Spiros Skordilis Biography

Spiro's Early Years...

Spiro's growing years were not easy.  His parents established their home in Athens, where he was born in 1930.  His father was from the Island of Corfu, and his mother from the Island of Sifnos.  The family struggled to make ends meet.  His problems started in school in the first grade. During a reading exercise, the teacher asked him to read the next line in the book, and Spiro explained he "did not know what page they were reading".  She got upset because he was not paying attention, and with the ruler, hit him across his knees.  He did not mention this incident to his parents, thinking he would be in more trouble resulting in more punishment.  By midnight he had no choice but to tell his parents about the incident in school, because his leg had turned blue, and the pain was intolerable.   They rushed him to the hospital where the doctors told his parents that he was suffering from internal bleeding and an infection.  Carried on his father's back (there were no good roads or busses), Spiro visited and stayed in the hospital on and off for three years, Spiro went through many operations by the time his leg healed, Spiro felt too old to go back to the first grade.  Whatever Spiro learned to read and write was from his nurse.

Spiro Discovers Musical Wonderment....                             

When his father came home from work, after dinner he usually would take out his guitar and play.  Sitting at his side, Spiro would sing along with his father.  In time, Spiro's father noticed his son's keen interest, and began to teach Spiro to play the guitar, beginning his adventure with music. This special relationship between father and son did not last long enough, however, for Spiro's father died while still quite young, leaving the family to struggle to make ends meet.  Spiro went to work doing odd jobs whenever he could, helping to support his mother and his younger siblings.  His love of music still so strong that by the time he was eighteen years old he formed his first band, which included the following instruments:  Bouzouki, guitar, accordion, drums, bass, and a female vocalist. His band became a very well known Laiki Orchestra.  Five years later, Spiro left this band to form the "Blue Trio" with two other musician-friends.  Trios were very popular at this time, and Spiro's "Blue Trio" played in many tavernas in Plaka, the cultural "center" of Athens.   In 1958, Spiro started appearing nightly at Vachos Taverna (a very famous Taverna) with many other well known musicians, including Bobby and George Malidis, Georgo Kehayias and Panagiotis Visvardis, to note a few.  During this time, the trio was still featuring Kantades, as well as Latin and European influenced music. Spiro soon signed a contract with Columbia Recording Company recording the songs of other composers:
Markos Vamvakaris--------- Fora ta Mavra Forata
Miki Theodorakis------------- Strose to Stroma, Ftohologia
                                               Pente Pente Deka,
                                               To Psomi einai Sto Trapezi
Stavros Xerhakos--------------Kante Ipomoni,
                                               Vale kai Allo Piato Sto Trapezi
Yiani Papaioannou------------  Strapatsarismenos,
                                                Kali Kardia, Kalo Krasi
Georgos Mitsakis--------------Stis Larisis to Potami

Spiros road to Success.....

Soon after Spiro recorded his first original composition at RCA.  It was a Zeimbekiko song named  Vongae O Ponos.  It became quite successful in a short period of time.  He was now featured in the Night Club's Parade of Stars.  He wrote many other songs, and those songs became just as famous  In 1961, he wrote and presented to the recording company "Oti Arhizi Oreo" ("When something Beautiful Begins").  The recording company turned it down.  They told him that they could not see a market for this type of song.  {It must be explained that during this era, the recording companies paid the artists to perform, and since the artist did not share any of the expense of the recording, the company had the final choice of music and lyrics to be recorded).  Still, Spiro did not give up!  He persisted by  slipping in his work "Oti Arhizi Oreo" ("When Something Beautiful Begins") each time he presented work for recording.  RCA finally relented, and the song was recorded.  Not only did this song surpass all expectations, in a very short period of time it became a "standard" ( a "hit", a "favorite") in Greece.  "Oti Arhizi Oreo" (also known to some as  Einai Kako Stin Ammo Na Htizis Palatia) has gained great popularity over the years, having been recorded in many countries by many artists.   Translated and recorded by artists in Bulgaria, France, Israel, and even South Africa this song has brought them success as well!  The song has been used in the movie "Otan Oi Yinekes Agapoun".  "Oti Arhizi Oreo" has also been featured in poems, satires, cartoons, and in the theater.  The following Greek Artists have recorded this song over the years:  Spiros Skordilis, Bobby Tsetinis, Harry Klean, Rita Sakelariou, Tolis Voskopoulos, Mr. Perakis, and Mr. Polichroniadis.  By 1967, Spiro's compositions and recordings were gaining popularity. He wrote Tou Bouzoukiou Mou to Minore, To Mini Mini, To Minaki Sou, and the ever popular anthem for his favorite soccer team Olympiakos.

