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Manolis Chiotis the best bouzouki player of Greek music

manolis chiotisManolis Chiotis was a Greek Folk music composer and bouzouki master, who introduced the fourth -double- string in the bouzouki. He was born on March 21, 1920 in Thessaloniki, where his family had moved from Nafplio. During his student years he took guitar and bouzouki essons from the famous music teacher of the time Georgios Lolos. In 1935 he returned with his family to Nafplio and at the age of just 15 he made his first appearances in taverns in the area.

In 1936 he landed in Athens. He appeared for a few days in “Pagonia” music club and immediately after in “Dasos”, next to the composer Stratos Pagioumtzis. He was still 16 years old, but Pagioumtzis, recognizing his talent, introduced him to Columbia records, with which he signed his first contract in the winter of 1936.

The following year he recorded his first song “Why do not you say yes” , performed by Stratos Pagioumtzis. A little later he met Bayanderas and played with him in the classic performances of his pre-war successes.
Immediately after his release, Manolis Chiotis used the amplifier for the first time in his appearances and his career took off, when his already successful song “O pasatempos” (1946) was recorded in a second performance.

In this song, according to the prevailing opinion, the four-string bouzouki makes its first appearance, an innovation that is estimated that Chiotis was the first to use, although it seems that the four-string bouzouki finally existed earlier. On stage, he uses two bouzoukis, a classical one, with metal strings, and one with strings from the intestines, so that its tone resembles that of an oud.

During the 40’s he wrote one success after another: “Again at three yesterday you came to sleep” (Duo Harma), “I will tell you my secret” (Marika Ninou), “The poor bouzouki” etc. In 1950, after two years without success, he wrote in lyrics by N. Routsos “Ta petala” and in the same year “In this poor hut” with Stella Haskili.
In 1954 he married his first wife, the singer Zoe Nachi and had two children with her. A little later he meets Mary Linda and together they make the unique duet that dominated the Greek music scene until 1966. At the same time, he gives amazing, classic style, hits to Stelios Kazantzidis, mainly in lyrics by Christos Kolokotronis.

In 1959 he orchestrates the “Epitaph” of Mikis Theodorakis, which has already made a failed edition, and takes it to the next level. They are followed by “Lipotaktes”, “Politia” and “Archipelagos”. With the orchestrations of Chiotis and the voices of Mary Linda, Grigoris Bithikotsis, Stelios Kazantzidis and Marinella, the works of Theodorakis, but also of Hadjidakis are gaining popularity. He is essentially the one who paves the way for other folk musicians to collaborate with learned composers.
Manolis Chiotis was a personality who changed the history and evolution of music in Greece with the innovation of the four-string bouzouki.