Yiannis Polykandriotis, the legendary Greek bouzouki player and music teacher, passed away on Wednesday in London at the age of 73.
He was the son of rebetiko master Theodoros Polykandriotis and brother of composer Thanassis Polykandriotis. He honed his skills next to his idols Vassilis Tsitsanis and Giorgos Zambetas.
Born in 1946, Yiannis Polykandriotis began to play the bouzouki at the age of 10 and growing up he was even featured in several films and on Greek television.
He performed in music halls, gave concerts and had regular gigs at some of Greece’s most prestigious nightclubs.
Polykandriotis also founded an eponymously-named music school in London where he relocated permanently in 1996, teaching not just bouzouki but baglama and tzoura as well. He did everything within his power to ensure the survival of Greek diaspora culture in London’s vibrant Hellenic community.
One of Polykandriotis’ brightest moments was his performance at the 2012 London Olympics where he charmed the entire audience with songs such as “‘The children of Piraeus”, “Zorbas”, “Zeibekiko of Evdokia.”