Manolis was born March 1960 in Kavala, Greece. At the age of nine years he began taking his first lessons on the bouzouki from his teacher George Petrakopoulos. He started his professional musical career in Australia at age 16 and worked along side virtuoso bouzouki player Nikos Karanikolas. As his mentor, Nikos Karanikolas took him under his wing and passed on to Manolis his extensive and in depth knowledge of Rebetika and contemporary Greek folk music. Whilst performing and studying with Nikos Karanikolas, Manolis continued his studies on the classical guitar and contemporary music in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Upon his arrival in Greece in 1985, he was influenced by the famous pianist Markos Alexiou with whom he broadened his knowledge in jazz and improvisation. Manolis obtained his musical theoretical degrees having studied under professor George Kabanas.
His love for folk music was so overpowering that he took advantage of all this knowledge and applied it on the bouzouki, thus combining the charisma of classical, contemporary and folk music.
During his professional career he has performed with acknowledged Greek composers such as: G. Katsaros (with whom he had a long term association), J. Markopoulos, G. Hatzinasios, M. Plessas, G. Spanos, N. Lavranos, T. Polykandriotis, also with rebetes M. Genitsaris and N. Karanikolas.
He also collaborated with many Greek singers such as T. Voskopoulos, G. Parios, Marinella, M. Mitsia, M. Lidaki, P. Papadopoulou, M. Dimitriadis, K. Kouka and others.
For fifteen years he performed next to the unforgettable diva Vicky Mosholiou.
He has been an active teacher since 1990 on both bouzouki and the guitar in the following schools: M.M.S of Kalithea, Fillipos Nakas, Nikos Skalkotas, Protoporia, G.Fakanas, M.M.S of Inofyta, M.M.S of Chalkida;
From 2001 to 2004 Manolis was a teacher at T.E.I University of Epirus, teaching Folk and Traditional Music.
One of his main passions is delivering music workshops and seminars successfully in several countries.
He has participated as a soloist with the Contemporary Music Orchestra of E.R.T under the Maestro G.Katsaros at the Athens Herodeion, also as a concert soloist with the Chalkideon Symphony Orchestra in the Athens Concert Hall under the chief conductor P.Prokos.
As a musician he has made a big contribution in Greek discography.
Taking advantage of his extensive musical education and experience, Manolis has written a large number of musical instruction books which have been circulated globally. The first of these books was “Folk Music Horizons” published by Zozef. This teaching method was dedicated to the idea that music has no borders. Fillipos Nakas publishers also publish and circulate the following books for bouzouki, tzoura and baglama, which have been written and supervised by Manolis Michalakis:
Στο βιβλίο αυτό θα προσπαθήσουμε να εξηγήσουμε πώς εναρμονίζεται μια μελωδία μέσα από βαθύτερη γνώση των συγχορδιών που προκύπτουν από όλες τις κλίμακες.
1) Θα μάθουμε πώς σχηματίζονται οι 3φωνες συγχορδίες στην απλή τους μορφή,