Marinakis Dimitris | Lemnos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Aghios Dimitrios, Lemnos
• Short biography

Dimitris Marinakis was born in 1930. He played the violin and sang, though his formal knowledge of music was limited. Later in life [after he’d stopped playing music professionally] he also took an interest in church choir singing. “ […] I’d begun a bit […], I even wrote music, in notes, not just in practice […]. I’m not looking to be a choir singer, I won’t become a choir singer, I’m seventy-two years old, anyway [2002]. But I go and stand next to the choir singers and I help them out a bit, even just with the drone, that’s useful, too […].” Out of his family members, only his brother Giannis took an active interest in music. He said of him: “Nobody in my family was into it [music], only my little brother Giannis, at some point he got it into his head to learn the bouzouki. He found a bouzouki, god knows where, glang-glang, glang-glang […], well, he never really learned”.

Dimitris Marinakis first got involved with music during the German Occupation, when he was [around] 12 or 13 years old, and tried to build his first musical instrument: “Like I said, I was obsessed with learning to play. Really obsessed! The Germans were still here, I’d made a piece of wood. A piece of wood, four needles, with German cables, I’d scrape them and took off the plastic and used the wire. I tied that onto the needles, and made a mandolin […]. That’s how I started, with German cables.” He took his first violin lessons in [around] 1946. He was taught by Kostas Elias [violin, santouri, accordion], a musician from Aghios Dimitrios in Lemnos. “Kostas [Elias], now, in forty-seven – forty-six [1947-1946], he was great/old, yes. And since I had this obsession […]. They had a café across the road and so Kostas and I became friends. I did a few things for him, helped him out at the café, whatever I could do, because there were lots of people, at the time… it was busy, you know. And at some point I said, you’ll teach me to play the violin. And so we started, he showed me some tunes, for a year or so […] “Athina kai kyria mou”, and other songs like that. Those were the first songs that our friend Kostas taught me. In 1946, I was 16 years old. And that’s when I began to play […].

In 1949, he went to Myrina in Lemnos, and continued his violin lessons, taught now by the musician and music tutor Stelios Delikoukos [santouri]: “[…] in 1949 I went to Myrina, to this teacher I told you, Delikoukos, Stelios, he played the santouri. I stayed for two and a half months, I began, I even started writing music in notes, not just in practice […]. Well, if I’d stayed with Delikoukos for a year, I’d know music, I’d learn music, because I was so determined, so determined to learn. But I didn’t stay, and the reason was that I was the eldest in my family, and it was time to sow the fields [and I had to go back to the village] and we continued later, in practice […]”.

Around the late 40s - early 50s, he began playing the violin with Kostas Elias and Giannis Alexoudakis: “Kostas [Elias] and Giannis Alexoudakis first of all, the first ones I got together, you know? We formed a band, the first band I played in was Kostas [Elias, santouri], and this guy Alexoudakis, Giannis, clarinet, he’s dead now […]. I was the youngest, but I did the vocals […]. Well, we played together for two-three years”. For the next few [3-4] years, he played with Giannis Morakis [accordion] and Giorgos Markakis [bouzouki]: “Then I played with my koumbaros, Giannis Morakis, who’s in Chios now. He was married and they moved to Chios. A musician, a good musician, he’s a teacher now, he teaches children. He played the accordion and Markakis, Giorgos, played the bouzouki. Giorgos [Markakis] used to go to the old Pedino, where there was someone called Dimitris Chatzicharalambou, a violinist, and he taught him. And Giannis, my koumbaros, as I call him, Morakis went there, he went to him […]. So there were three of us, me on the violin, Giorgos Markakis on the bouzouki and Giannis Morakis on the accordion, the Chiotis (from Chios), as we call him now, my koumbaros, I’ve baptised one of his kids, his son”.

Around the mid-1950s, Dimitris Marinakis joined a new band, which included Charalambos Proskefalas [clarinet], Giorgos Stefanidakis [guitar – vocals] and Giorgos Mastromichalakis [bouzouki]: “When my koumbaros, Giannis [Morakis], left for Chios, it was Proskefalas, Stefanidakis, Mastromichalakis and I, we played together for 13 years, until [around] 1970. Charalambos Proskefalas was a refugee and he lived in Korno and played the clarinet, Giorgos Stefanidakis from Myrina played the guitar and sang, Giorgos Mastromichalakis played the bouzouki, and I played the violin. Mastromichalakis was a local, from Aghios Dimitrios”.

In the early 1970s, he worked with Andreas Konstantios [from Kaminia, accordion], until around 1982-83, when he stopped playing music professionally: “Then, the last band I played in was with Andreas Konstantios. He played the accordion, I the violin, we had a bouzouki, this guy, Paraschakis, ‘Bouras’ we called him, ‘Bouras’ Georgios. His name was Giorgis and I gave him the nickname ‘Bouras’, he was a local, from Aghios Dimitrios, he’s still playing, he’s good. I played with them for years, until […] because I stopped in 1982-83, I stopped […]. Andreas Konstantios is the son of Giorgos Konstantios, the clarinetist from Kaminia, later he stopped playing the accordion and took up the harmonium […]. I remember we even played at my son’s wedding, and then I stopped”. In the early 70s, he performed [on occasion] with Kostas Elias’ son’s band.

Other musicians he mentioned, and with whom he’s played, on and off, included: “[…] Vlasis Delivasilis, clarinet, from Atsiki, me on the violin, his son played the accordion, his son Stergios, Vlasis’ son, and Sotiris Mavrakis, guitar […]. [In] Sardes […] we [once] played with Dimitris Markakis [bouzouki – vocals], Giorgos’ [Markakis – bouzouki] brother […]. I played the violin […]. I’ve played with almost everyone, all the guys that play music in Aghios Dimitrios”.

Throughout his many years as a professional musician, he had the opportunity to take part in various musical events in Lemnos, and has visited almost all of the islands villages. Of his performances off the island, he mentioned: “[…] They have the ‘bedenia’ in Chios, and we played at the ‘bedenia’ for three months [summer], I remember […]. [Around the mid-1950s] my koumbaros, G. Markakis, left for Chios and then, I don’t remember the year exactly, he called me and I went down to Chios and we plated at the ‘bedenia’, at the castle, there’s a club there, and we played in the summer.”

Around the mid-1960s, Marinakis, along with Giorgos Markakis and other musicians, toured the festivals and played in cafes in Samothraki and Alexandroupoli. In Athens, during the 60s, he played alongside the musician Giorgos Paraschakis, or “Bouras” [bouzouki, vocals], in a ball organised by the Kaminia Association, at the “Trypio Katostari” club in Ilioupoli.