Floradis Giorgos | Chios | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Mesta, Chios
• Short biography

Giorgos Floradis was born in 1922. He was a professional musician and played the clarinet. He was also a folk poet, due to his talent for producing “fitting” verse that described certain incidents or important events, both during weddings and at other moments of his life.

His father, Theodosis Floradis, was a well-known musician from Mesta in Chios. He played the tsabouna and the clarinet, and made his living out of various business activities. [“He was a man of commerce”, said his son, Giorgos]: “[…] many can play the clarinet like my father, but I’ve never heard the tsabouna played like he played it. He learnt as a child, a long time ago. For the clarinet, he took lessons from someone called Sirlis. He was in Lithi […]. He was a fast learner and he was obsessed…” Giorgos Floradis learnt to play the clarinet from his father, who encouraged him, by saying: “Son, listen to me when I tell you, the instrument is money…” Thedosis’ brothers, Dimitris and Agapios, were also musicians, and played the santouri and the violin, respectively.

Giorgos left for the Middle East in 1941, and returned in 1946 [after the end of World War II]. He moved to France in 1961, and only settled permanently in Mesta, where he was originally from, in 1986.

In Chios, he collaborated with a band that consisted of Konstantinos Mogias [oud, lute], Libousakis [violin], Argyroudis [clarinet], and Fylas [santouri and vocals]: “Sometimes, only three of us played. But sometimes, all of us would be together, in the square, at a festival or a wedding. If there were five of us, all five of us wanted to go and play. And let’s ay it was your name day, and your friends said: ‘Have you got anyone… so we can dance? Go send for a couple, Floradis and Fylas’. You understand? And one would play the clarinet and the other the santouri, and there’d be a party at the house… We were a band, we always played together. Whether it was a festival or a wedding, we all had to play together. Except, let’s say, you agreed to let the… [clarinetist] go to Elata, where they didn’t have a clarinet. And the cash would go to the band”.

He defined himself as both a musician and a poet: “[When asked to sing an amane, he replied] but you need to be a singer for that, and I’m a poet”. Speaking of the way he “matched” or “fitted” lyrics, he said: “It was the day of Aghios Ioannis, August 29th. The church had musicians. I didn’t make arrangements with my band in the morning, so they took their instruments and went elsewhere. So I took my animals someplace in the early morning and I thought, I’ll take my clarinet and go later. And so I went, I had my clarinet in its case and I placed it against the olive tree and went inside the church. When I came out again, we sat down, had our ouzo and our meze, and at some point they wanted instruments, to play. No one had their instruments with them. I said: ‘Can I tell you something?’ They said, ‘what?’ I said, ‘I didn’t see them in the morning, so I don’t know where they went. I brought mine, and since I brought it, I’ll play you a syrto for the sake of Aghios Ioannis, and I don’t want any cash’. As soon as I took the instrument out, one of the priests’ wives came over, who had her name day, too. The wife of Papa-Ilias Gialouris. She gave me a fifty and said: ‘Good on you, Giorgi, bless you!’ And all the kids started dancing, and I was all over the place. And then I saw that this captain was there, Perivolaris was his name. Many boys had served with this captain [on the boats]. He was there with his little girl, and he and his wife started dancing with her. And since they danced with the little girl, I thought I’d sing her a song, even though I was on my own. So I stopped playing the clarinet, and I said to her: ‘Mikri Perivilarissa, mikri charitomeni, angelos se zografise, gia etsi eisai gennimeni?’ [Little Perivolarissa, little cutie, where you painted by an angel or where you born this way?] And I saw her mother take a hundred from her husband and put it in my pocket. So I stopped, again, and said: ‘Ta kalli sou, mikroula mou, osa ki an po aksizoun. Na zoun kai na se chairontai aftoi pou se orizoun.’ [Your beauty, my little girl, is worth more than I could say. May you bring joy and blessings to your family.] And you could see the mother […]. Well, once the dance got going, the captain himself, Perivolaris, got up to dance. To dance the syrto. He gave me a hundred and said, play us a syrto Politiko [from Istanbul]. So I thought I’d do one for him, too […]. So I said: ‘Aghie mou Gianni, i chari sou ta perata agnantevei. Vlepei ton kapetanio mas ekei pou taksidevei’. [Saint John, Your grace reaches beyond the horizon. It watches over our captain while he’s on his travels.] The captain was really pleased, and gave me a hundred. He danced again, and I sang him another amane. And I said: ‘Apo makria sti mnimi Sou irthe na proskinisei. Min ton afisei I Chari Sou kindinous na gnorisei’. [He came from far away, to pay his respects to Your memory. Don’t let him know any dangers.] And he took another two hundred drachma notes out of his pocket, and gave them to me”. [This incident took place in the late 50s or early 60s, in the area of Mesta].