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Yorgo Bacanos (born in Silivri, Turkey in 1900, died in Istanbul in 1977; Γιώργος Μπατζανός in Greek) was a master oud player and improvisational composer of Ottoman classical music. His father Haralambos was of Greek gypsy descent, and a legendary oud improviser, and several in his family were kemençe artists. He was largely responsible for introducing the young Yorgo to music, presenting him with his first oud at the age of five. Yorgo soon left school (the Saint Benoit High School) to concentrate on music full-time--he had made his first public appearance in the Eftalofos Club in Taksim at the age of twelve. Rapidly achieving fame, he started performing on Turkish Radio in 1927, and went on performing there for 51 years, until his death. In 1928, he visited Berlin with his brother Aleko, and Kanuni Ahmet Yatman and performed in records of Hafiz Kemal and Hafiz Sadettin Kaynak; in the next year, he performed in Paris, with the violinist Sadi Işılay, and Deniz Kızı Eftalya; he further went on to Cairo with the same band.
He played with the other masters of his era, including Münir Nurettin Selçuk and Zeki Müren in Turkey, and Umm Kulthum and Munir Bashir in the Arab world. Yorgo Bacanos also gave concerts in many European countries, and became one of the finest and most renowned oud players of his time (alongside Udi Hrant Kenkulian). His technique and musicality proved influential, and his distinctive variations are still being performed at present.
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