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13 april 1966

Manto (pronounce: 'Mado') was born as Adamantia Stamatopoulou in Piraeus and raised in Athens by her jazz pianist father, Nikos Stamatopoulos and a classic soprano opera mother Mary Apergi. Allegedly Manto could easily sing operatic arias, gospel and jazz music at a very young age. Her parents, astonished by her musical capability, signed her with the National Conservatory for piano and music theory lessons. At the age of ten, Manto began to teach herself how to play the guitar and various percussion instruments. At the age of 14 along with her school work, her music, and her English and French lessons, she performed in the musical 'Jesus Christ Superstar', under the direction of Mimis Plessas and Dimitris Malavetas.

After the completion of her music studies and at the age of 18 she signed her first record contract with CBS, which gave her the international hit ‘Fill me up’ and offered her the chance of an international career at a very young age. Manto remained in America for five years where she took up vocal training with Hal Sheaffer (vocal trainer of Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli. Manto's record company Minos brought her back from America in 1989 for the production of her official debut. It would be the start of a succesfull career. In the same year Manto did a first attempt to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. She ended second in the Greek pre-selection, only one point behind Marianna. Furious she took action against the Greek television station ERT because one of the jury members didn't vote. She won the ruling, but because it was too late to reverse the decision. Nevertheless her local career was booming.

In 1995 she wanted to change direction and, because Minos didn’t like the course she wanted to take, she changed to Sony. Big hits from this period are (among many) ‘Danika’ ('Borrowed'), ‘Faros’ ('Lighthouse') and ‘Esi’ ('You'). Next to her own career she collaborated with many international artist like Ricki Martin, Jean Michel Jarre (the track ‘Zoi’ ('Life')) and Turkish singer Sertab Erener, with whom she duets the song ‘Aşk/Fos’ ('Love/Light'). At the end of 2003, Manto recorded a new double album with the label Alpha records called ‘Oi agapes fevgoun, ta tragoudia menoun’ ('The loves have gone by, the songs remain'). The album has not much new material but is mostly rerecordings of old Greek traditionals. In 2003 she did another go at the Eurovision, this time with success. She performed with the song ‘Never let you go’ but ended 17th. Sertab won that year.

Manto planned a comeback for 2008 with two new albums: one in Greek and one in English. The first, Greek album, simply called 'Manto II', shows a return to rock, gothic and pop. The first single, ‘Dos mou logo na sotho’, was released as a music video only’. The English album, supposedly called ‘Afraid of the dark’, has yet to be released. At the end of 2011 Manto is back with 'Perfection', an album with songs in Greek, English and Italian.

On the web:

- Manto's website: http://www.mando.gr

What do we think:

PR: Manto is one of the first singers from Greece I got to know when I started to listen to Greek music. Maybe it is because of that I still have a weak spot for her. She has a wonderful, powerful voice and her records are very pop - apart from an occasional bouzouki/synth you will not find many traditional Greek instruments. Yet the sound is still very Greek and Mediterranean. My favourite album is 'Ston evdomo ourano', a great, very melodic pop record with many songs written by Manto herself. And a stunning duet with her (opera-singing) mother!

DB: Manto is a singer with a very strong voice. Her history in musicals is evident in her vocal power as well as in her output. She can sing a lot of different material and doesn't hesitate to do so. She switches as easily from folkore to musical showstoppers to gothic rock as she changes her haircolour. In this is also the downside of Manto that consistency in het material is somtimes hard to find. But then again with a voice like that who cares. For those of you who know her from her performance at the Eurovision: listen further because that song wasn't really good. She made far better.

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Doris Dragovic (Croatia)

Mietta (Italy)


♪♪ - Dos mou ena fili... (Give me a kiss) - 1989

Ptisi gia dio (Flight for two) - 1990

Kinisi triti (The third move) - 1991

Esthisis (Sensations) - 1992

♪♪ - I diki mas i agapi (Our love) - 1993

♪♪♪ - Anisiho vlemma (Worried stare) - 1994

♪♪♪♪♪ - Ston evdomo ourano (In seventh heaven) - 1995

♪♪♪ - Gia oles tis fores (For all the times) - 1997

♪♪♪ - Prodosia (Betrayal) - 1999

♪♪ - Se Alli Diastasi (In another dimension) - 2000

Oi agapes fevgoun, ta tragoudia menoun - 2003

♪♪♪♪ - Mando II - 2008

♪♪ - Perfection - 2011

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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