Spiro married Lena Dana, a singer whose style complimented Spiro's performance. They started their tour by going first to Australia.   After a successful year, they returned to Greece.  Upon their return, there was a political change in Greece.  The new regime chose the songs that were allowed to be performed in clubs.   They banned his song To Mini Mini to Minaki Sou.  Artists were constantly being harassed.   Spiro decided  to go on a tour to Canada, and afterwards to perform in the U.S. (Boston and Chicago).  For job related and personal reasons, he stayed in Canada and the U.S.  He continued writing music, and performing in many US cities.   In 1977, Spiro and Lena Dana left Charleston, South Carolina for an engagement in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  Lena became very ill.  Within six months of her illness, Lena died.  Spiro was devastated, not only left without a wife, but without a performing partner as well.  There were many decisions and adjustments to be made. He chose not to travel for a while to put his life together again. 

The Folk-Artist-in-the-School program sponsored by the Pinellas Art Council, encouraged Spiro to teach sixth grade students to play the Bouzouki.  The children [all American]  took to the instrument naturally, and were very eager to learn. "This class is better than all of my other classes put together", said one of the students who had never played an instrument before. Learning to play the Bouzouki was "great fun.".  Spiro found a new direction for his life.  It was at this time that he met Kay, who soon became another of his life's Great Loves, and eventually became his adoring wife! Kay Skordilis, who herself  is not a musician, loves music and writes lyrics to Spiro's beautiful music.  It is a beautiful partnership, providing us with music that is treasured, full of emotion, meaning, and cultural distinction. 

Spiro's Life Today....

Spiro is a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.  He has many friends, who he enjoys on a frequent basis.   He is in close contact with the many friends he has around the world, mostly by telephone.

Not only content to write, record, and perform his music, Spiro has been an inspirational and dedicated teacher in the cultural community of Tarpon Springs, Florida, his new "hometown".  Because of his influential teaching, a number of middle school age children have become, in their twenties, highly skilled musicians, and a few of them have started their own ensembles that play for community events!  In addition, Spiro has been a Master Teacher in the Florida Apprenticeship Program.                                                                                                                              
Another artistic endeavor that Spiro has undertaken for the past two years, is the Chorus of the Hellenic Cultural Center Prometheas.  The group started with about eight people, and it now has about forty. He is enjoying the sessions, and looks forward to meeting with the group every Tuesday.  The Club Prometheas is a non-profit organization that promotes the Hellenic language and Culture.  All the members of the Chorus, including Spiro are volunteers, and perform with joyfulness!

    Spiro_prome..jpg (3536 bytes)        chorus%20girs.jpg (8509 bytes)
Spiro accepting an award from         Spiro and the lovely ladies with beautiful voices
the Hellenic Cultural Center               from Prometheas Chorus
Prometheas, Tarpon Springs                             

Spiro loves the new technology available to musicians.  He is one of the few Bouzouki players in the world that has become electronic.  He is able to produce great Bouzouki music by using a Midi-Interface.  He has recently released an Bouzouki Instrumental CD When Something Beautiful Begins with mostly his own compositions playing all of the string instruments himself!  His new CD, Fovame! is gaining fast recognition world-wide.  It is "a must" for people who enjoy good music.  Contact us by Email to receive information about CDs and Cassettes available!                  

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