Nana Mouskouri, one of the most successful singers in the world, was born on October 13, 1934.
Mouskouri had shown exceptional musical talent from an early age and listened to radio broadcasts from singers such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf. She began singing lessons at the age of 12.
In 1950, she was accepted at the Athens Conservatory. She studied classical music with an emphasis on opera singing. After eight years at the Conservatory, Mouskouri was encouraged by her friends to experiment with jazz.
Mouskouri then left the Conservatory and began singing jazz in nightclubs with a bias towards Ella Fitzgerald’s repertoire. In 1957, she recorded her first song, “Fascination”, in Greek and English for Odeon / EMI Greece.
In 1958, while still performing at the Zaki club in Athens, she met the Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis, who was impressed by her voice and offered to write songs for her.
In 1959, Mouskouri performed “Κάπου υπάρχει η αγάπη μου” (Somewhere my love exists) by Hadjidakis at the first Greek song festival. The song won the first prize and Mouskouri began to stand out.
At the 1960 Greek Song Festival, she performed two other Hadjidakis compositions, “Τιμωρία” (Punishment) and “Κυπαρισσάκι” (Small Cypress). These two songs tied for the top prize. She then signed a recording contract with the Parisian company Philips-Fontana.
In 1961, Mouskouri performed the soundtrack of a German documentary on Greece. This resulted in the German language single “Weiße Rosen aus Athen” (White Roses of Athens). The song was originally adapted by Hadjidakis from a folk melody. It became a success, selling over a million copies in Germany. The song was then translated into several languages and became one of Mouskouri’s flagship songs.
She also represented Luxembourg at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1963 with the song “À force de prier”.
From 1968 to 1976, she hosted her own television program produced by the BBC, Presenting Nana Mouskouri. His popularity as a multilingual television personality and his distinctive image made Mouskouri an international star.
She achieved worldwide success in 1981 with “Je chante avec toi Liberté”, translated into several languages after its success in France.
In 1984, Mouskouri returned to Greece and performed in front of a large audience at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, his first performance in his native country since 1962.
Mouskouri was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in October 1993. Her first UN mission took her to Bosnia to draw attention to the plight of children affected by the Bosnian war. She then gave a series of fundraising concerts in Sweden and Belgium.
She was also elected to the European Parliament as a Greek Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1999.
During her career, she has released over 200 albums in at least twelve different languages, including Greek, French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, l ‘Hebrew, Welsh, Mandarin Chinese and Corsican.
On July 23 and 24, 2008, Mouskouri gave his last two performances of the “Farewell Concert” at the former Herodes Atticus Theater in Athens, Greece, in front of a crowded stadium.
In 2015, she received the Echo Music Award for Outstanding Achievement from the German Music Association Deutsche Phono-Akademie.
Xronia Polla to Nana Mouskouri, who turns 87 today!
That day, September 14, 2001, Stelios Kazantzidis died