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Yiannis Papaioannou - Greek Music Rempetika

Yiannis Papaioannou bouzouki

Yiannis Papaioannou (1914-1972) was in Kios, Asia Minor, on January 18, 1913 and he came to Greece as a refugee when he was 9 years old. He first moved with his mother and grandmother on the island of Samothrace before settling in Piraeus. After his brief stint as a footballer came to an end as a result of an injury, Papaioannou devoted himself to songwriting.

He is considered by many as the first song writer to have taken bouzouki music out of the "tekke" (drug den), making it more acceptable to the non-hashish smoking stratum of Greek society.


The multi-talented Papaioannou's music varies from old-style rebetika ("Pente Ellines ston Adi", "O boufetzis"), to oriental ("Cifteteli", "Karabiberim") and even island music (Kapetan Andrea Zeppo).

Although primarily a song writer, Papaioannou was also an accomplished bouzouki player whose "Taksim" remains a unique instrumental masterpiece to this day. He died in a traffic accident near Elefsina on August 3, 1972.


(on the ground, according to greek tradition masses of broken dishes)

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