Vamvakaris Markos


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Born: 10-05-1905
Died: 08-02-1972
From: Greece, Ermupoli, Syros


Markos was born to a poor working family on the island of Syros in 1905. His father played the greek bagpipes called Gaida and Markos would accompany him on the dog-skinned drum. When Markos was eight years old he left school to work with his mother in a cotton thread factory, which he promptly ditched and started picking up odd jobs like newspaper boy, butchers assistant, eventually getting mixed up with the underworld of the streets.
When he was fifteen years old he stowed away on a ship to Piraeus and got a job loading coals on the docks. This was tough, low-down work, but the nights were all about hashish and women. He was kept in fine clothes by an older whore and hung out at the tekes every night. In 1925, Markos heard Old Nikos play bouzouki and was immediately hooked. Six months later he was playing at a teke when Old Nikos stopped by, he couldn't believe it was the same kid who'd never even played a few months earlier. Nikos said they'd show Markos something i the morning and he'd come back and play it better than them in the evening.


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