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Christou Panayiotis | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Short biography

Date of birth:
Panayiotis Christou was born in Plagia (Lesvos) in 1921.

Occupation:
He was a musician with a theoretical background and knowledge of music.
Panayiotis Christou was also a hairdresser. He was also accustomed with rural occupations such as olives in his own farms.

Family Status:
Panayiotis Christou is from a family that mostly everybody is a musician.
-His grandfather, Giannis Xristou was a musician and he played the bagpipe (“tulumi”) and the clarinet.
- His father, Dimitris Christou was a musician with theoretical knowledge on music. He played violin,violoncello and santouri. Panayiotis mentions for his father: “My father knew how to tune up barrel-organs and pianos. For instance they were women in Plomari that had pianos and my father tuned them up.”
- His step-brother, Giannis Xristou played also santouri and he worked constantly with his father Dimitris.
- Panayiotis’ younger brother, Stratis Christou is also a professional musician. He plays the guitar and accordion and he works together with his brother from the 50’s.

His Music Group:
Panayiotis Christou began playing the violin n local bands at the age of 18. For a year or so he played in his father’s band. When he left the army after 3 years service in 1949 he worked with local musicians and he made his own band. As his says: “I made my own band being independent from my father. We were worked well together. I had Manolis Giagnisis who played the accordion (except his brother Stratis). Manolis sang the Europena songs (but is not alive now). We had “jazz” (he means drums), guitar (either Antonis Xatzidimitriou from Plagia or Ilias Roumeliotis or “Karaxalias” from Plomari) and singers. We had both European songs and popular Greek music. I also had my band an old man, called Kavarnnos (his nickname was “Arapis” which means Negro). He played santouri. He played with us from 1949 until he embarked to Australia. We played altogether and were quite good. We traveled, we went on different festivals and so on. We had two people playing guitar, my brother Stratis and a foreigner...”. A man from Trigona played the drums and after his death Dimitris Kritzas from Plagia took up his part.

During 60’s and 70’s Panayiotis Xristou played violin his brother Stratis accordion, Giorgos Kavarnos or “Arapis” santouri and Kostas Sterianos or “Burlis” drums. After Giorgos Kavarnos immigrated in Australia they co-worked with Dimitris Sterianos or “Burlis” in santouri. Whenever they played in restaurants and leisure centres they cooperated with singers and musicians from Athens who played the buzuki.

When they went to play in marriages (in a village called Kato-Tritos) during 70’s Panayiotis Xristou (violin) worked with his brother Stratis (accordion) and Panayiotis Paplomatas or “Kalelis” (from Mytilene) who played drums. From mid 80’s, Panayiotis Christou and his brother Stratis worked for 6-7 years with Giorgos Mpatzakas (buzuki) from Gera. Panayiotis mentions: “In the last few years we played with 2-3 people coming from Gera. We had our local groups”.

Panayiotis Christou also refers to some musicians lived in the surrounding area of Plagia:
- Anastasia Tirini (“Stasul”) from Plagia. She played oblong folk drum and she also sang.
- Albanos or “Pas’ mas”. He had barrel-organ in Plagia.
- Psiras who played drums. He was from Trigona a village situated close to Plomari.
- Vasilis Kaldis was a teacher of music. His origins were in Asia Minor and after the catastrophe in 1922 he settled in Plomari. He taught Panayiotis Christou violin.
-Poseidonas Karavas was a well-known, charismatic violinist. He was also a very good singer. His origins were found in Asia Minor but he was also settled in Palaioxori close to Plomari.
- Giorgos Xatzellis or “Vexa” or “Xaxina” originated from Akrasi. He was great at playing santouri.
- “Ta Pantelelia” was a music band organized by Pantelelis brothers in Palaioxori, Plomari.