Ioannis Papaioannou

   1913 - 1972

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Style, sophistication, elegance and Swing .  Swing ?  Yes swing !  Try and think of Ioannis Papaioannou as similar the Great Jazz composer Duke Ellington . We are comparing Papaioannou to the great American "Duke " , because his compositions as well as his character and particularly his stage presence , were very much the embodiment of these first three attributes.  In our opinion, Papaioannou was very much the Hellenic "Duke" of Rebetiko music .  Many of Papaioannou's compositions were often very big hits.  Especially with the Greek - American crowd .  Much of  his material was for a variety of reasons , much admired and very accessible for many a Western audience .  Which is interesting , because he never really compromised his compositions or performances by attempting to overly "Westernize" them for the benefit of a Buck .  Some of his songs had a hard driving lyrical rhythm, that  was very appealing . You just don't hear that  sound from any other Rebetic composer .  Probably the best description I can offer in regards to this characteristic , is that unlike most other Rebetic numbers , Papaioannou's music often seems to emphasize various elements  , that  suggests a youthful type of exuberance and natural spontaneity .  His music often seemed to have the rare capacity to take you away from your respective thoughts , even long after the number has ended .  Papaioannou was also an excellent instrumentalist with the Bouzouke and that capability undoubtedly  influenced his compositional style .  He is the one authentic Rebetis , I would recommend most to individuals who are new to this music and want to explore Rebetiko music in greater depth .  He merit's this recommendation not only because his compositions are some of the most immediately accessible and thoroughly intriguing, but more importantly because Papaioannou had a sound, that for some mysterious reason , never seems to grow old .  Tragically Ioannis Papaioannou was killed in an auto accident in 1972 .