A bilingual volume, published in Greek and English brings a comprehensive visual monograph on the career and artistic contribution of Apostolos Nikolaidis (1938–1999), a singer of Greek laïká (urban folk) music whose career spanned four decades.
He was the first Greek artist to record ‘prohibited’ rebétika songs with their original lyrics in the early 1970s during a time when this musical genre was banned in Greece, with his unparalleled and unforgettable vocal interpretations causing a sensation and captivating Greek music audiences worldwide.
Weaving together a plethora of previously unseen photographs, rare historical artifacts and original research, Apostolos’ daughter Maria Nikolaidis brings to light the arc of her father’s memorable career.
Maria, born in New York spent her teenage years in Athens, Greece. An award-winning designer, creative director, and educator with over 25 years of experience in visual communication and graphic and interactive design, in 2000, as part of her graduate studies, she wrote a pioneering thesis on the history of Greek advertising in the 20th century. She has been documenting her father’s legacy since 1999.
From his early days as a music obsessed teenager working in construction in Thessaloniki, to his close collaborations with top musicians in the 1960s as an up-and-coming recording artist in Athens, to his eventual departure for North America and his legendary “outlawed” rebétika recordings there which also created the foundation of a special and enduring relationship with the Greek diaspora. Apostolos Nikolaidis’ views on music and life are revealed in his own words, while stories and reminiscences from friends and former associates provide an intimate glimpse into the singer’s one-of-a-kind personality and unyielding principles, both as an artist and as a human being. This rich tribute to one of the last great singers of the authentic “old school” of Greek laïká music includes a detailed timeline and a full discography.
Βy the time Αpostolos Νikolaidis left Greece for North America in 1968 in pursuit of new musical horizons, he had already performed at some of the most popular laïká nightclubs (where one could hear Greek “urban folk” music) in his homeland. However, relatively little is known about the burgeoning Greek laïká nightclub scene in the United States and Canada during the latter half of the 20th century. The nightspots in these two countries, some of which even rivalled venues in Greece in their heyday, are a foundational aspect of Nikolaidis’ story: they were the pivotal stomping grounds of an artist who had the unique fate of having his fame expand not within the borders of his home country, but outside them.
Starting around the time Apostolos Nikolaidis first set foot in Greek stronghold cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, and New York in the late 1960s, this lavishly illustrated book presents detailed information on the Greek laïká entertainment scenes in the U.S. and Canada never before compiled in a single publication.