Moutzourellis Michalis | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Agiasos, Lesvos
• Short biography

Michalis Moutzourellis (also known by the nickname “Lagos” – rabbit) was born in 1921. He was a practical musician and played the daouli, the recorder, the zournas and, mostly, the clarinet. He was also employed in agricultural activities, primarily olive cultivation. As he said himself: “There are many festivals during the summer, you can make your living. But in the winter we did other work, too, agricultural work.”

He played the daouli from 1934 till 1937, accompanying his father, Grigoris, who played the zournas, in the small local cafés of Agiasos, replacing his brother, Anestis, who was doing his military service at the time, in the “zygia” (a basic band, in this case consisting of a zournas and a daouli): “My brother joined the military in ’34 and I played with my father. I was only thirteen, but needs must.”

He began learning the clarinet in 1940 and, after his father’s death in 1943, started playing on a professional basis, forming a “zygia” with his brother Anestis, or “Aristeidis” (daouli). They worked together until 1953, when Anestis Moutzourellis joined the rural police. Since then, Michalis Moutzourellis joined various bands based in Agiasos, and only performed in a “zygia” with his brother on occasion: “There was always work for musicians. “Get Lagos”, you understand? And we played. Later, when my father died, I took my brother’s clarinet and we played together, the two of us. We played together for many years.”

From 1954 to 1956, Michalis Moutzourellis played the clarinet in a band headed by the violinist Charilaos Rodanos. They played music at weddings and festivals, in several villages across Lesvos. From the mid-1950s, he regularly performed with Giannis Sousamlis, or “Kakourgos” (santouri), Giannis Moutzourellis, or “Lagos” (guitar), Efstratios Altiparmakis, or “Rogidis” (trombone), and Komninos Papoutselis (violin), all of them musicians based in Agiasos. In the early 90s, he collaborated with Nikos Kalaitzis, or “Bidagialas” (santouri), for 2 or 3 weddings in Vasilika.

On occasion, he has also worked with other local musicians, such as the old-timer Stratis Rodanos, who played the trombone, with whom he performed at a wedding, Stratis Pseiras, or “Mouzous”, who played the santouri, Dimitris Agritis, who plays the guitar, and several others.

Venues and events he performed at regularly include: the kouitoukia of Agiasos (small cafés serving ouzo and nuts, which were only open on Sundays and holidays), weddings, the festival of Panagia (the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) in Agiasos on August 15th, the “glitomata” during the 1940s (parties organised by landowners for the workers, at the end of the olive collection season), and parties in private homes in Pigi and Vasilika of Lesvos.

He has also played the clarinet, alongside other musicians, in the Carnival parade on Ash Monday, and played the clarinet regularly in the villages of Polychnito, Vrisa, Lisvori and Sykounda, in Central Lesvos.