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Tribute Concert for Legendary Stelios Kazantzidis in Astoria
Α tribute concert to the legendary singer Stelios Kazantzidis will take place on Friday, December 12 , at the Stathakion Cultural Center (22-51 29th Street, Astoria, NY), featuring vocalists Eleni Andreou and Elias Makrynos with a special guest appearance by Christoforos Zissoulis.
Stelios Kazantzidis was born in Nea Ionia in Athens, Greece. His parents came from Asia Minor. At the age of 13, he lost his father, a member of the Greek Resistance who was tortured to death. This forced young Stelio into the workforce, working as a baggage carrier at Omonia Square , then as a seller of roasted chestnuts at open markets and as a laborer at the Nea Ionia textile mills. His life changed when the owner of a factory which was located in Perissos working district gave him a guitar. He spent long hours playing music.
In July 1952 he made his first recording. Stelios Kazantzidis collaborated with some of the biggest names in Greek music among them, Vassilis Tsitsanis, Giannis Papaioannou, Manolis Chiotis, Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis and Stavros Xarhakos.
In 1964 he married renown Greek singer Marinella and they toured in Germany and the United States. In 1965, at the height of his career, he decided to stop appearing in night clubs. He did not sing in public again for the rest of his life and for the next 10 years he only released studio albums.
Kazantzidis died of a brain tumor in 2001. His death was an emotional event for Greece.
His music was also loved by the Greek diaspora, all over the world capturing the people’s sentiment in the difficult post war period. As the operator of Radio Agapi, a radio station playing Greek music, stated, “Kazantzidis was the voice of the people, the weary, the exploited, the betrayed and the voice of the refuges and the émigrés too.”