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Vourliotis Manolis | Samos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Samos
• Short biography

Manolis Vourliotis was born in 1941, in Mytilinaioi of Samos. He was a professional musician and played the accordion and the harmonium. He started playing music at a young age, and took up the harmonium in the 1970s, because it was relatively effortless to play, and also unprecedented (by contemporary standards) as a musical instrument: “when the harmoniums came out, let’s say around nineteen seventy [1970], I’d listen to records in the cafes, or on the radio, we had radio in nineteen seventy […] and I’d listen to this instrument and say, that’s not an accordion. What is it? When the harmoniums came out. What sort of thing is it? I’d ask here, I’d ask there, no one knew”. As a professional musician, he never attempted to take up singing. His career was punctuated by numerous very intense experiences.

Like most musicians of his generation, Manolis Vourliotis was self-taught. He quit school at a young age, to concentrate on his future profession. He began his career in music in 1955, in collaboration with other local musicians: “They called us the Mytilinia organa [the musicians from Mytilinaioi] […]. He had either violins, the violin was prominent at the time, and the bouzouki, later. We had our nice band here, Christos Vourliotis on the bouzouki, Christos Limnaios on the bouzouki, Alexis Vourliotis on the guitar, Nikos Papachristodoulou […]”. He has also worked with Nikos Vourliotis and Giorgos Marneros.

He regularly performed at weddings and festivals, and in music clubs. On entertainment events in Mytilinaioi of Samos, he said: “There was a time that there were one, two, three, four. Four clubs that had a live band every weekend. Yes. Four. And they’d come from all the villages. From Vathy, Chora, Pythagoreio”. Off the island of Samos, he also regularly performed in Ikaria, in similar events.

Of his repertoire, he said: “At the time [1950-1960], we had the European songs, they were at their peak. You had to play them, the tango, the waltz. You couldn’t do without them. Nobody plays them anymore. Only some old folk might dance them, once in a while. In the festivals, it was mainly the nisiotika [traditional island tunes] and the samiotika [Samos tunes] that they danced all night”. Of the changes brought on by the passage of time, he described: “Look, the old songs never went away here. People ant them, they ask for them […]. Laika [folk tunes], and nisiotika, and traditional tunes. They always request them. […] But the new ones, young people want the new ones, now. And the new musicians that come out, they don’t bother with the old songs, they don’t know them”.

Manolis Vourliotis has recorded some tapes, and taken part in a CD entitled: Live Greek Music. He is still actively involved in music, and has formed his own band, with which he performs. He has also taught music to young people.