George Dalaras

George Dalaras
Biography
George Dalaras

For five decades, George Dalaras has been one of Greece's most influential artists collaborating with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Youssou'n'Dour, Paco de Lucia, Peter Gabriel, Goran Bregovic and Dulce Pontes. These collaborations speak volumes of his continued passion for musical development and his influence on world music

Described as one of Greece's most important musical ambassadors in the last forty years, George Dalaras is in the midst of a world tour which will reach Australian shores in October. Playing a complete repertoire of songs from his career, George Dalaras will bring to Australia a show that has recently played across Eurpoe, Zurich, Vienna, Dusseldorf and for the very first time in Istanbul.

Along with contemporary artists Melina Aslanidou and Michalis Tzouganakis, he plays shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide which promise to be the highest calibre musical experiences we have had in a long time.

Exploring the depths of the Rebetiko, Laika and Demotica genres since the late 60’s, George Dalaras has exposed the soundtrack to Greek urban life onto the world stage, and has infused his own rare talent with some of the world’s most influential artists.

Born in Piraeus, the main port of Athens, George Dalaras comes from a tradition of folk and Greek blues music - the Rebetika. His mother was a Greek refugee from Smyrna of the Asia Minor catastrophe, and his father was a performer in the Rebetiko style.

In 1969, with a background of political upheaval and unrest, George Dalaras records his debut album, released to high critical and commercial acclaim. This and his second album, which achieved greater commercial success, were a collection of Laika compositions by Stavros Kougioumtzis.  In his early twenties he achieves stardom and begins working with the great names in Greek music.  He records "18 Songs of a Bitter Homeland” by Mikis Theodorakis, Greece's most celebrated composer, with lyrics by Yiannis Ritsos. In 1974 he tours Greece and Europe several times with Theodorakis, interpreting some of the composer’s greatest songs.  

Since then George Dalaras has sold more than 14 million albums. In all, he has released some 80 personal albums and has collaborated in more than 65 others as musician or producer.

In 1988, at the Herod Atticus Theatre in Athens, he twice performs and records Mikis Theodoraki’s masterpiece “AXION ESTI”, based on the poem by Nobel poet Odysseas Elytis.  A few years later, at the same theatre, he records a tribute concert to Mikis Theodorakis and his film music with the Metropole Orchestra.

In 1994, he performs in a filmed tribute to the history of Greek music, directed by award winning film-maker Costas Gavras and a supporting cast of 250, he pays homage to the complex and multi-national roots of Greek music over a run of ten unforgettable shows. In the same year, during a concert at the Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey before an audience of 22,000, Senator Edward Kennedy presents him with the Kennedy Award in recognition of his humanitarian work.

Particularly supportive of causes associated with labour movements, discrimination against women and children, sufferers of emotional or physical abuse and refugees – his fight for justice and his support for the politically or socially oppressed make him a vehicle for humanitarian initiatives.

The following year he embarks on a journey through Greece's Balkan neighbourhood, spreading the magic of Greek music, adding a new dimension to his repetoire in one of his most popular albums, "Thessaloniki - Giannena, Me Dio Pappoutsia Panina", the fruit of his collaboration with Goran Bregovic. During the same period and over a number of years, he performs with Greece's most talented and influential young artists such as Pyx Lax, Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Gianni Vardi.

In  2003, George Dalaras returns to the Herodes Atticus Odeon with Glykeria, in a Tribute to Asia Minor. The concert is held under the auspices of his Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and UNESCO.

In May 2005 George Dalaras and Dulce Pontes performs two unique concerts at the Herodes Atticus Odeon entitled “The Sea and Us”.  The artists were accompanied by a popular orchestra and ERT’s National Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Loukas Karitinos. These concerts were organized by the Friends’ Association of Children with Cancer “HOPE” for supporting their objectives, under the auspices of the Hellenic Festival.

Between 2005 and 2010 George Dalaras continues to tour his wide repertoire of music with a particular focus on the Rebetiko and collaborations with contemporary artists, including Melina Aslanidou, Sofia Papazoglou and Michalis Tzouganakis. He takes part in cultural festivals in Vienna, continues to pay homage to the great Mikis Theodorakis in a series of shows in 2005, and in 2007, continues his long standing association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCR) in two unique concerts at the Athens Concert Hall – the proceeds offered to refugee children across Africa.

On October 5, 2006, Dalaras is named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Antonio Guterres during a ceremony at the Old Parliament Building in Athens.

In April 2007, George Dalaras embarks on a European Tour entitled “Inspired by Rembetiko”.  He is accompanied by Michalis Tzouganakis and Melina Aslanidou, who help him showcase the rich tapestry that is Greek music to sell out crowds in eleven European cities.  

In 2008, he participates in a production called “Enchanted Songs - Tribute to Rebetiko” directed by Sotiris Chatzakis, at the Athens Concert Hall, in collaboration with Babis Stokas, Sofia Papazoglou, Zacharias Karounis and Aspasia Stratigou. The tribute is highly acclaimed by both critics and audience.

With an exceptional voice and a breadth of skills across a wide range of instruments, George Dalaras is at the forefront of innovation in contemporary Greek music.

In a country with so many traditions and cultural influences, George Dalaras has become a phenomenon.

His art and his popularity transcend the borders of Greece precisely because his compositions, poignant expressions of protest, social indignation and hope, set him apart from the common run of musicians. His performances are not simply a great event but also an emotional, cultural experience – a musical voyage of discovery.

We are proud to host George Dalaras on this, the world Encore Tour in 2010 - performing in Sydney (October 26), Adelaide (October 128) and Melbourne (October 30).

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