The leading Greek singer, George Dalaras, unfolds bright and dark experiences of his life, recalls painful losses and intense emotions, talks about what motivates him, describes his need to communicate and express himself through music, but also to explore it throughout every aspect and explains why a singer must first be a musician and why he should never convince himself that he’s the one, the only one...
George Dalaras: falling in love with music
George Dalaras is a singer who sings and performs straight from the soul, a man who loved every aspect of music, a music researcher, who followed his destiny in his own way.
By Christina Katsantoni
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
The name of George Dalaras is intertwined with the Greek song in all its forms. He has transferred the power of Greek music to the biggest theaters of the world, but also to tormented places and has made millions of hearts feel hope, fall in love and be flooded with notes and emotion.
"George is characterised by generosity and gratitude in all their meanings. George is brave and his song is a gift to culture" Kostas Gavras once said about him. For George Dalaras, singing is a motivation for learning and a need for communication. From a very young age, he felt moved by the sounds of instruments, voices and melodies, and when he listened to a song that touched him, he immediately started to search its history.
The difficult childhood years of George Dalaras
Dalaras was born in Piraeus and his first musical memories are closely related to folk and rebetiko music , as his father, uncles and grandfather were all musicians. His father, Loukas, was an excellent instrumentalist and a very good singer, but at the same time he was also an independent person who traveled constantly. For George Dalaras, his father was "an acrobat of space and sea", who may have been away from home or later had other families, but no one held a grudge against him. During his childhood it was difficult to understand why his father was absent from home, but growing up he got used to the fact that when his father came home they had a great time altogether.
More difficult for him was the emigration of his brother, who left for Zurich at the age of nine, as a “victim” of the need, poverty and destitution that defined many families of the time. He used to see him every two years, when he returned to Greece bringing him international news. And no matter how negative his mother was towards his music inclination, when his brother brought him a guitar as a gift, no one could change George’s destiny anymore.
From working nights, to concerts and theaters
At a very young age he made his first appearance as a singer and guitarist of Stellakis Perpiniadis. George lived a lot of experiences and learned a lot by working nights, despite not liking the atmosphere and that way of living. But working nights made him realise that if he’d going to follow a career in singing, he’d do it his way; and that's exactly what he did.
Driven by his studies about music and art and with a permanent desire to take music to the level it deserves to be and in places where it will be respected, he started appearing in theaters and concerts in Greece and all over the world.
A wonderful and restless journey
As a restless spirit and never being satisfied with himself, he continued his musical explorations, leading the public in forgotten Greek music paths, such as smirneiko (folk music from Smyrna) and rebetiko. He performed classical and modern Greek songs, but also songs from the wider Mediterranean area. He collaborated with world-renowned symphony orchestras and famous foreign artists, but also with young singers and songwriters. He worked on the sound and the notes without resting on conquered forms, while at the same time his name accompanied some of the most important Greek songs and collaborated with the most important Greek creators, in a wonderful music journey which he couldn’t even imagine. His only guide has always been his love for singing and his need to communicate, to express himself, to understand the reason for his existence through music.
Today, he declares that he is happy, not only with the sales of his records that have exceeded 18.000.000, the packed theaters and stadiums, the hundreds of concerts and tours all over the world, but mainly because he managed to describe and communicate what he had inside him, to love and to be loved and to serve music and singing in the best possible way, in his own way.