“O Mr tou Ellinikou Tragouthiou”.
Grigorios Bithikotsis (December 11, 1922 – April 7, 2005) was a Greek folk singer/songwriter with a career spanning five decades. He is considered today as one of the most important figures in Greek popular music.
Bithikotsis was born in Peristeri, Athens, to a poor family. He was interested in music from an early age and acquired a bouzouki as soon as he could. At first he had to hide the instrument at a friend’s house and practice in secret, as his father disapproved of the new style of rembetiko which had captured his son’s interest.
He met composer Mikis Theodorakis in 1959 and the two collaborated on producing folk songs. Bithikotsis has composed more than 80 songs, including: Stou Belami to Ouzeri and Tou Votanikou o Magas. He possessed a rich singing voice with which he performed his own compositions and those of Theodorakis, who frequently chose his friend Grigoris to perform his masterpieces. Both contributed greatly to the then emerging laika style of Greek music.
Throughout his life, Bithikotsis gave frequent concerts in many venues, including one in Athens on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. He died in Athens in 2005 after three months of hospitalization. His funeral was attended by thousands of people, including representatives of all Greek political parties.
Paying homage to this master’s discography, local maestro and much-loved musician Thanasis Pylarinos, known for his Sydney tribute shows, will perform under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW and the Sydney Greek Festival, with a 14-track orchestra, and aims to honor Bithikotsis and his iconic songs, not only as a tribute to him, but also to his late father who adored his songs.
O Sir Tou Ellinkou Tragoudiou, this is how Bithikotsis is known, by his contemporaries then and his admirers until today. He received this title because of his exemplary character and his commitment to his craft which has stood the test of time.
Revered music maestro Thanasi Pylarinos, along with much-loved local singers Vasilis Metaxas, Tina Kokkalis and George Karantonis, will lead the tribute concert and it promises to be one for the ages.
Highly respected backing musicians who make up the orchestra are George Doukas (guitar, baglama), George Vavasis (keyboards), George Nikolopoulos (bass), Jess Ciampa (drums), John Zaharis (bouzouki) Perry Tsepetzis (bouzouki), Kostaki Benetatos (14 years old – bouzouki), Ignatius Mariolas (guitar), Nicholas Lafkas (flute).
On May 1st at 7.30pm at Bankstown Sports Centre, Thanasi Pylarinos will pay tribute to the incredible musical prowess of Theodorakis, Xatzidakis, Moutsos, Xarhakos, who wrote many songs performed by Bithikotsis.
Tickets can be purchased at bankstownsports.com Be sure to book now for what will be a glorious evening of entertainment and Greek music.