An Gello Einai Psema - If I Laugh, It's A Lie - 3:24
  • Me Xypnas Charamata - You Wake Me At Dawn - 2:40
  • Niotho mia Kourasi Vareia - I Feel A Deep Weariness - 3:05
  • Nomiza Pos Itan Filoi = I Thought They Were Friends - 3:15
  • Otan Methaei o Anthropos - When A Man Gets Drunk - 2:46
  • Pare ta Chnaria Mou - 3:08
  • I Stenachoria Mou - My Troubles - 3:00
  • Tha to Po Fanera - I'll Say It Opennly - 3:24
  • Dio portes ehi i zoi - Life Has Two Doors - 3:20
  • Sto Trapezi pou ta Pino = At The Table Where I Drink - 2:37
  • H Kypros ine Elliniki - Cyprus is Greek - 3:12


  • 1961-63
  • O Stelios Tragoudaei = 'Stelios is Singing (2001/2002)
  • Yparcho


His popular songs which made himself famous was later heard and sang by several singers including Mitropanos and Giorgos Margaritis on NET's Cheers or Stin Ygeia Mas, it was heard in several episodes of this program

Broadcasted by ERT on Tuesday November 1, 2006, his songs were to be on the talk show named Life is a Game (I Zoi Einai Paichnidia, I Zoi Inai Paihnidia). See the show for more details


IMDB entry on Stelios Kazantzidis

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