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Konstantellis Anestis-Kondylis | Lesvos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Skopelos, Lesvos
• Short biography

Anestis-Kondylis Konstantellis was born in Skopelos, Gera, in 1924. He was a professional musician from 1938, and played the santouri and the drums. His family was originally from Dikeli in Asia Minor, and had a long tradition in music. His great-grandfather, Giorgos, played the santouri, and his son, Fotis – Kondylis’ grandfather – played the clarinet. His father, Grigoris Konstantellis, was a renowned musician who played the santouri and the violin, and had taught several musicians in his local area.

Kondylis Konstantellis began learning the santouri in 1938, at the age of 14, and by 1940 he was playing on a professional basis in the band formed by his father, Grigoris (violin). The latter collaborated with many other good musicians from the region of Gera, such as Ilias Frosynas (cornet), who was originally from Asia Minor, Stelios Georgalas, or “Vourdoulas” (trombone, cornet), Ermolaos Zografos (clarinet) and Nikos Zografos (euphonium).

This wind instrument band was known in the local area as the “Geragotes”, and played at weddings, balls organised by the Papadou Club, festivals, and parties in cafés around Gera and across Lesvos, from 1922 until 1940, when they split up.

In the early 1950s, when new instruments, like the accordion and the bouzouki, made their appearance in the local bands, Kondylis Konstantellis began to play the drums, and got together with local musicians Pantelis Partalis (accordion), Ioannis Sivilis (guitar, vocals) and Efstratios Arapoglou (bouzouki): “We were the “Geragotes”. Well, when the wind instruments died (became less popular), we formed another band, which was again the first one in Lesvos […]”.

Between 1954 and 1972, he played the drums in nightclubs in Athens during the winter season, and spent his summers performing around Gera with the aforementioned band. In Athens, he collaborated with various well-known musicians and singers, such as Koros (violin), Karakostas (clarinet), Zambetas, Perpiniadis, Stratos Dionysiou, and several female singers, like Anthoula Alifrangi, Beba Blanch, and many others. He has also played music in Melbourne, where he went to visit his daughter, who lives there with her family.

Kondylis Konstantellis took up the santouri once again during the 1990s. In 1998, when this interview was conducted, he only played on occasion, at weddings, festivals and musical events organised by the island’s cultural associations.

He plays all the local “traditional” tunes, which were well known across the island, on the santouri, as he learned them from his father. He also plays laika (folk) and rebetika, and the so-called “European” tunes, which were very popular in rural clubs and balls.

Many of the songs and tunes he plays are influenced by eastern musical scales, known as maqam.