Levisianos Manolis | Samos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Ano Vathy, Samos
• Short biography

Manolis Levisianos was born in 1953. He is a practical musician and plays the tsabouna. He makes his living, however, from animal farming. His father and grandfather also played music, on an amateur basis: “Notes? There are none […] I don’t know any notes. I improvise. By myself. By listening. Everything I know, I learnt by listening […]. Well, yes, I’d listen to my father. […] first of all, we learned a song […] and that’s how I started”.

He took up music at a young age, and his first appearances in local musical events were in Prosfygika, Samos: “I’ve been playing since I was a kid. Ever since I realised how much I liked the instrument. I started playing when I was ten years old. I played and […] I still do […]. Well, the bouzouki, too, when I was a kid, [I started] a bit, but then I gave up […]. Look, the more you play, the more you learn […]. When I first started, I played here, in Prosfygika […]. Another time, I performed at some event. I dressed up in traditional costume. I was only a kid.”

Manolis Levisianos was a prominent personality on the local music scene, but had to take break from performing for around a decade: “I gave up the tsabouna. My hands ached. Well […] they went numb. From milking. From the animals.” After his return, he took part in the 2006 Wine Festival, held in Vathy, Samos. Off the island, he’s performed at events in Thessaloniki, Ikaria, and the Cyclades.

His repertoire – except for the Carnival period, when they sang satirical lyrics – included certain soustes, kalamatiana and syrta: “We learnt to play songs […]. Syrta and kalamatiana. And some soustes, too. One or two, I mean. That’s about it. In the last three or four years. Recently.”

Speaking of the traditional songs of Samos, Manolis Levisianos said: “‘To Plataniotiko Nero’, ‘Barba-Mathios’, a ‘marathokambitikos’ […]. They also played the ‘Psoriarkone’ on the tsabouna […]. They used to dance in pairs, facing each other, I mean. Well, they called it that because it had a lot of movement.”