On this day in 1922, Greek singer Grigoris Bithikotsis was born


By Ilektra Takuridu  

The death of Grigoris Bithikotsis marked the end of an age of great urban folk music.

Grigoris has often been described as the voice of Greece, his songs brought traditional music to a contemporary audience, and within his lifetime, he composed over 200 songs. 

His music is loved all around Greece, and some of his biggest fans are among famous people Alain Delon and Aristotle Onassis.

Who was Grigoris Bithikotsis? 

Grigoris Bithikotsis was born in 1922 to a poor family in the district of Athens called Peristeri and was the youngest of 8 siblings. When he was a teenager, he developed a love of music, and despite working as a plumber, he would also sing at the local tavern near his home.

He found his true passion for music when he heard three Greek musicians singing and playing the bouzouki for the first time.

The three musicians were famous Greek folk musician: Manolis Chiotis, Markos Vamvakaris and Stratos Pagioumtzis, who were famous for playing in the ‘rebetiko’ style. This style that was a blend of music styles throughout Greece would be the inspiration for Grigoris song writing. After hearing the musicians, Grigoris bought a bouzouki and studied music in secret. 

 In 1947 Grigoris was sent into exile due to his political views he was sent to Makronissos, and island used as a political prison camp. On this island he met Mikis Theodorakis, the famous composor most known for his score in the film Zorba the Greek, together the pair began writing music. 

His collaboration with Mikis Theodorakis marked his career to the top. One of the most famous songs to come from the duo was “Epitafios” it was written by Theodorakis but it was the voice of Grigoris that completed the piece making it a masterpiece. 

After years of practice and studying, Grigoris made his debut in 1949 and performed for the first time on stage.

Grigoris Bithikotsis is also known to have sung poems written by the famous Nobel award-winning poet Odysseas Elytis “Aksion Esti” and had also performed songs by other famous composers such as Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsani and George Mitsakis.  

During his fame, he was married twice, and he had three children. His son, also named Grigoris, took the same path, and he became a singer. When Grigoris was asked why he give the same name to his son, he answered in his poetic nature that when he will die, he will like that after his funeral, a Grigoris Bithikotsis to return back home. 

At the later stages of his career, Grigoris received the Order of the Phoenix by president Kostis Stephanopoulos for his contribution to folk music. The Greek government usually gives this order to citizens who have excelled in arts. 

In 2005, Grigoris Bithikotsis died in Athens after three months of being hospitalized. He was 82 years old when he passed away. 

His funeral was attended by thousands of fans but also by many famous politicians. They paid their respects to the ‘voice of Greece’ with a carriage pulled by two horses, one white and the other one black, a symbolic reference to his song called “a beautiful carriage with two horses”. 

He was a great artist who expressed the happiness and the sorrow of the Greek nation throughout his music. He was authentic in his style and poetic with his performance, this is why Greeks loved Grigoris Bithikotsis and called him the voice of Greece.




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


Latest News

Data breach hits Cyprus Community of NSW amid Stanmore property EOI campaign

The Cyprus Community of NSW has been struck by a data breach, leading to a wave of unauthorised communications sent to its members.

Adelaide Lord Mayor holds reception to mark centenary of Australia’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Lord Mayor of Adelaide Dr Jane Lomax-Smith held a reception in honour of the centenary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (GOAA).

Kon Karapanagiotidis and ASRC team raise over $1.4 million for refugees

Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM and his team raised just under one and a half million dollars for World Refugee Day in 17 hours.

Cypriots to gather at Melbourne’s Federation Square to mark 50 years since Turkish invasion

The Cyprus 50th Anniversary Action Group is calling on communities to join in marking the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Peter Courtis travels to Pearl Harbor for training on US nuclear-powered submarines

Nuclear shift test engineer, Peter Courtis will leave for Pearl Harbor on Saturday to work on US nuclear-powered submarines.

You May Also Like

The utilisation of Philhellenes benefits Greek culture

Professor Anastasios Tamis writes an opinion piece for The Greek Herald about Philhellenes and their role in Greek culture.

National Archaeological Museum in Athens plans expansion

On Wednesday the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotaki presented the new design for the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Tsitsipas defends Marseille title in victory against Felix Auger-Aliassime

Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed the Marseille trophy on Sunday after a victory over Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime.