LONDON – Beloved musician Yiannis Polykandriotis, the son of the late rebetiko musician Theodoros Polykandriotis, has passed away at the age of 73. The brother of the well-known composer Thanasis Polykandriotis, Yiannis was one of the greatest artists of the bouzouki.
Yiannis Polykandriotis, the Diaspora bouzouki, as he was known, was born in Athens in 1946 and was the son of rebetis Theodoros Polykandriotis. His professional career playing bouzouki began in 1958-59 at Psatha, Egaleo, with Prodromos Tsaousakis and Anthoula Aliphragki. Later, he performed at the Louzitania, the Garden of Allah, O Perivolas, and the Can Can.
Since 1996, he lived with his family in London and had set up the Yiannis Polykandriotis Music School for the new generation of the Diaspora. The Greek children living in England were taught the art of bouzouki, baglama, and tzoura, as well as the Greek musical tradition while at the same time they contributed to the promotion of our culture by participating in various events.
“I am deeply moved and proud of the fact that genuine Greek music, which I continue to serve consistently in the Diaspora, following my father’s legacy, will have a special place in the great world celebration of sport and culture which originated in Ancient Greece,” Polykandriotis had said about the performance in the 2012 London Olympics in an interview with the Athens News Agency and Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA).
“This is another vindication of the struggle for the promotion of the Greek folk music tradition, especially to Greek children in Britain and that was my purpose… Music stimulates children’s interest in learning the Greek language, especially in our days when it is in danger of being lost,” he pointed out.
Polykandriotis began composing in 1968, and wrote over 1,000 compositions. He performed concerts in the biggest theaters in Europe, America, and Australia, and he also ventured into classical music.
In 1971, he performed with Nana Mouskouri and Marinella. He collaborated with Panos Gavalas, Ria Kourti, Manos Hadjidakis, Stelios Kazantzidis, Stratos Dionysiou, Yiannis Parios, Tolis Voskopoulos, Pavlos Papantoniou, Yiannis Poulopoulos, and other well-known artists throughout his career.
At the 2012 London Olympics, the well-known music composer flooded the stage with the sounds of his bouzouki. The songs performed included Ta paideia tou Piraea, Zorbas, and Zeibekiko tis Evdokias, among others.
Material from the ANA-MPA was used in this report.