Long, dark hair, center parting and these huge, dark glasses, of which she claims to have over a hundred different versions.That is how she has known and loved her for decades: Nana Mouskouri.
The hair was sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but otherwise she has always remained true to their appearance, as it still looks like today with over eighty years.
The Greek singer was born on October 13, 1934 in Chania, Crete, the light of day, where her father worked in a cinema as a projectionist. She later moved to Athens with her older sister to study at the Athens Conservatory. In addition to classical singing she also studied harmony and piano. In addition, she was very interested in jazz, which is why in the end she has not become a classical opera singer.
But that was a good thing, because she gave the world in the course of her ongoing career with over three hundred million records sold a gigantic, versatile, musical oeuvre.
She is the most successful singer in the world after Madonna, which is not least due to her great talent in languages, because she sings her songs and chansons not only in Greek, German and English, but also in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and even in Russian, Japanese, Walloon and Hebrew.
She owns more than 300 golden, platinum and diamond records and was awarded the ECHO for her life's work in 2015.
Her career began in 1958 when she became a member of a quartet singing small jazz clubs. Her role models were Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra and yet she became famous in Germany in 1961 with a hit: “Weiße Rosen aus Athen” (White Roses from Athens). This title was published in several languages and depending on the translation, the song was not always about roses from Athens (like in the German version) …
In the 1970s, she worked in Germany with the singer-songwriter Rolf Zuckowski. “Guten Morgen Sonnenschein” (Good morning sunshine) from 1977, for example, comes from this collaboration. But there are also other beautiful titles of her in German: “Die Welt ist voll Licht” (The world is full of light) from 1976 or “Lieder die die Liebe schreibt” (Songs that love writes) from 1978 are among them.
She has never stopped working until now and never, as many artists like to do, never took a break for whatever reason.
Regular touring and countless record releases made the diligent singer one of the most successful artists in the world. There are still new recordings of her every year. And although she announced her farewell tour in 2004, which would take four years to travel all over the world and ended in the summer of 2008 in Athens, she still wants to be on stage for occasional concerts and special events.
Her latest album dates from 2018 and is called "Forever Young".
In the same year she received another award for her life's work: the European Culture Prize Taurus and even though Nana Mouskouri celebrated her 85th birthday on October 13, 2019, that is no reason for her to retire. So we can continue to hope for songs, chansons and albums from her.
Text: Nadja von der Hocht
Photo: Ron Kroon / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons