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Stroubakis Panagiotis | Chios | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Tholopotami, Chios
• Short biography

Panagiotis Stroubakis was born in 1972. He is a professional musician and plays the bouzouki; in recent years, he’s also started learning the oud. Other musicians in his family are his brother, Vangelis, and his father, of whom he says: “We played together until last year, but now I’ve changed bands. Well, he’s not in a band. Only if a job comes up, but he doesn’t want to take all of them, because he’s tired now.”

Panagiotis Stroubakis got into music from a very young age: “I’ve been playing since I was ten years old. When I was nine, we had drums at home. I started with those… At eleven, I went and got a bouzouki, and started playing the bouzouki in public at thirteen… They say I was talented.” During his career, he’s met and worked with several of the musicians of Chios. A few of them are: “Giannis Vafeiadis, who plays the clarinet… Michalis Sitaras. He’s around 65… Stamatis Giouzepakis… He plays the harmonium, he’s around 42. He, his father and his uncle were musicians who retired recently. Nikos is his father, and plays the bouzouki, and his uncle (Dimitris Giouzepakis) played the accordion and the oud. […] Giannis Skoufaras, who also plays the harmonium, lives in Chios [the island’s capital]. He was a store across the road from Politis’ bicycle shop… Levidis, who runs the supermarket… His son is also a musician. His father played the harmonium, too, but now he’s given it up… Well, let me remember, there are so many of them. I’m trying to bring them all to mind, at the weddings they all gather, so I remember.” Among those he’s worked with is also Nikos Chatzopoulos [violin – originally from Chios, but lives in Athens].

Speaking of his work on the island, and the events he regularly performs at, he said: “In the winter, I work in clubs. In the summer, there’s no money. I play in “Charama”. I work with singers and musicians from other places, too, from Athens, unknown […]. [On the festivals of Chios:] Look, the festivals of Chios are “cool”, that’s why I play there. I’ve played in all the villages. Last night, for example, I was in Kipouries. That’s up north, at the centre of Northern Chios. It’s got Volissos on one side, and Kardamyla on the other. It’s sort of in the middle. […] In all the villages. As long as it’s a good job. [On the festivals in Tholopotami:] […] [The festival] of St. Peter and St. Paul [took place] in the village square. Down by the chapel of St. Peter.”

According to Panagiotis Stroubakis, in Northern Chios they prefer traditional tunes, such as: “‘Aman giala Pintagiala’, old syrta, the ‘Politikos’, the ‘Pasvantikos’, the ‘Paralymenos’, the ‘Sylivrianos’, the ‘Tripatos’. The ‘Tripatos’ is from Neninta [a village of Chios]. Songs like ‘O Potamos’, ‘Oa Angelos’, ‘Stin Aghia Merkela mes to Potamo’, ‘To louloudaki tou vounou’, ‘Aman, aman mylona’, ‘Tis Orias to kastro’ [all titles of songs and dance tunes]… Anyway – old, traditional pieces. They don’t like the new, modern music too much. You’ll play Kazantzidis, zeibekika. In the morning… And it always last a long time. I mean, for example, we finished at seven this morning (in the village of Kipouries, in Northern Chios).”

On Southern Chios, the villages known as ‘Notiochora’ [Southern villages], he said: “We play a lot of new stuff… It’s a different style over here. Here, it’s all about the new records. I play almost all night… you play the old tunes. There will always be some old folk wanting a ‘Politikos’, a ‘Tripatos’. Some old folk, yes […]. But it’s like being on another island, you know? […]”

It’s not just the repertoire and the tempo of the dances that are different, but also the instruments, as in Northern Chios, the clarinet dominates: “First of all, they listen to different music. Musicians playing in the South will play in a different way than in the North. For example, in the North, they are known for dancing slower […] In the North, the quintessential instrument is the clarinet. If you turn up at a festival without a clarinet, not a single person will get up to dance. So, out of five hours of work, two are clarinet solos, tsifteteli… They play the old songs up north. Like: ‘Oso varoun ta sidera’, ‘Aman giala’, traditional syrta…”

In terms of being in a band, he said: “I avoid it [changing bands] because when you form a band, you begin to practice, to produce something good. Or that’s what I do, at least. To have a good result, you need people who know what you play, and you know what they play.”