Dimitris Basis: ‘Here in Australia there is a piece of Greece’


When international Greek singer, Dimitris Basis, enters the offices of The Greek Herald in Sydney for our exclusive interview, I’m instantly struck by his charisma, intelligence and pure love of music.

He isn’t afraid to speak openly about how although he was born in the German city of Stuttgart, he always liked Greek and Byzantine music from a young age.

“During my childhood years, parallel with Byzantine music, I also uncovered Greek songs. I listened to the singers of that time – Dalaras, Bithikotsis and Kazantzidis,” Basis says.

“Especially Kazantzidis because my parents were migrants to Germany and his songs were a part of our life at home.”

This passion helped Basis realise he wanted to be a singer and although his parents were unsure about his career choice at first, they eventually accepted it was what he wanted.

Dimitris Basis in The Greek Herald office. Photo: The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

“I was 21 or 22 years old and I told my parents, ‘I will be a singer. It is what makes me happy.’ They accepted it,” he says.

Basis and his friendship with Mikis Theodorakis:

Since then, Basis has performed across the world with a number of iconic Greek singers including Haris Alexiou and Yannis Kotsiras, but the one who will always hold a special place in his heart is the late composer, Mikis Theodorakis.

In fact, Basis is currently in Australia, with the support of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, to perform a number of tribute concerts for Mikis in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.

READ MORE: Tribute concert for Mikis Theodorakis to hit stages across Australia.

The concert will focus on Mikis’ iconic composition, The Ballad of the Dead Brother, and Basis will be accompanied by a symphonic orchestra under the direction of George Ellis, with a special appearance by performer Maria Yiakoulis.

Basis says it is “a big honour” to be performing this piece of work by Mikis as he has a strong personal connection to it.

“In 1999, I was performing in a concert to honour Mikis Theodorakis in Samos… and Mikis was there. I was performing with Kotsiras, Sotiria Leonardou and Alexiou, and Mikis came to congratulate us,” Basis explains.

“He said to me, ‘well done, you have a great traditional Greek folk singer’s voice and you would be perfect to sing The Ballad of the Dead Brother.’

“Eight months later in 2001, his secretary rang me and said, ‘Mikis wants to see you.’ I didn’t believe it. Inside myself I said, ‘is this the real Mikis?'”

What followed was an unforgettable moment in Basis’ career. Mikis asked Basis to help him redo The Ballad of the Dead Brother because when it was first sung by Bithikotsis in 1961, some of the songs were censored due to the political situation in Greece at the time.

Dimitris Basis performing in Sydney last year. Photo: Bourdo Photography.

“It was a great honour as I was the second singer, after Bithikotsis, to have performed the whole song,” the singer says.

From there, Basis adds, his friendship with Mikis continued to grow and blossom right up until the composer’s death in September 2021 at the age of 96.

READ MORE: Legendary Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis, dies aged 96.

“I was very close to Mikis for over 20 years. I was fortunate enough to know him personally. I was also fortunate enough to visit his house and speak with him. Every time I was visiting Australia, I visited his house and he would tell me stories from Australia,” Basis says with a smile as he remembers.

“This was our friendship until the end and I promised myself and Mikis that for as long as I sing, I will sing his songs and I will play a part in spreading his music to the next generation.”

Basis has a strong connection to Mikis.

‘Greeks in Australia are incomparable’:

Speaking of the next generation, Basis concludes our interview with a strong message for the Greek diaspora in Australia and the readers of The Greek Herald.

The Greek singer stresses that as a child of Greek migrants he “knows what it means to miss Greece,” but he is amazed by the way the Greek community in Australia has been able to maintain Greek customs and traditions.

“Hellenism in Australia has made a huge impact on me and I say that knowing that I’ve travelled all around the world for my work… and the Greeks in Australia are incomparable,” he says, whilst encouraging the diaspora to keep buying and reading The Greek Herald.

“Love the newspaper, continue to support it because you’re not just supporting a newspaper. You’re also supporting your Greek heritage.”

And what about a final message ahead of upcoming concerts?

“I love connecting with the Greeks in Australia,” Basis concludes. “It is an honour for me and I always try to give them my 100 percent to repay them for their love.”

We can’t wait to see him live in a few days!

Concert dates:

  • Melbourne: Friday 6th May 2022 – Melbourne Recital Hall – (03) 9699 3333
  • Perth: Friday 7th May 2022 – Perth Concert Hall- (08) 9231 9999
  • Sydney: Sunday 15th May 2022 – Sydney Recital Hall – (02) 8256 2222
  • Adelaide: Friday 20th May 2022 – Adelaide Town Hall – (08) 8231 4307
  • Brisbane: Friday 27th May 2022 – Queensland Performance Arts Centre – 136 246




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

Fresco of Helen of Troy uncovered at Pompeii

Nearly 2,000 years since it was buried by volcanic rubble, the lost city of Pompeii is yielding even more impressive discoveries. According to msn.com, archeologists...

New casual Greek restaurant brings meze and cocktails to Adelaide’s CBD

Andrew Papadakis, the visionary who founded and successfully sold Meze Mazi, returns to the vibrant Adelaide restaurant scene with his newest venture, Dino’s. According to...

Two Greek women included in ’30 Under 30′ Forbes list

In this year's European Forbes "30 Under 30" list, two exceptional Greek women have managed to stand out for their successful paths in two...

2,300-year-old tomb unearthed in Greece

A tomb in the ancient Macedonian city of Aegae in modern Vergina, Greece, has been unearthed according to an All That’s Interesting report. The tomb is believed...

Yorgos Lanthimos’ new movie ‘Kinds of Kindness’ included in Cannes lineup

New films from Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrea Arnold and Francis Ford Coppola, as well as a portrait of 1980s Donald Trump, will compete for the...

You May Also Like

Greek Australian Dialogue Series continues with video conference featuring Haris Siampanis

The Greek Australian Dialogue Series will continue next week with a special video conference held by Haris Siampanis, Chief Executive Officer of the Benaki...

Melbourne Antipodes Festival set to return to Lonsdale Street this month

Melbourne’s largest Greek cultural celebration is back for another epic street party this month from Saturday, October 22 to Sunday, October 23. This year’s Antipodes...

Jenny Mikakos takes aim at Victorian Premier after hotel quarantine inquiry findings

Former Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, has taken a dramatic swipe at Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, calling his response to the state’s disastrous hotel quarantine...