Pagioumtzis Stratos

He was born in Ayvalik, Asia Minor in 1904. He came to Greece before the Asia Minor Catastrophe and settled in Piraeus. He worked as a child, but his involvement with music and singing was his great passion. He soon came in contact with the rebetes of Piraeus. Together with Marco Vamvakaris, Anesti Delia and Giorgos Batis they formed the first purely rebetika orchestra. It was known as “Tetras of Piraeus”, in the pure Russian version of Batis.

In 1934 the company first appears in the mantra of Sarantopoulos, in the Resurrection of Piraeus and is very successful. Everyone in the company sings, but Pagioumtzis is the main singer. In the same year, Vamvakaris is preparing to record his first album. He goes to the company to play his songs, but not to sing them, as the company had Pagioumtzis as the main singer, while Vamvakaris himself did not believe in his vocal abilities. However, Spyros Peristeris, the conductor of the company, insists that Markos be the performer of his songs. So, while in the popular stage the songs of Vamvakaris were performed by Pagioumtzis, in the discography Vamvakaris himself sang them.

George Batis also appears in the discography at the same time. Initially, he is recording the song “Batis o dervisis”, while he is preparing to record “Zeibekano spaniolo”. The company promotes the song, but Batis can not sing and so it is recorded with the voice of Pagioumtzis. The songs “O spfgarades” and “Mages karavotsakismeni” follow and in 1936 Stratos sings songs of the fourth of the company, Anestis Delias (“Mages piaste ta mouna”, “Ton antra sou kai mena” etc.).

In the first years of the Piraeus record presence, Pagioumtzis participates in most recordings, even when he is not singing. In many of Vamvakaris’ first songs he plays baglama or glasses, while there are dozens of records where his voice greets the participants in the recording (“Hello Marco with your living penises”, “Hello Spyros with the bouzouki” σου »κ.ά.). In fact, sometimes he even greets himself (“Hello and you, Stratos, with your tzouras!”).

In the mid-30s, the voice of Stratos Pagioumtzis is now emblematic. Since then it is only mentioned by its first name, even on record labels. In 1935 he was used as a singer by Vangelis Papazoglou (“As if I was returning from Pylos”) and since 1937 by other great composers from Asia Minor: Panagiotis Tountas (“My sweet Persephone”, “The man is happy” etc. ), Costas Skarvelis (“They laughed at you”, “The world longs for wealth” etc.) and Spyros Peristeris (“Sea passion”, “For you my black eye” etc.).

In 1938 Pagioumtzis will sing Manolis Chiotis (“You do not say yes and no”) and some of the most famous songs of Bayandera (“I return like a bat”, “Hatzikyriakeio”). He had met Tsitsanis a few months earlier and a long-term collaboration will begin with him. Dozens of well-known songs by Tsitsanis were first recorded with the voice of Stratos Pagioumtzis, something that is considered to be related to their success [citation needed].

After the German Occupation, Pagioumtzis continues his collaboration with the older folk artists (Vamvakari, Tsitsani, Chioti, etc.) and with young people, such as Apostolos Kaldaras (“On a rock”) and George Mitsakis (“Magas came out for sergiani »). He will continue in the discography until the middle of the 50’s, when with the flourishing of the archontorebetiko his career will start to decline.

In the early 60’s George Zambetas brings him back to the forefront, taking advantage of his significant influence in companies. Pagioumtzis records pre-war rebetikas by Apostolos Chatzichristos, Tsitsanis and other creators, the famous amane “Minor tou Stratou” as well as the Olympic anthem “Olympiake megale, Olympiake trane”. Apart from the discography, Pagioumtzis returns to the popular fights, where he worked non-stop from 1934 to 1955.

In October 1971 he managed to get a passport (in 1937 he was arrested for hashish use and went into exile with the result that he was never issued a passport) and went to New York. He worked in “Spilia”, where he was deified by the expatriates. On November 16, 1971, he “extinguished” on the stage, at the age of 67. In order to return him to his homeland and bury him, he had to be raised by his old friends and associates, while the funeral expenses were covered by George Zambetas.

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