Maria Farantouri or Farandouri (Greek: Μαρία Φαραντούρη; born 28 November 1947 in Athens)[1] is a Greek singer and also a political and cultural activist. She has collaborated with Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, who wrote the score for Pablo Neruda's Canto General, which Farantouri performed.

Maria Farantouri
Birth nameMaria Farantouri
Born (1947-11-28) 28 November 1947 (age 71)
OriginAthens, Greece
GenresOpera, Folk music
Occupation(s)Singer, politician

During the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Maria Farantouri recorded protest songs in Europe with Mikis Theodorakis. In 1971, she recorded Songs and Guitar Pieces by Theodorakis with Australian guitarist John Williams which included seven poems by Federico García Lorca. She has recorded songs in Spanish ('Hasta Siempre Comandante Che Guevara'), Italian, and English ("Joe Hill" and Elisabeth Hauptmann's Alabama Song from Bertolt Brecht's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny), as well as works by Greek composers Manos Hatzidakis, Eleni Karaindrou and Michalis Bourboulis ('San Elektra' and 'Tora Xero') in which she realized a special fusion of vocal and instrumental beauty with musical accompaniment by Vangelis. She also sang the notable 'Mauthausen Cycle'.

Her voice is deep contralto with two octaves. The international press called her a people’s Callas (The Daily Telegraph), and the Joan Baez of the Mediterranean (Le Monde). According to The Guardian, her voice was a gift from the gods of Olympus.

Maria Farantouri was an elected member of the Greek Parliament from 1989-1993 representing the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).[2] She is married to the PASOK politician Tilemachos Chytiris.

On September 23rd, 2004, the President of the Greek Democracy recognized the contribution of Maria Farantouri to Greek song, awarding her the Gold Cross of the Order of the Phoenix. She was awarded the Premio Tenco Italian Award 2014 for her contribution to international contemporary and traditional music, and the Spanish LiberPress 2017.