Greece’s well-known Rebetiko musician Agathonas Iakovidis passed away suddenly in Thessaloniki at the age of 65 on Wednesday, according to information from the website thestival.gr.
The famed musician, who was not known to have had any chronic health ailments, was found deceased in his bed on Wednesday morning after having suffered a heart attack.
Iakovidis, who went by the name Agathonas and whose parents hailed from Asia Minor, was born in Evangelismos Langadas, Thessaloniki, in 1955. Since the very first melodies he ever heard were from the land of his ancestors, he grew up enveloped in that musical sphere, with its distinctive rhythms and sound.
After beginning to play music seriously in 1971, Iakovidis branched out to master not only the bouzouki but also the guitar, bag lama, the and oud, as well as the mandola and mandolin.
His career was launched just two years later, in 1973, at which time he realized Rebetiko was his calling in life. Just four years later he formed his own group, called the “Rebetiko Band of Thessaloniki,” which gave concerts and recorded two albums together.
Rebetiko rose to prominence as its own genre due in part to his lifelong efforts to popularize the tradition, which was borne out of the experiences of the Greek people who had lived in Asia Minor and were forced to emigrate to Greece in the early years of the twentieth century.
Iakovidis owned a collection of rare Rebetiko recordings from the early years when the music was often played by the Asia Minor emigres.
Known for his collaborations with Greek musicians such as Costas Papadopoulos, George Koros, Vassilis Soukas, Lazaros Koutalidis, Nikos Filippidis and Nikos Hatzopoulos, the rebetiko master had lived in Thessaloniki since 1987.
Iakovidis performed in the Eurovision contest in 2013, making it to the Grand Final.
With information from theastival.gr