Pantelelis Manolis | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Palaiochori, Lesvos
• Short biography

Manolis Pantelelis was born in 1907. He was a professional musician and played the violin; he also played the santouri on an amateur basis. On occasion, when the band he was in didn’t have a vocalist, he also sang.

He was taught the violin, and the particular repertoire of his time and area, by three professional violinists of his region. In 1925, he began violin lessons with Achilleas Sousamlis, a violinist from Agiasos, where he stayed for six months. He was then taught by Dimitris Christou, at Plagia, in the region of Plomari. Finally, he enriched his repertoire and improved his technique by studying alongside his uncle, Stratos Pantelelis, who lived in Neochori, (Boro), in the region of Plomari.

During his military service, in Thessaloniki between 1927 and 1929, he studied music theory in a Conservatory, and in 1947-48, he visited and took lessons from Grigoris Konstantakellis, a violinist based in Skopelos, Gera.

He began playing the violin on a professional basis in 1925, with his father, Kostas Pantelelis, on the santouri, and his uncle, Stratis Pantelelis, second violin. In the early 1930s, he rented a house in Aghia Paraskevi and joined the Stambouli brothers’ band, who, up until 1922, had played music across the water, along the coast of Asia Minor. From the mid-1930s, Manolis Pantelelis and his younger brothers formed their own band. The Panteleli brothers’ band consisted of Manolis (violin), Vangelis (drums), Panagiotis, or “Asparkias” (trombone, Giannis (tromba or cornet), and their cousin Pantelis Pantelelis (santouri). The Panteleli brothers’ band performed in the wider area of Plomari from 1940 until the late 1960s.

Representative of the local tunes, songs and dances were: “We played all kinds of tunes. Even the European ones: the tango, the waltz, the samba. We played those, in the clubs we went to, until the dancing began. They listened to them until the dancing began, zeibekika and all that. Some people showed up, high school kids, people like that, and danced the tango, the waltz, we played all of that. There were no lights. We had the music stands in front of us, and if the lights went out sometimes, there was nothing, just a few lamps… Later, we played zeibekika, karsilamades, zeibekika, syrta, kalamatiana (like the tune known as “Aigeotissa”), ballous, chasapika, Serbian chasapika (all traditional Greek tunes and dances), anything everything. They made requests. Yes, they requested all of that, if someone made a request, otherwise we’d play syrtos, to begin with, then ballos, then karsilamas, zeibekiko and a fast, Serbian chasapiko, they called it “rousiko” (Russian). That was the last one, they called it “sichtir-pilaf”. Play the “sichtir-pilaf”, they’d say. Ah, there was also another tune, which was named “Aise” (9/8). That was, there was someone from Palaiochori – God rest his soul – who used to stand up on the chairs and dance it, and they called it “Kareklatos” (chair dance) after him, he didn’t know it’s name, “Aise”. That’s the “kareklatos”. They dance it over here. Whoever feels like hearing it says: ‘Play the kareklatos’.”

From the 1960s onwards, Manolis Pantelelis spent most of his time working on his land in Palaiochori, while his brother Panagiotis, or “Asparkias” continued to play music after 1960, alongside the violinist Panagiotis Ganosis, in Kalloni.