Manolis Chiotis (March 21, 1921 – March 21, 1970) was a Greek composer, one of the most important of the folk song, and a great bouzouki master. It revolutionized folk song and Greek music in general, inventing the four-stringed bouzouki variation, but also creating the first “secular center”.
He was born on March 21, 1921 in Thessaloniki (according to other reports in Nafplio). His father’s name was Diamantis Chiotis, a heavyweight born in Piraeus. From a young age he began to play the folk instruments and began to learn near a Thessaloniki music teacher, first guitar, bouzouki and then oud. Thus, from the age of 15 when his family moved to Nafplio, Manolis Chiotis began working professionally as a musician.
Around 1935, he went to Athens to study violin and it was then that he met Stratos Pagioumtzis, who hired him to play the bouzouki next to him in the “Forest” center of Votanikos. In 1937, Manolis Chiotis, following the rebetiko motif, recorded his first song, “I do not count money”, which immediately became a success. Until the war, but also after it, he continued to write songs, but seeing that with the “classical” bouzouki he could not perform faster in rhythmic musical performances, he proceeded to the great innovation by adding another string to the instrument, thus creating the “Four-string bouzouki”. With the four-string bouzouki, the horizon opened for unimaginable performances in speed compared to the classic bouzouki.
At the same time in the 1950s, he was the first to apply the amplifier to a popular instrument. Thus innovating, begins the period of archontorebetiko where the bouzouki is now accepted by the so-called high society, for the sake of which he began choosing to write songs with a Latin American character, mainly mambo. This second innovation of his, now established him as the leader of a special school of music and song from the audience of his time. At that time, the Athenian press called him “the bouzouki driver in the salons”.
The first entertainment center he created was, after the war, “Pigal”, which was also the first “secular center” of Athens. From the end of the 1950s he continued to present his program at the then famous center “Spilia” or “Spilia tou Paraskeva” in Piraeus, which was shaped accordingly the area before the ancient Tunnel, on the track of which most of the shots were shot. of his relevant cinematographic participations.
At the end of 1953, Manolis Chiotis visited Alexandria, Egypt together with Zoe Nachi, singer and guitarist George Gozadinos, accordionist Ath. Karabelas and pianist Konstantinos Bogdanos. There, for more than 100 days, he entertained the visitors of “EXELSIOR” Casino. Then from 11/2/1954 to 14/3/1954, Manolis Chiotis visits Cairo where he plays in the “CIRO’S” store to return again to Alexandria, where he will continue to play in the “EXELSOR” casino until on Sunday 18/4/1954. Then he returned to Athens.
In the 1960s Manolis Chiotis was permanently included in a special panel of Greek artists of the ceremonial service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the proposed entertainment of the high visitors of the Country. Manolis Chiotis had sung in front of many rulers and other heads of state, while he was even invited to play in the White House on the birthday of President Lyndon Johnson.
Manolis Chiotis is said to have written more than 1500 songs. Despite this, he regularly participated as a soloist in recordings of many other folk composers. Characteristic was the fact that Mikis Theodorakis relied on the skill of M. Chiotis during his first official record appearance with “Epitaph” by Giannis Ritsos, a collaboration that continued in “Lipotachtes”, “Archipelagos” etc. At the same time he collaborated similarly with Manos Hadjidakis.
His greatest hits were attributed to singer Mary Linda, who was his second wife for a decade, with whom he also appeared in the movies. It is noted that Manolis Chiotis had been married three times. His first wife was Zoe Nachi, with whom he had two children. In 1958 he married his great partner, Mary Linda, a marriage full of success, but it ended unexpectedly in 1967 – 1968. Then Manolis Chiotis married Beba Kyriakidou (1936-2019), with whom he spent the rest of his life .
Manolis Chiotis died suddenly of heart failure at the Hippocratic Hospital of Athens, on March 21, 1970. The announcement of his death moved the whole of Greece. All the state radio and television stations at that time (EIR and YENED) made special dedications, while the daily press paid special tributes to him.
From the large number of songs she wrote, unforgettable works especially with Mary Linda were among others :.
Taka taka the petals (1952)
I am the rich kid (1952)
Tonight be my friend (1955)
Thessaloniki my great poor mother (1956)
Many times (1956)
After You Want It (1958)
Extinguish the flame (1958)
My past loves (1959)
You Are the Cause I Suffer (1959)
Take My Tear (1960)
I do not want you to come again (1961)
The schooner (1962)
You look like a sea (1962)
Call me (1964) etc.
All of the above information is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia