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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-03-11

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek singer Domna Samiou passes away

  • [01] Greek singer Domna Samiou passes away

    Greek singer Domna Samiou, one of the most important vocalists of the country's traditional music scene, died in an Athens hospital on Saturday at the age of 84.

    Samiou was born on October 12, 1928 in the Athens district of Kaisariani into a family of Asia Minor Greeks that came over with the exchange of populations in 1922.

    She first began studying Byzantine and traditional music at the age of 13, with Simonas Karas at the "Association for the Teaching of the National Music". As a member of the Simonas Karas choir, she also started to appear on the state radio station EIR, where she was later hired to the National Music Section in 1954 and came into contact with some of the country's greatest musicians in popular and demotic music.

    While working for the radio she was also involved in the production of records, the music for theatre productions and films and, in 1963, began travelling around Greece to collect and record musical material for her own personal archives.

    She resigned from EIR in 1971 and took up an invitation from song-writer Dionysis Savvopoulos, appearing and interpreting traditional songs before a young audience and bringing about a great shift in the popularity of traditional music among the young. She then went on to appear at the Bach Festival in London.

    In 1974, she signed on with the record company Columbia and cut a number of records, while in 1976-77 she worked with directors Fotos Lambrinos and Andreas Thomopoulos on a series of 20 documentaries called "A Musical Journey" for the state television company ERT.

    In 1981 she founded the "Artistic Association of Demotic Music - Domna Samiou" dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional music, including cutting records and organising events not dominated by commercial criteria.

    For the space of roughly 40 years, she continued to perform in concerts both in Greece and abroad and in 1994 she started offering lessons in traditional singing for adults.

    She won a number of prizes and awards for her work in Greece, including the Arion Award for her overall contribution to preserving traditional songs in 2006 and a medal presented to her by President Kostis Stephanopoulos in 2005.

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