Remembering Greek bouzouki master, Stelios Vamvakaris

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Greek composer and bouzouki master, Stelios Vamvakaris, was one of the first musicians to deal with the common roots of rebetiko and blues.

On this day in 2019, Stelios passed away at the age of 72. To mark the day, we take a look back at his inspirational career.

Early Life and Music Career:

Stelios Vamvakaris, the second son of the pioneer of rebetiko Markos Vamvakaris, was born in Piraeus on March 2, 1947. He started playing music at the age of 12, with his father. 

READ MORE: On This Day: Greek rebetiko musician, Markos Vamvakaris, was born.

Stelios Vamvakaris is the second son of the pioneer of rebetiko Markos Vamvakaris.

During the many years of his artistic career, Stelios collaborated with important rebetiko musicians, such as Giannis Papaioannou, Vassilis Tsitsanis, Stratos Pagioumtzis and Stelios Perpiniadis, as well as with big names in folk, art and rock music, such as George Zambetas Gray, Vicky Moscholou, Lefteris Papadopoulos and George Dalaras.

In 1988, he recorded with the American blues player Louisiana Red the album ‘The Blues meets Rebetiko’ with 8 pieces of blues performed with bouzouki and baglama. In 1994, he wrote music for the album ‘Romantic Violators – Fantasy in Power,’ which stood out for its special sound.

During his career, he gave many concerts abroad performing his songs but also songs of his father. 

Stelios passed away on June 17, 2019, at the age of 72.

Legacy and Death:

The artistic value of his particular style of music was also recognised by the international blues community. At a festival in Fallon, Sweden, he co-starred with John Lee Hooker and in 2003, at a London Blues Festival with Taj Mahal and Cesaria Evora. In 2010, he appeared at the Balkan Trafik Festival held in Brussels.

Apart from songs, Stelios also composed music for the cinema, as in the film of George Panousopoulos ‘One day at night,’ but also for plays. Many remarkable songs by him have not found their way into the discography.

Stelios passed away on June 17, 2019, at the age of 72.

Source: San Simera.

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