Kalaitzi Chrysanthi | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Pelopi, Lesvos
• Short biography

Chrysanthi Kalaitzi comes from Pelopi, Lesvos, but she and her family settled permanently in Pamfila, around 1974. She is an amateur singer, while her husband, Dimitris, was a practical musician who played the violin: “Well, he played music, he learnt by practising. He played in bands, in groups of friends, in parties. It’s been sixteen years now since he died, he died when he was 62 years old […]. […] friends would get together, a party. Well, they played what they’d heard, they preferred him, they called him over. They called my father in law Barba-Giannis, come, Barba-Giannis, and they’d go and play together. My father in law played the daouli, and my husband the violin. They had a nephew, too, he played – what did he play? I haven’t seen him in years. He’s not called Kalaitzis, he was a little boy at the time, and they’d take him along with them. What did he play? The guitar? I don’t even remember […], they played the old songs. ‘To gilekaki pou foreis’, that sort of thing, the old ones.”

Speaking of the occasions when she used to sing, she said: “In parties, among friends, when we got together to do our embroidery. We used to go to chapels, they had me singing. At work, in Katramados where I worked, they cried when I sang […]. We sang, in the winter we went to the factory, in the summer we sang all day. These days, here, in the house […].
[…] Well, back then, on the swings they made in our village, I was a little girl and I went round with the older girls and I learned. In the houses […], the old houses had these thick pieces of wood, they put them between the doors, they tied up the ropes and placed the board, and the girls sat on it in twos, and I was little so they sat me in the middle. I’d turn around and called to them. […] At the olive groves, we sang all kinds of things, like ‘Theleis na pethano’, various things […]”.

She stopped singing after her husband died. On her success as a singer, and her role in the island’s musical life, she said: “There were some songs I liked to sing, I would sing all day, and they’d day, enough now, be quiet. Now I can’t, it’s been fifteen, sixteen years since my husband died. It’s like my throat has closed up, I can’t do it. We used to go to the olive groves in Gera and the girls were singing, and I said, write it down for me so I can learn it, because I really like this song, for Aghios Georgios (St. George). And the girls wrote it down for me and I learned it, but I’ve forgotten it now […]. I sang songs that I’d heard, we used to go to the olive groves in those days, my dad used to come, too […], with the crates, we took them, they carried the olives from the factory. We gathered there from ten different villages, from Asomatos, from Baltziki, from Mystegna, from Loutra, from all the villages. They put me in the middle to sing, I had a very good voice and they used to tell me ‘Why don’t you go make a record, since you sing so well and have a good voice?’ I can’t sing them now anymore, I can say the words but, you know…”