Greek laiko singer Vasilis Karras, known for his distinctive raspy voice, died on Christmas Eve, December 24th 2023 after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

He had been hospitalised in intensive care for the last few days prior to his passing due to coronavirus.

Karras (family name Kesoglidis) was born on 12th November 1953 in Kokkinochori, near Kavala, northern Greece and moved with his family to Thessaloniki when he was 10. In 1969, while working as a car mechanic, he made a brief but very successful appearance at the Prosfygas club in Thessaloniki.

In 1980 he recorded his first album, ‘Alismonites Ores‘, which set Karras on the long path towards fame and recognition. His best-selling album was ‘M’echis kani aliti‘ (1997) surpassing 180,000 sales, with numerous gold and platinum albums under his belt.

He produced timeless hits such as ‘Nihta Xelogiastra‘, ‘Fainomeno‘, ‘Opos Palia‘, ‘Den Pao Pouthena‘, ‘As’ Tin Na Lei‘, ‘Vrexei sti Thessaloniki‘, ‘Tilefonise Mou‘, ‘Lege o,ti Thes‘ and ‘Ap’ to Voria Mexri To Noto‘.

His last album was released this year, titled ‘Eimai Edo‘, with his current hit song ‘Gia Parti Tis‘ currently circulating on the LGR playlists.

He collaborated with various composers and lyricists, including Dimitris Rakitzis, Foivos, George Theofanous, Alekos Chrysovergis, Spyros Giatras, Evi Droutsa, Panos Falaras, Christos Dantes, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Ilias Filippou, Michalis Hatzigiannis, Christos Nikolopoulos, and many others. Karras also had numerous duets with singers like Marianthi Kefala, Pyx Lax, Konstantina, Angela Dimitriou, Tolis Voskopoulos, Nikos Zoidakis, Kaiti Garbi, Despina Vandi, Elli Kokkinu, Irini Merkouri, Paola, Pantelis Pantelidis, and Giorgo Kakosaio. He worked with most of them in live shows and was also a composer and lyricist, writing songs for many other Greek singers.

He also travelled around the world in cities such as London with large Greek and Cypriot diasporas.

The funeral service took place on Wednesday at the Holy Temple of Agios Nestoros in the village of Kokkinochori in Kavala, the distinctive birthplace of Vasilis Karras, where he was buried at around noon. As per the singer’s wish, he will be laid to rest next to his parents.

The body of Vasilis Karras had been placed on Tuesday in a popular pilgrimage at the Holy Church of Agia Sophia in Thessaloniki. Thousands of Greeks had lined the streets for this occasion to bid their final farewell to the beloved laiko singer.

He is survived by his wife Christina Kesoglides and his daughter Irene.

Everyone at LGR extend their condolences to the family and we thank him for his services to Greek music.

Article written by London Greek Radio

Marina Satti, renowned Greek singer/songwriter, is set to represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 in Sweden at the Malmö Arena. The 36-year-old Greek artist, born and raised in Heraklion, is the daughter of a Cretan mother and a Sudanese father.

ERT bosses announced the artist on 25th October that Satti will be their next act at the 68th Eurovision Song Contest, marking the 50th anniversary of Greece’s first participant in 1974.

The song has not yet been chosen as the final song is yet to be chosen, but will be distributed by ERT and Marina’s record label, Golden Records and Minos EMI (a Universal Music Company). From 25th October, writers were invited to submit songs (in accordance with Eurovision Song Contest rules) for Satti by email with the deadline just passing on December 1st.

Satti is a singer/songwriter with roots in alternative ethnic, merging Greek, Balkan, and Middle Eastern influences. She mixes traditional and ethnic elements with pop and urban, hip-hop rhythms and electronic and is one of Greece’s most exciting artists today.

In terms of a Eurovision song Marina is favouring an ethnic modern song that is very relevant and cultural. She hinted that it will be an effective and intuitively catchy song for the Eurovision fan-base and wishes it to resonate with both young Greeks and peers of her generation.

Satti told Greek TV, “I believe a Eurovision entry should champion the culture of the country it represents” (translated). Furthermore, Satti wishes to smash through stereotypes about Greek music by illustrating Greek music can be both diverse and alternative yet still appeal to a wider audience. Her statement reveals that it will be an innovative Eurovision song with cultural and ethnic traits.

The OGAE Greece website, the official Greek fan-site for Eurovision on the selection of Marina, stated that Greece is reinventing its Eurovision identity by reverting back to the ethnic formulae of past years. Ogae said: “Greece re-defines its Eurovision identity by reverting back to its ethnicity roots and heritage.” Furthermore they stated: “On the 50th year of Greece’s Eurovision participation at the contest, the country is precipitating a change in momentum and recreating the Greek and ethnic formula which served them well in the contest for many years.” (translated).

Interestingly, Greece have always gained strong results whenever the contest was held in Malmö, particularly when sending ethnic-conscious songs: with a Top 5th and Top 6th finish for Kleopatra (1992), and Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas (2013).

Satti’s biggest hit so far in her career is undoubtedly ‘Mantissa’, a radio friendly super hit on LGR back in 2017, exceeding with over 50 million youtube hits. Other hits have included ‘Spirto ke Vinzini’ and ‘Koupes’, to name a few.

Her successful debut album, ‘YENNA’, was released in 2022. She also released the short documentary ‘FLABOURO’ as well as ‘TOCUTUM’, a song-commentary on Balkan trap, which became viral in the summer of 2023.

Satti holds a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, with a creative and diverse background in music. She founded Fones, a female vocal group, as well as Chores, a choir of about 200 young talented women.

She also represented Greece in the EBU’s Euroradio Jazz Orchestra with works by Peter Herbolzheimer; singing at the John F. Kennedy Center, in Washington with the World Jazz Nonet; and participating in the a cappella vocal group The Singing Tribe in collaboration with Bobby McFerrin.

The Eurovision Final will take place at the Malmö Arena on Saturday 11th May with Semi-Finals on Tuesday 7th and Thursday 9th May.

London Greek Radio wish Marina Satti and Greece the very best of luck in the competition.

December 2023

Article written by London Greek Radio