When you think about Greek music, there are probably many names that pop into your head: Dalaras, Mouskouri, Theodorakis and of course also… Manos Hatzidakis.
Manos Hatzidakis was a composer and has written hundreds of popular Greek songs. He was also one of the first composers, together with Mikis Theodorakis, who introduced the “Entechno music” in the Greek music landscape. One of Hatzidakis’ songs already became internationally known in 1959, when Nana Mouskouri participated in the first Greek Song Festival and won the first prize performing his song ‘Κάπου υπάρχει η αγάπη μου’ (My love must be somewhere out there). The song was also performed by the well-known singer Georges Moustaki.
The love for Greek music is a reason why many adults start learning Greek. It is a great way to learn the lyrics and sing along during concerts. Not only do you learn more about the Greek language, but also about the Greek culture and passion that is described in many songs.
Many of our students love the music of Hatzidakis and Hélène Wangermée, from France and a piano teacher, is one of them. She has written some more words about his life & work.
Childhood & youth
Manos H. was born on 23-10-1925 in Xanthi, North Greece. From his childhood, Manos started reading music and playing the piano and the violin. In 1932, he moved to Athens with his family. In 1938 his father was killed in a plane crash. This tragic accident and the outbreak of World War II ruined the family financially.
Studies & influences
Manos, nevertheless, started higher studies in music and philosophy and at that same time he began associating with artists and intellectuals, such as Gatsos, Seferis, Elitis, and Tsarouchas, who strongly influenced his thoughts and ideology. In 1945 he met Melina Mercouri, who became his best friend.
In 1946 he finished his first project in the film industry, whereas his cooperation with the “Art Theatre“ of K. Koun started in 1954 and would last 15 years. In 1960, Manos Hatzidakis was awarded an Oscar for the song “The children of Piraeus” from J. Dassin’s film “Never on Sunday”. He became the first Greek composer to make a Greek song popular in the rest of the world.
A very important aspect in the life of Hatzidakis was, in 1965, the beginning of successful cooperation with Maurice Béjart’s “Ballet of the 20th century”. In that same period (1966) Manos left for America and returned to Greece in 1972, the darkest year of the junta. After the fall of the dictatorship, he took on many cultural obligations- mainly the direction of the state-run radio station “ Third Programme” (1975-1981).
Manos Hatzidakis died in Athens on 15-06-1994.
Rebetiko & Entechno
His whole life, Manos Hatzidakis was dedicated to and strongly related to the traditional Greek song. In 1949, in a lecture about “ Rebetico” songs, he supported this genre which was, at that time, either unknown or despised. Later, he created, together with Mikis Theodorakis, the “Entechno”, a very important music stream, in which music has very close ties with Greek poetry. Along with his interest in the Greek song, Manos Hatzidakis was also a composer with personal inspiration. He managed to create a wonderful composition, combining the world of folk music with his new musical horizons.
Note: On Saturday November 4th, 2017 the Omilo students will join a concert dedicated to the music of Manos Hatzidakis in the new Opera building at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre in Athens.
You can find all info for this concert (Manos Xatzidakis, « Η εποχή της Μελισσάνθης ») on the website of the Greek National Opera. For those who are in Athens, be quick and you might be lucky and still find a place for 4 or 5 November.
For those that do not have the opportunity to attend a concert soon, click here and listen to some known Hatzidakis-songs. Enjoy.
Music was written for Maurice Bejart and his ballets
This video below was taken during one of the Omilo courses on the island of Syros: a Jazz concert in Ano Syros, transforming a very known M. Hatzidakis song.
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