Manolios Anakreon | Samos | Biographical data
• Place of birth

Ano Vathy, Samos
• Short biography

Anakreon Manolios was born in the village of Vathy, in Samos, in 1923. He is an amateur musician who plays the santouri. Other musicians in his family were his father, Aristotelis Manolis (santouri), his grandfather (viola) and his uncles (cornet and violin).

Anakreon himself took an interest in music from a young age: “My father would tune the santouri and have it ready for going to work – to a wedding, a party in a tavern. My father would leave [and] I’d pick it up and braba brouba [mimicking the sounds produced by the instrument]. I knew nothing. And my father would come and the santouri would be a mess... I took so many beatings... [that] I remember my mother fighting with my father over me. That’s over. I won’t do it again. Once, twice, three times... I got used to the beatings. There wasn’t much else I could do. One day... ‘Now – he says – take the santouri’. I took the santouri, put it on a table, and he wanted to show me a few things.”

He became familiar with the instrument’s technique by watching his father perform: “So I’d go, when he played in Pano Vathy, and I’d stretch my ear, like this… You know why I went? They’d give me 2 drachmas because I wet round collecting money for them.” Of his first appearance in a musical event, he said: “Well, I went to a wedding and he says: ‘come here’. So I went inside to collect the money […] and I played a couple of songs, as best I could.”

He performed in various musical events ever since, and collaborated with several musicians: “For the first time in the history of Samos, two santouris played together. Me, and this man Giatzidis, at an event around 4 or 5 years ago. And I said it ‘Gentlemen, for the first time…’ I’m talking about the same song.”

Anakreon Manolios receives his pension from the Navy. He now lives in Drama and visits Samos regularly. On the island, he takes part in various events. Of the way he plays the santouri, he said: “I don’t use a pick. I improvise, with my nails […] the instruments speak […]. The instruments speak with their music.”