Vasilis Papakonstantinou is a Greek singer, whose popularity and reputation are immense for the last 30 years or so.
Papakonstantinou is the “rock guy”, the singer who despite his popularity never surrendered to the “star system” principles and demands, living his life in a quiet and artistic way.
Biography of Vasilis Papakonstantinou
Vasilis Papakonstantinou spent his childhood years in Peloponnese and he recorded some of his experiences in his home town in songs like “Sfentona” (the “Sling”).
At the age of 12 he got his first guitar. Later, because he liked music a lot, he got involved in various bands of the time, making his first musical steps. He named his first band CROSSWORDS, singing Italian songs in various clubs in Athens.
His adolescence was marked by the musical and social mainstream of the ’60s: Mikis Theodorakis, the global peace liberation movements, and a Greece hastily trying to close its wounds and beginning to hope for a better future.
The Left parties sought to accommodate and give perspective to diffuse frustrations through culture. Vasilis Papakonstantinou decided to follow it, without ever participating in any of these political parties.
He began to sing entechna Greek songs, and in 1973 after his military service, he went to Germany, Munich, where he participated in committees struggling against the dictatorship. At the same time he was singing often in places, where Greek students and expatriates used to go.
Vasilis Papakonstantinou – Career
His first major contact took place in the summer of 1974, when he met Mikis Theodorakis in Paris. Their collaboration, however, was to begin two years later.
In 1974, he also participated in the recording of the album “Tragoudia tou Dromou” (The songs of the road) by Manos Loizos.
In 1975, Papakostantinou recorded “Ta Agrotika” of Thomas Bakalakos. At the same time he met two composers with whom he cooperated closely: Manos Loizos and Thanos Mikroutsikos.
These two composers definitely brought a fresh sound to Greek music. Without faithfully following the footsteps of pop or entechni Greek music, they wrote songs, keeping the morality and principles of songs composed by major composers of the past, with a new style, and a new way of singing in the big city.
Papakonstantinou’s performance and style was ideal to express the dynamism and lyricism of these songs. He managed to establish a new way of communicating the songs’ message to the audience.
In 1976 he collaborated with Mikis Theodorakis, for the first time in his career, in the album ” Songs of Exile”. In 1978 the famous Greek composer chose him for a world tour concert. Papakonstantinou sang in Europe, America and Australia.
The career of Papakonstantinou in 1980
In Greece, Vassilis participated actively in events of the youth and labor movement. He sang in strikes, rallies and concerts for solidarity against racism and fascism. Since that time, shortly before the passage in the decade of 1980, he begun to manifest the influences of the international rock scene.
Papakonstantinou performed songs of a new sound that was much more electric, with lyrics sharper and more intrusive. This was done gradually, starting with two albums released in the early ’80s.
The first was titled with his name and included songs by Antonis Vardis, Dionysis Savopoulos and Mikis Theodorakis.
The second album, called “Fovos”, “with songs by Manos Loizos, Lakis Papadopoulos, Giannis Zouganelis and Giannis Glezos, influenced the course of the singer till the present days.
Later on, Vassilis Papakonstantinou met Nikolas Asimos, and participated in his first album “O ksanapes”, performing two songs. Asimos was the second man, after Loizos, who influenced him enough with his alternative and eccentric personality.
In 1984 the album “Diairesi” crystallized and confirmed the new sound of Vasilis.
In 1987 the album “Chairetismata” with his own songs, as well as songs written by Nikolas Asimos, Aphrodite Manou and Christos Tolios, made Papakonstantinou the idol of the younger generations, who were doubting the system, claiming a better future.
Since the mid-80s, Vasilis Papakonstantinou begun establishing himself as an eminently “concert” artist. We would say that for the first time since the great concerts of the post, the big stadiums in Greece were full again.
In April 1985, 16.000 spectators gathered in his first major personal concert at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Athens. Since then, his concerts are considered major events all over Greece.
Vasilis Papakostantinou today
Today, Vasilis Papkonstantinou counts more than 35 years in Greek music and stands out as a great performer.
At the same time he belongs to these few artists that combine major acceptance, communicating the feelings of all generations, their agonies and needs, and participates in every small or big “war” of everyday life.
The personal life of Vasilis Papakonstantinou
Vasilis Papakonstantinou was married to the actress Eleni Rantou and they have a daughter together.
However, the couple split a few years ago, maintaining a friendly relationship though.