Sunday, 3 July 2011

George Cardamis: one of the most famous jazz musicians of Greece was Corfiot

  A pioneer of jazz in Greece, George Cardamis became famous in the late 40s and through the 50s as a clarinet and sax alto soloist. Born in Corfu, he was involved in music from a very early age playing the violin.
  He arrived in Athens in his 20s and soon after the war he formed his own band working at the best night clubs of Athens attracting the Athenian elite who would go to the clubs "to listen to Cardamis " the same way nowadays they go to clubs to listen to famous singers.
  Indeed it seems incredible that a musician who had never travelled abroad, had developped such a refine sound and attitude just from the sounds of the vinyl he was exposed to!
  Besides his fame as a superb exponent of jazz clarinet and sax, he also composed several pop hits of his era in swing-bolero-rumba-mambo-tango fashion. Among his hits are the swing songs "S'ehasa ma ego den se ksexasa" (1948) "Irthes" 'Pos thelo na se kano diki mou" (1951), "Oloi mas zilevoun" (1945) etc, as well as his great bolero hit "Giati na se latrevo toso" (1950)
  George continued performing with his own band till the late 60's, a period when bouzouki music had started getting the attention of the middle and high class societies in Greece becoming the "in" thing. As a result, musicians who played the horns and the clarinet gradually found themselves without jobs due to the lack of demand. Most of them had to give up their main instrument and force to play the guitar or the bass guitar.
George followed the same trend and in the 70s made the transition from a bandleader and clarinet-sax player to solo piano performer at some well-known hotels like Hilton and Divani.
  After that transition he did not seek publicity but most importantly he did not merge into the new style of music that was spreading. As he used to say: "They are taking us back to cantades (traditional songs, popular in the ionian islands)..
  His love for music and especially for jazz, was immense - a musician who remained faithful to the music he loved and of which he was a great exponent.
   As he was not seeking publicity, he didn't merged with the new trends in music and as a result of it, he has not yet been recognised in Greece for who he was and for what he offered in the local jazz scene.
"Yesterdays" comes from his weekly live radio program in the early 50s called " The George Cardamis Sextet ". The video below is a rare document, uploaded by the son of the composer.

*Bio courtesy of Spiros Cardamis, son of the composer

- An earlier post featuring Cardamis "Nostalgia", a song commemorating the 1943 german bombings in Corfu:


eva i Aten said...


Did you see my comment at your last post?
I checked a little bit at your earlier posts and I see that you are not answering at the comments you get - why is that? If you like readers of your blog to come back it's important that you answer. If you don't want any comments I think it's possible to take away that field.

eva i Aten said...

O.k, Gianni, I have seen your answer at the other post - thanks a lot!