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Kyriakoglou Efstratios | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Kapi, Lesvos
• Short biography

Efstratios Kyriakoglou was born on the 1st of May 1945. He is a musician ad singer. He plays the drums, the bouzouki and, mostly, the accordion. He also cultivates olives on his private land.

Efstratios Kyriakoglou was taught music theory by his father, Menelaos Kyriakoglou, and his brother, Michalis Kyriakoglou, as well as the musician Georgios Vereltzis [trombone], who was his grandfather’s nephew: “Both my father and grandfather were musicians.” He was taught to play the bouzouki by Giannis Polykandriotis, with whom he served in the military.

He began playing music on a professional basis in the mid-1950s, when he played the drums in his father’s band. The band formed by the Kyriakoglou family from Kapi was known as “Kapiotes” or “Menelaides”: “We were known as ‘Menelaides’, you know, after my father [Menelaos], or ‘Kapiotes’, the musicians from Kapi.”

On occasion, he also worked with other musicians from Kapi, Mantamados, Kleiou and Aghia Paraskevi: “Well, I was always with them [the family band], but we collaborated with others regularly […]. We played with bands from Mantamados, there were some in Kleiou, there were two or three over here in Kapi, so we varied it a bit, you know […]. There was someone called Panagiotis Zacharis, from Aghia Paraskevi, who played the accordion and the guitar and sang, too. He must be seventy by now, he’s old. I was only a kid at the time and he was about to get married. When he got married, he gave it up, his wife reined him in. There’s one in Mantamados, a shoemaker, Stratos Giannis [guitar] […]”

Between 1960 and 1964, Efstratios and his father regularly performed with Efstratios Vougioukas, a violinist from Mantamados, and during the 1960s, they often collaborated with female singers [“diseuse”, from the French], who were hired to come to Lesvos and perform in the local cafés and nightclubs for a certain amount of time.

Efstratios Kyriakoglou plays all the local tunes and songs of Lesvos, as well as some that are popular in mainland Greece, which he learned during his military service in Didymoteicho. He also plays laika and rebetika, which have been part of the music repertoire of local festivals from the 1950s onwards. When performing at balls held in the local Clubs, and certain festivals, he plays the so-called “European” pieces, which are songs and tunes from theatre, and the waltz, the tango, the fox trot, etc.

On the music generally played during the local festivals, he said: “It was, in order: Syrtos, zeibekiko, karsilamas, and if there were women, a group of women, then perhaps a kalamatianos, maybe a tango, I don’t know, and the last thing we played was chasaposerviko. So when you heard a chasaposerviko, you knew there’d be a switch. So this one would sit down, and another one would nod at you, I want to dance.”