Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Legend of Aris San

Aris San (full name Aristides Saisanas) was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1940. He sung and played guitar from an early age and won his first contest at the age of 11! At the age of 17 he went to Israel (following a woman that proved to be married!) where started working in Greek taverns, singing and playing the electric guitar under the name Brian. He was singing in Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian and English and very soon became a megastar.

What distinguishes Aris San is his playing of the electric guitar as an amplified imitation of the sound of bouzouki creating his own unique sound and mixing folk with rock music.

Here's Zigouala from Aris San orchestra from 1960

In 1969 he went to New York where, as Aris San, opened his own bar-restaurant where he played Greek music with great success. He even played at the Carnegie Hall. His fan club included Anthony Quinn, Harry Belafonte, Telly Savalas. One of the greatest Greek singers, Stelios Kazatzidis who was a friend of his, claims that Aris San was admired for being one of the best dressed men in New York at the time.

Aris San - Todo Pasa

Fame brought the mafia and drugs into his life and later on the FBI which tried to trap the head of mafia through him. He denied and was imprisoned for 2 years.
When he got out of prison he went to Hungary to work where he had an accident and his health deteriorated quickly and passed away. He is buried in New York next to Louis Armstrong.

Aris San - Dam Dam

For this post I used as a source information from CafeSebax blog and from inner sleeve of Aris San: the unknown Greek voice compilation cd of 1997.


  1. Thank you for your feature on Aris San. I was a teenager when he was performing in NYC and remember him as an extraordinary guitarist and singer. He was extremely charismatic and lit up any room he performed in. He should have been world-famous, spreading his joyous music; instead we were left with a loss that can best be described as a Greek tragedy.

    1. When I heard about the death of Aris San BACK IN 1992, my heart went along with him. He does not seem to be known by any Greeks that I know, which is, to me, a real shame.He is, and always will be THE GREATEST, MOST MAGNIFICENT GREEK SINGER THAT EVER LIVED. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU, ARIS.

    2. Thank you so much!


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