Kyriakoglou Michalis | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Kapi, Lesvos
• Short biography

Michalis Kyriakoglou was born in 1939 and lives in Kapi, Lesvos. He is a professional musician with a background in music theory. He plays the violin, the guitar, the accordion and the harmonium. Other musicians in his family were his grandfather [Michalis Kyriakoglou], his father [Menelaos Kyriakoglou] and his brother [Efstratios Kyriakoglou].

He began playing music during the 1950s, in the family band known as “Menelaides” or “Kapiotes”: “We started from here, from Kapi, Mantamados, and went round the whole island. I played the violin and my father the trombone, we had my brother playing the accordion at the time […]. Sometimes I played the accordion, too, or the harmonium, and my brother the bouzouki or the drums or the accordion, my father the violin. My father played two instruments, the violin and the trombone. And when we wanted to, we played at a ball, either European songs, or the tango, the waltz. I played the violin and my brother the accordion. We did something different, and that’s what made us popular in those years, while others would open with chasaposerviko and then they’d start the zeibekika, they’d start playing those weepy ones, you know, all the time. And that kept us at the top for twenty years […]. And we went round the whole island […]”.

According to Michalis Kyriakoglou, there were many good bands around, which consisted of talented musicians. He also mentioned his collaborations with various female singers [known as “diseuse”, from the French], who were hired to come to Lesvos for a certain amount of time, to perform in the local cafés and nightclubs.

During his long career as a musician, Michalis Kyriakoglou took part in various musical events, such as organised or spontaneous parties, engagements, weddings, christenings, festivals, etc. He has also played outside of Greece, at an event in Belgium, with the choir of the Municipality of Mytilini.

He was a regular participant in spontaneous parties that took place in the cafés of Kapi and Mantamados: “In the past, that’s pretty much how you made a living. Those were good jobs, a group of friends would call you over, there would be ten of them, in high spirits, having fun. Sometimes they brought their wives along, too. They started during the day, and brought their wives along in the evening, and there would be a party. There were no misunderstandings, they were all friends. But they paid well. The musicians got paid for their day’s work.”

Michalis Kyriakoglou has also given lessons to younger musicians: “I used to teach in Kapi. I’ve taught a few in Mantamados. I never taught the violin, the violin takes a lot of studying […]. Well, some of them turned professional, they either did it, or they gave it up, and now they want to start again. Like one of my students, Akis – if he gets into University, he’ll definitely get into it again, because he can do it, he’s got the means.”