Agathonas Iakovidis, the legendary Greek folk singer who performed with the band Koza Mostra at Eurovision 2013, has died aged 65. He passed away following a heart attack.
Ahead of Eurovision in Malmö, Koza Mostra told us why they decided to wear kilts in their official music video for “Alcohol is Free”. It was, they said, all about bridging the divide in Europe by uniting the kilt, which comes from Scotland, one of the westernmost places in Europe, and Greek music, which was obviously born in the East.
A key link to that was Agathonas. Born to refugee parents from Asia Minor, he taught himself a range of instruments from the baglama and the oud to the bouzouki and the mandolin. These instruments are key components of rebetiko — songs strongly associated with Greek nightlife and entertainment. The genre experienced a renaissance in the 1960s and 70s — and Agathonas was a master of it.
Drawing on traditions from the Greek mainland and islands, the genre is defined partly by spirit and passion. That Agathonas plucked with the speed of a cheetah and the fire of someone in love with his craft imbued his performances with something that can’t be taught. It must be lived and, thankfully for the rest of us, experienced.
Koza Mosta expressed their sorry on Instagram, writing: “So hard for us. Our great friend Agathonas passed away this morning.”
“Can’t find words to describe our pain. Our mind is with his family.”
They punctuated their caption with an emoji of a white dove — a symbol of hope and eternal peace.
At Eurovision 2013, Koza Mostra were a bundle of energy, making full use of the stage and extended runway. Only the drummer and Agathonas stayed on the main stage throughout the song.
As the guys bounced around, at times moving in slow motion before dancing like madmen, Agathonas stood front and centre — providing an anchor amid the chaos. A star of his stature didn’t need to shimmy and shake. His stoic expression, knowing looks, suggestive expressions and that mustache gave this performance heart and a sense of Greek tradition. Yes it was fun, but it was rooted in music.
The song made numerous allusions to the Greek debt crisis and government mismanagement, and the resulting feelings of suffering as a result of cuts and austerity. Agathonas, a man who lived life to the full by making the most of the gifts he had been given, had no doubt seen better times. And here, through his sonorous tones and overflowing wisdom, he seemed to suggest they’d come again.
We send our deepest condolences to his family. R.I.P., Agathonas.
my condolences to his family…. so sad news
guys what do you know about Khayat’ sibilings suffered from Beirut’ explosion?
he said he is currently there on Instagram and its a big tragedy for his family ….hope no one died…oh god
He is only the second ever greek Eurovision contestant to pass away after Marianna Toli who was part of the 1977 quartet. They were both iconic and a great loss for greek Eurovision fans.
May his memory be everlasting.
Deepest condolences. 🙁 Loved Alcohol Is Free.
It’s always sad losing one of our Eurovision family 🙁 Rest in peace
What a sad news. My condoleances to his family. May he rest in peace.
🙁 🙁 🙁
Not only I’m sad about his death, but it’s also sad because Agathonas bring Greece’s last ever great placement in the Eurovision finals too 🙁
My favourite Greek entry.
Great song, performance, energy, authenticity. Greeks can feel very proud
Very sad. I loved this entry and still do.
Like I said before, it’s one of my favorite Greek entries, and you beautifully describe why Agathonas’ stoic strumming was part of the reason why. There wasn’t any pressure to make him dance around like a lunatic the way the rest of them did. He had a charisma all his own that balanced it all out really well and still didn’t make him feel like a stick in the mud. Apparently, he was still performing for doctors as recently as April to thank them for all their work during this crisis. He was a stand-up guy and he’ll be dearly… Read more »
It’s also really weird that we’ve lost two contestants from 2013 (Esma from North Macedonia as well). Meanwhile, last I heard, Emile the bassist from Switzerland is still alive and kicking, and he’d be around 103 now!
A talented musician, for sure. Performers like him make me hate the playback even more. It would have been even better to hear him do it live.
Another thing I remember is Vicky Leandros being very surprised when she announced it as the winner of the Greek final that year. It was far from the typical Greek entry!