Kranidiotis Dimitris | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Skoutaros, Lesvos
• Short biography

Dimitris Kranidiotis was born in 1927, in Skoutaros, Lesvos, where he lives to this day. He was a professional musician and played the clarinet, the santouri, and the drums. He was also a basket-weaver, and produced items for everyday use or for decorative purposes. He began playing music on a professional basis from the 1960s onwards, when he could no longer make a living as a basket-weaver, due to the advent of factory-made products.

He came from a family of musicians. His father, Christoforos Kranidiotis, was a professional musician who played the violin, the santouri, the clarinet and the drums. His grandfather, Gabriel, was a practical musician and played various instruments, especially wind instruments. His brothers, Giorgos (violin), Michalis (santouri, accordion, harmonium) and Kyriakos (violin) played music while also working as basket-weaves, a profession they learned from their father, Christoforos.

Dimitris Kranidiotis began his music career in the 1940s, when he played the santouri in his father’s band. The band also included his brother Giorgos (violin), who was then replaced by their younger brother, Kyriakos (violin), after Giorgos was killed during the Civil War.

Dimitris took up the clarinet in order to replace his father, when the latter left the band. Later, his younger brother, Michalis Kranidiotis, also joined the band, and played the accordion.

In the early 1970s, Dimitris Kranidiotis was forced to give up the clarinet, due to an operation he had on his larynx. After he recovered from the surgery, he continued his career in music, now playing the santouri and the drums alongside his son, Giorgos, who played the violin. During the 1990s, he worked with various local bands, in which he mostly played the santouri.

Dimitris Kranidiotis mentioned that their band played the following dances during the festivals of Lesvos: they would begin with syrta and kalamatiana, then move on to karsilamades and zeibekika, and would close with chasapika and tsamika. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Kranidiotis brothers’ band repertoire also included several laika [folk songs], like Kazantzidis’, which they heard on records made in Athens.

They also played tunes from Asia Minor and “smyrneika” songs (from Smyrna), which were very popular in Lesvos, and especially in certain villages, such as Aghia Paraskevi and Stypsi.

He regularly performed a parties held in the village cafés, festivals and weddings in several villages across Lesvos, such as Eresos, Mesotopos, Agiasos, Mantamados, Sykamia, Pigi, Aghia Paraskevi and, of course, Skoutaros and the seaside village of Anaxos, especially during the summer. He also regularly played the clarinet at weddings and engagement parties in Stypsi and Skalochori.