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Stelios Kazantzidis

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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.

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”.

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