Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, the founder and mastermind behind the orchestral pop group Choir of Young Believers, has died. His label Ghostly International announced today that the Danish/Greek/Indonesian artist died last month following a short period of illness. Makrigiannis was 39 years old.
Having come up in the Copenhagen music scene, Makrigiannis left the city in 2006 and moved to the Greek island of Samos to write music for the project that would become Choir of Young Believers. “Samos gave me a lot of time on my own; no friends, no mobile, no computer, and no nightlife gives you a hell lot of time on your own,” he told Consequence in 2009. “So I wrote and thought a lot about music, why I was spending all of my time on this weird abstract thing, etc.”
Makrigiannis then returned Copenhagen and brought on a cast of musicians and friends to form Choir of Young Believers. With a rotating lineup, the band achieved multiple No. 1 songs in Denmark and found international success after ‘Hollow Talk’ was used in the Danish-Swedish crime TV show The Bridge. Following an appearance at SXSW in 2009, Ghostly reissued the group’s 2008 debut album This Is For The White In Your Eyes, which was followed by Rhine Gold in 2012 and Grasque followed in 2016. Last year, Choir of Young Believers returned with their final LP, Holy Smoke.
“Jannis was a gentle, kind soul, always appreciative of our team helping him to share his art with the world,” Ghostly wrote in their statement. “He always put art first in his process, and as a result, Jannis was often far ahead of the cultural curve. His music only seems to get better with time.”