George Batis

1885 - 1967

 

 

George Batis was a composer who may well have been the equal of Markos Vavakaris in every respect. In fact it reputably was Batis, who was the first to actually cut the first recording , that featured the Bouzouke upfront and personal. However it was the Vavakaris record that was first released . Born in Methana in 1885 , Batis is not as well known today , because he was one of the Rebetic composers who had to suffer the Proverbial slings and arrows of the Mataxas government during the late 1930's. He was quite proficient with the Bouzouke and a virtuoso with the Baglama. Recordings by Batis have always been rare and very difficult to come by. In fact there are currently only around 16 known compositions recorded by him . The story is that he became so incensed by the Metaxas censorship legislation, he vowed never to never again record a single note . Apparently it would seem he kept true to his word. Whether the story is apocryphal or not is academic. Because even if he had made an attempt to record, he would  undoubtedly have ended up behind bars or possibly  worse.  Batis was a part of the now infamous "Piraeus Quartet", that was formed in 1932 and also included the likes of Markos Vamvakaris, Stratos Payoumtzis and Anestos Delias also known as Artemis . In today's parlance this would probably be considered to have constituted the first Rebetiko "Super Group "!  It was largely due to the efforts of George Batis and Company , that Rebetiko music caught on and evolved into the Art form we know today. George Batis passed away in 1967 at his home in (appropriately) Piraeus Greece .