Nikos Gounaris was born in 1915 in Athens and grew up in Botaniko. His father worked as a cobbler at the Palace but had a passion for music, playing the mandolin and singing.
Although self-taught, he developed into a virtuoso in the 1950s, in the Byzantium center of New York, the great Andre Segovia, declared his admiration for his elaborate guitar playing.
Vassilis Tsitsanis, Yiannis Papaioannou, Thodoros Derveniotis, Vangelis Perpiniadis, Stelios Kazantzidis bowed to his face and art. He appeared in secular shops (Se Lapin) but also classic folk centers (Fat Jimis) with a high salary, part of which went to charity.
Mimis Plessas in his autobiography (Kaktos publications) mentions about the concert given in 1953 in Kallimarmaro for the earthquake victims of Volos: “The EIR had given its symphony orchestra and its mixed choir, our Lyrical Stage the soloists and conductors her, we too had done our best, orchestrated our songs for the big orchestra and conducted our singers. The brass sparkled, the bows rose and fell on the strings, the percussion sounded strongly, and we, one after the other, went up to the podium and gave him a bow, gave him a curtsy. The stadium is full and the people are polite with a restrained applause. During the break, a singer who had been missing in America for years was announced. On the empty, large platform holding his guitar he walked with a peculiar step (limping) and without accompaniment he sang: One night when it was raining… tarararam (his guitar), it was raining monotonously… tarararam – he persisted…
We did not have time to think that he would go without our own “greatnesses”, because in the meantime he had reached the chorus. And then 60,000 mouths were heard with one voice: Ah, this wretch wanted a stabbing…! At that moment I understood what folk singer and favorite song means. And before the end I had met the unforgettable troubadour, the singer Nikos Gounaris!
He passed away, in his prime, in May 1965 (aged 50), due to an old injury that had forced him to wear a wooden leg, and developed into cancer.