Thessaly: Museum Dedicated to Rebetiko Legend Tsitsanis to Open in Trikala

Tsitsanis Museum, Trikala.

The life and works of Greek rebetiko legend Vassilis Tsitsanis will be honored with the opening of a new museum in his hometown of Trikala, initiated by the Municipality of Trikkei.

The “Tsitsanis Museum” will feature rare personal items and exhibits contributed by the musician’s family.

“The Municipality of Trikkei, acknowledging the significant value and contribution of Vassilis Tsitsanis, has prioritized the establishment and operation of the ‘Tsitsanis Museum’,” officials said in a recent announcement.

The museum is scheduled to open on June 19, and will host a series of events and musical evenings as part of the annual Week of Music and Art. These activities will highlight Tsitsanis’ legacy along with the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Concerts to celebrate Tsitsanis’ music

Photo source: Tsitsanis Museum

Events will feature performances by renowned Greek singers and musical ensembles, including George Dalaras, Glykeria, Giannis Dionysiou, and Aspasia Stratigou. On June 17, at 9:30 pm, a concert in the museum’s courtyard will highlight the music from Tsitsanis’ homeland, reflecting the songs he heard as a child.

Traditional musicians will perform authentic renditions of music from Thessaly and Epirus, preceded by a presentation of traditional dances and songs by the Municipal Dance Ensemble.

The inauguration ceremony will take place on June 19 at 8 pm, followed by a concert at 9:30 p.m. Attendees will enjoy songs from various Thessalian folk music creators, some of which have been featured in iconic Greek films.

Representation of the Rebetiko musical stages of the era at the museum. Photo source: Tsitsanis Museum

Furthermore, a special event will be held on June 20 at 8:30 pm to recognize the museum’s contributors. Singers Aspasia Stratigou, Giannis Dionysiou, and George Dalaras will perform Tsitsanis’ greatest hits in a unique and authentic manner.

As part of the Week of Music and Art, visitors can also enjoy performances by a traditional music band, a drum festival, a book presentation, and a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Northern Cyprus. All events offer free admission, and additional details can be found on the official website.

Vassilis Tsitsanis

Vassilis Tsitsanis. Photo source: Tsitsanis Museum

Vassilis Tsitsanis, born and raised in Trikala with roots in Epirus, is widely regarded as one of the greatest Greek singers and songwriters of Rebetiko music. During his high school years in Trikala, he learned to play the violin and bouzouki, composing his first songs at the age of 15.

In 1936, Tsitsanis moved to Athens to study law while working in taverns to support himself. There, he met singer Dimitris Perdikopoulos, who gave him the opportunity to start his musical career. Tsitsanis collaborated with some of the most popular singers of the time, creating a lasting impact on Greek music.

In 1980, UNESCO honored Tsitsanis by recording a double album titled “Harama”, named after the venue where he performed for the last 14 years of his career. This album, released in France in 1985, received the prestigious Charles Cros Academy Award.

However, Tsitsanis passed away in 1984 in London’s Brompton Hospital following complications from a lung operation.

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