Louloudis Sotirios | Chios | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Neninta, Chios
• Short biography

Sotiris Louloudis, also known by the nickname of ‘Koulas’, was born in 1922. He is a practical musician (santouri) and singer. Other musicians in his family were his father (mandolin) and his older brother Leonidas (violin – who had formal training in music). As well as playing music, Sotiris also worked in agriculture and mastic production.

His first contact with music was through his brother, Leonidas, who played music on a professional basis, at festivals and celebrations, in order to support his family: “There was my father, my mother, Leonidas was just about old enough, and my sister […]. Then my mother died […]. I was young, I told you, I didn’t know anything yet. I could sing, though, I had the right pitch, I sang and […]. I remember, he had the music stand and he studied [Leonidas] […]. And I’d watch him studying the concertos and this and that – I was a kid – and I learned to sing it”.

During the course of his career as a musician, he worked with several local musicians, and played with his brother, Leonidas, on a regular basis, in a band they called “Louloudides”. He has performed at festivals, celebrations, weddings, balls, events, etc, and has visited almost every village in Chios: “I’ve worked all over Chios. I was taken round the voreiochora [Northern villages] by Alekos Skoufaras […]. [We went] all over Chios, Leonos [his brother, Leonidas] and I, but mostly me […]. […] Sixty-four villages, twenty-seven Mastichochoria [Mastic villages]. I’ve been all over, and everyone knows me, but I don’t remember, I don’t remember any more. I go to Chora: ‘hello Louloudi, hello Sotiri, hello Louloudi, hello’, yes, yes […]. Every village, you know, there isn’t a village we haven’t played at.” On his performances off the island, he said: “We’ve played all over Greece, we even went as far as Holland. And America, and Thessaloniki, so many times, Mytilini, so many times, twelve days in Crete […]. […]. We started from Alexandroupoli and went up to Bulgaria. The whole of the river Evros, we crossed the whole of it and went to Bulgaria. On foot, so to speak, with the band, a music and dance band. There were thirty or forty of us […]”.

On the songs their band played, and the way their repertoire has changed, he said: “What he wanted [his brother, Leonidas] was to learn the ‘Politikos’, ‘Ferei’, ‘Kitsos’ and ‘Potamos’ [names of songs], syrta, you know? Instrumental. The traditional [tunes of Chios] never die. Leonidas was good, he stopped studying the concertos and all that so much, and started learning the ‘Politikos’, and ‘Nazizlis’, and ‘Ferei’, and ‘Tin trata mas ti kourelou’, and ‘Ksekinaei mia psaropoula’ […]. […] ‘Agiathodoritissa’, and ‘Elenara’. [They requested them at festivals] of course, of course, they come first. To begin with, it’s traditional to play the ‘Politikos’ for the bride’s dance, the ‘Politikos’ never dies. They played marches when they walked her to the church […]. They don’t sing during the marches, they’re instrumental marches, to take the bride around.”

At festivals: “…we open with a syrtos, but then the syrtos is over and you have to play a Tango, play a Fox, play a Waltz […]. Whoever wants to dance a zeibekiko will come and ask for it, but there’s no zeibekiko till three or four o’clock […]. We played the Tango, the Waltz, the Fox. Syrta are traditional. The vocal ones are faster, the traditional ones are slower, more synchronised. In Volissos, I mean, in Amani. Up in Amani. And Kardamyla, Volissos. Those people, they might love their syrta, but at the end it’s tsifteteli all the way. Kato choros [the low dance – tsifteteli is a type of belly dance]. Without tsifteteli, they wouldn’t sit down. If you didn’t play kato choros, to bring the dance to an end […]”.