Michalis Tzouganakis was born to Sfakian parents away from Crete, the island they loved so much. Mihalis was born in the city of Bergen in Belgium, where he lived among many immigrant families with his seven bothers and sisters. He grew up in a very traditional Cretan family environment, where he was immersed in the music, cuisine and culture of Crete. His childhood was spent among the immigrants of Greek, Moroccan, Egyptian, Italian & Polish descent, further enriching his exotic heart. At the young age of two years old, he was mesmerized by the laouto that hung on his older brother’s wall. He was adamant to learn to play the laouto, and with the help of his brother, who would hold the laouto, young Mihalis would pluck the strings, falling in love with the sweet and melancholy voice of the laouto. By the age of four he was able to captivate listeners with the music he would sing and play on the laouto. At the age of nine the family return to their beloved Kriti, where Tsouganakis began playing with local Cretan musicians and performing at festivals and celebrations. Audiences were awed by this young boy’s intensity when he played and sang, and around the age of eleven, he was approached by Giannis Sergakis and Vangelis Zaharioudakis who invited him to play with them professionally. It was at this age that he had the opportunity to enter the recording studio for the first time with Vangelis Zaharioudakis, one of our beloved Cretan musicians. Only a few years later, some of Crete’s greatest masters of the lyra wished to perform with Tsouganakis, at the age of thirteen. With the great Leonidas Klados, Tsouganakis had the blessing of writing the lyrics and playing Leonidas’ compositions alongside him. For five years they were to play and tour together throughout Crete and Athens. They are respected and admired Cretan musicians. Shortly after he began performing with the gifted Kostas Moundakis, a beloved Cretan musician; a lyraris who has created some of Crete’s most touching songs; blessing the island with his passionate voice and lyra. Tsouganakis and Moundakis travelled as far as Canada with their tours together. Over the years they played together frequently, Tsouganakis even recording with Moundakis in 1990 on what would be Moundakis’ last recording.
Michalis Tzouganakis - Μιχάλης Τζουγανάκης is an artist of rare and magical passion and emotion, even in the realms of Cretan traditional music, so renowned for exuding feeling like tears from a mourner’s eyes
Tsouganakis’ passion for music led him to play the laouto, lyra, mandolin, outi, sazi, boulgari and cumbus. He took formal singing lessons at the Conservatorium of Athens for two years.
With his band Tsouganakis has recorded his own albums and played all over the world. He has performed Greece, Germany, America, Belgium and Canada. During his travels he also played with different bands abroad.
Over the course of his career Tsouganakis has played with many respected musicians, and has had the opportunity to create some truly magical music. Such as his collaboration with Nikos Mamagkakis where they create Ta Tragoudia Tis Palia Polis The Songs Of The Old City, A beautiful synergy of Cretan musicians, singing the beautiful words of Rethymnian poet Giorgos Kalomenopoulos.
Tsouganakis combined the modern approach in letting a song dictate its own voice, unbound to the confines of traditional music, yet his music is infused with the depth, pace and emotion of the Rizitika.
Michalis Tzouganakis is a true artist, a blessing to the soul of Cretan music.Ο Μιχάλης Τζουγανάκης ξεκίνησε πολύ μικρός την καλλιτεχνική του πορεία και συνεχίζει ακόμα να κάνει αυτό που αγάπησε από παιδί. Να παίζει και να τραγουδά γυρίζοντας τον κόσμο με την μπάντα του, έχοντας πάντα τα μάτια της ψυχής του στραμμένα στη Κρήτη... H προσωπική αισθητική του δυνατού performer και η εσωτερική του μουσική θέαση δημιουργούν ηχοχρώματα που υπερβαίνουν το κρητικό ιδίωμα και χαράζουν δρόμους μουσικούς που ταυτόχρονα εκπλήσσουν , καθηλώνουν και εκστασιάζουν το κοινό!
***NEW CD DECEMBER 2008***